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University of Illinois Springfield

Institutional Accreditation University of Illinois Springfield

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Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge

Criterion 4: Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge

The organization promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff, and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.

This criterion focuses on the extent to which the university displays a commitment to and provides a supportive environment for a life of learning for students, staff and faculty.

Core Component 4a: The organization demonstrates, through the actions of its board, administrators, students, faculty, and staff, that it values a life of learning.

As it defines and interprets evidence related to this core component, an organization may wish to consider the following examples of evidence.

  • The organization’s planning and pattern of financial allocation demonstrate that it values and promotes a life of learning for its students, faculty, and staff.
  • The board has approved and disseminated statements supporting freedom of inquiry for the organization’s students, faculty, and staff, and honors those statements in its practices.
  • The organization supports professional development opportunities and makes them available to all of its administrators, faculty, and staff.
  • The organization publicly acknowledges the achievements of students and faculty in acquiring, discovering, and applying knowledge.
  • The faculty and students, in keeping with the organization’s mission, produce scholarship and create knowledge through basic and applied research.
  • The organization and its units use scholarship and research to stimulate organizational and educational improvements.

Core Component 4b: The organization demonstrates that acquisition of a breadth of knowledge and skills and the exercise of intellectual inquiry are integral to its educational programs.

By its very title, this Criterion is about the skills and attitudes an educated person should possess, not about the specific curricular pathway assumed to contribute to that development. Moreover, it makes explicit a new premise for accreditation: the educated person understands that learning will continue throughout life.

As it defines and interprets evidence related to this core component, an organization may wish to consider the following examples of evidence.

  • The organization integrates general education into all of its undergraduate degree programs through curricular and experiential offerings intentionally created to develop the attitudes and skills requisite for a life of learning in a diverse society.
  • The organization regularly reviews the relationship between its mission and values and the effectiveness of its general education.
  • The organization assesses how effectively its graduate programs establish a knowledge base on which students develop depth of expertise.
  • The organization demonstrates the linkages between curricular and co-curricular activities that support inquiry, practice, creativity, and social responsibility.
  • Learning outcomes demonstrate that graduates have achieved breadth of knowledge and skills and the capacity to exercise intellectual inquiry.
  • Learning outcomes demonstrate effective preparation for continued learning.

Core Component 4c: The organization assesses the usefulness of its curricula to students who will live and work in a global, diverse, and technological society.

As it defines and interprets evidence related to this core component, an organization may wish to consider the following examples of evidence.

  • Regular academic program reviews include attention to currency and relevance of courses and programs.
  • In keeping with its mission, learning goals and outcomes include skills and professional competence essential to a diverse workforce.
  • Learning outcomes document that graduates have gained the skills and knowledge they need to function in diverse local, national, and global societies.
  • Curricular evaluation involves alumni, employers, and other external constituents who understand the relationships among the course of study, the currency of the curriculum, and the utility of the knowledge and skills gained.
  • The organization supports creation and use of scholarship by students in keeping with its mission.
  • Faculty expects students to master the knowledge and skills necessary for independent learning in programs of applied practice.
  • The organization provides curricular and co-curricular opportunities that promote social responsibility.

Core Component 4d: The organization provides support to ensure that faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply knowledge responsibly.

As it defines and interprets evidence related to this core component, an organization may wish to consider the following examples of evidence.

  • The organization’s academic and student support programs contribute to the development of student skills and attitudes fundamental to responsible use of knowledge.
  • The organization follows explicit policies and procedures to ensure ethical conduct in its research and instructional activities.
  • The organization encourages curricular and co-curricular activities that relate responsible use of knowledge to practicing social responsibility.
  • The organization provides effective oversight and support services to ensure the integrity of research and practice conducted by its faculty and students.
  • The organization creates, disseminates, and enforces clear policies on practices involving intellectual property rights.

*The material on this page is taken from the Higher Learning Commission Handbook of Accreditation.