Kristen Dragottto, Staff Writer

The University of Missouri–St. Louis hosted the first of two open forums to discuss the renewal of UMSL’S Higher Learning Committee accreditation. The first one took place in J.C. Penney Conference Center in room 202. This forum was open to faculty, staff, administrators and students.

This was co-hosted by Alan Heisel professor of communications and special assistant to the provost, and Vice Provost for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Curt Coonrod.

The purpose of the forum was to demonstrate its compliance with the HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. In the 15-slide presentation, they went over the Criteria as well as their subsets of what UMSL needs to meet to renew its accreditation and how UMSL as achieved that. Heisel stated he felt, “all criteria had been met and was solid.”

The criteria UMSL needs to meet is divided into five sections. The first of these criteria is UMSL’s mission. The second is integrity; this focuses on UMSL’s conduct and whether it is ethical. The third, quality of their resources and support on campus. The fourth criteria will focus on evaluation and improvement. The last criterion under review is resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.

After explaining the criteria that UMSL is expected to meet, Heisel and Coonrod explained the process that this renewal will take in November. The team who will be doing this renewal was picked three to four months ago. This team will arrive in St. Louis Nov. 4. The meetings and review of UMSL campus will take place on the Nov. 5 and 6. After their visit to UMSL the team will make their recommendation to the HCL if UMSL’s accreditation should be renewed.

The members of the team who are coming to review UMSL will be paired off and focus on a specific part of the criteria that the university is expected to meet. Both speakers did address that some of the meetings and the schedule that the team will follow are subject to change but nothing this university cannot handle.

When asked about why students should come to these open forums and seek involvement Heisel responded, “Student involvement and knowledge in this process also plays a vital role in the renewal of our accreditation.” Informing everyone at the open forum there are way students can be involved during this review.

Both speakers kept their audience’s attention by engaging with them and handing out UMSL attire throughout the presentation.

UMSL will be hosting a second open forum to discuss reaccreditation again Oct. 17 from 3-4 p.m. in the J.C. Penney Conference Center in room 402. Students are encouraged to attend this next forum to learn about the process of renewing UMSL’s accreditation and how students can become a part of this process.