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UW-River Falls Earns 10-Year Reaccreditation

February 22, 1999

UW-River Falls has earned full accreditation for the next 10 years by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau will brief the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents at its March meeting in Madison on the NCA accreditation report, which serves as an overall evaluation of UW-RF.

"When we look at the NCA report, we couldn't ask for a more positive statement in terms of the academic excellence that is represented by the programs here. It's absolutely as clean and as positive as an NCA report one could hope for," Thibodeau said.

"I think what it does initially for all of us is to reaffirm that this is a special place and that we are judged as a strong university by our peers at North Central.

Obviously, we're delighted with it."

The review was conducted last year by a team of six visiting university presidents, senior administrators and faculty. They spent 2-1/2 days on campus meeting with students, faculty, staff and community members to determine the quality of UW-RF's academic programs; the consistency of its mission statement with its actual practices; the effectiveness of its organizational human, financial and physical assets; its potential future effectiveness; and whether it demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships.

Their visit was preceded by a year-long internal self-study review by the University, which set the stage for the accreditation visit.

Thibodeau also noted that he was pleased that the accreditation self-study process enabled the University to focus in on areas "where we had unique strengths. It is an exceptional document that is going to serve the institution well."

The self-study, through the governance process of students, faculty and staff, agreed that future emphasis should include increased student retention rates; multicultural diversity; technology, classroom and laboratory upgrades; expanded student internships and professional experiences; equal opportunity; and aggressive pursuit of external funding to support the educational experience.

Founded in 1895, the NCA is one of six regional institutional accrediting associations in the United States. Through its Commission it accredits and grants membership to educational institutions in the 19-state North Central region.

The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Committee on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation. Accreditation by the NCA is a requirement for UW-RF to receive federal student aid and to qualify for federal instructional and research grants.

Through its accreditation process, NCA provides a review to higher education institutions on their program strengths or needs for improvement and provides accurate and useful information about higher education institutions to potential students and their families.

UW-RF, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this year, has continuously been accredited by the NCA since its first review in 1935.

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