Chancellor Memo: UCCS preps for re-accreditation

Dear Colleagues:

As we prepare for the end of the fall academic semester and calendar year, it is important that we also look forward to 2016 and vital upcoming activities. In November, 2016, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will make a once in ten-year visit to the campus to consider our ongoing accreditation. Preparation for this important visit is underway and will accelerate in spring, 2016.

On Jan. 26, there will be campus-wide meetings to conduct a mid-year update of  the UCCS 2012-2020 Strategic Plan. Several sessions will be held throughout the day to allow faculty and staff to provide input as we reach the mid-point of the plan’s designed planning period. In general, we will provide updates as outlined in the plan and seek opinions about  new goals or changes in tactics to ensure UCCS remains on target.

In preparation for those meetings, I ask that you save the date on your calendars, review the current plan and also the Program Prioritization developed in 2014.

Following our campus meeting, we will seek input from alumni and community leaders before presenting an updated strategic plan to the CU Board of Regents in mid-February. A separate report on Program Prioritization and UCCS Metrics is due to the regents at their summer retreat.. However, I believe it important that we view our strategic plan and the regents-directed program prioritization and metrics process holistically. We intend for our updated Strategic Plan to incorporate Program Prioritization work and the UCCS Metrics by which the Regents will evaluate us.

Additionally in the spring semester, we will begin the five-year review process for Peter Braza, dean, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and Kelli Klebe, Dean, Graduate School. For those unfamiliar with the dean review process, it involves multiple steps including the opportunity for broad campus input about their job performances. Normally, these two Deans would have been reviewed in fall, 2016. We have been advised by those working with HLC accreditation that we should have as much complete when the reviewers come as possible.  Deans Braza and Klebe deserve our complete attention and focus during this important phase of their careers. A survey will be distributed campus wide and several members of the faculty will be asked to serve on formal evaluation committees. When you receive the survey, I ask for your honest, thoughtful opinions. If you are asked to serve on a committee, I ask that you do so and that you devote yourself fully to it.

While updating the Strategic Plan,  reviewing Program Prioritization, updating UCCS Metrics, and evaluating deans may seem disparate, they are connected to an overall goal of a successful visit by the Higher Learning Commission. Scheduled for Nov.  2016, this once-a-decade visit by our accrediting body is of vital importance to the future of our university. Accreditation is both a distinguishing factor and as an opportunity for us to ensure we are meeting – or surpassing – the high standards expected of ourselves and others. It is vital that we present ourselves honestly, accurately and with plans for adapting to a changing educational environment. Having an updated strategic plan, a review of programs and completed evaluations of two  important positions will move us toward that goal. .

Together, I am confident that we will be successful in completing these tasks and sharing with the CU Board of Regents and the Higher Learning Commission that UCCS is well positioned as a leading Western regional public research university.

I wish you a happy holiday season. Together, I know we will have a successful 2016.





Pam Shockley-Zalabak

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