Webster University approached the Self-Study process with intentional goals. We were committed to engage our entire University community, as well as other constituencies, in an open process that would assist us with continuous improvement while clearly documenting evidence that Webster fulfills the Criteria for Accreditation by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The goals of this self-study process included:
- The HLC Visiting Team and Commission will have sufficient evidence to recommend re-accreditation without stipulations.
- Webster will complete a thorough, honest and open evaluative Self-Study that corrects and interprets data, makes appropriate judgments and/or findings, and leads to recommendations for continuous improvement.
- Webster will include and involve the entire University in order to ensure the effective evaluation of the institution.
- The process will further enhance our commitment to build a culture of evidence and inquiry for the improvement of learning and teaching at Webster.
University Expectations of the Self-Study
Webster University realized that the institutional process used to produce its evaluative study was critical. In order to gain the maximum benefit for the improvement of Webster University, our self-study process had these expectations:
Careful organization of the self-study process will assure the University’s maximum benefit from its investment of resources and commitment.
Include the whole university
The evaluation of each component of Webster University will be used to formulate the evaluation of the University as a whole.
The University’s Self-Study Report will reflect the entire institution. This requires wide involvement from faculty, students, administrators, staff, alumni, trustees, and external constituents.
The self-study process will strive to produce widespread awareness, across the entire University, of this institutional evaluation. Our administrators, faculty, staff, and students will know and understand “how, why and by whom” the self-study was conducted.
The self-study process will assist our entire institution to clarify and strengthen its collective vision of Webster University and its future.
Permit wide involvement
The entire Webster University community will acknowledge that they had ample opportunity to contribute to the process and to its results.
Build on existing information
Webster University is extensively engaged in academic assessment, regular self-evaluation, planning, external monitoring, and quality improvement. The Self-Study will rely heavily on these existing evaluation programs. Also, the Self-Study will review these existing evaluative approaches and procedures for improvement.
The self-study will utilize technology for data collection, communication, networking, and display of evidence.
The self-study process and the report will strive to be analytical, self-perceptive, and self-critical for purposes of self-improvement.
The self-study will describe and assess institutional progress since the last self-study of 1998.
Produce a formal report
The self-study process will result in a formal Report that explicitly documents that Webster University meets the Commission’s requirements and criteria for re-accreditation. The Report will also assist the University in enhancing its effectiveness.
Committee Structure and Membership
The University-wide self-study was conducted through the work of a Steering Committee and its five subcommittees, each assigned to one of the HLC Criterion and its core components. Additionally, an analytical and research team assisted the committees with their data needs.
The Steering Committee consisted of the Self-Study Coordinator and the chairs of each of the five subcommittees. Total membership on the assigned committees included 53 individuals: faculty, staff, administration, and students. A prominent Self Study Web site was maintained throughout the process which included details on the process, committee minutes, all working draft documents, data sources, and chapter drafts for the Report. Community comments were invited throughout the process, and regular reminders were sent to faculty and staff on progress.
The Web site is: http://www.webster.edu/selfstudy
In addition, care was taken to inform the public of the university’s comprehensive evaluation and forthcoming team visit.
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