Sept. 26, 1996

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    University meets, exceeds accreditation requirements

    The University was formally reaccredited this year by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and as part of the process was described as "one of the most distinguished universities in the world."

    The NCA, which accredits universities in the north central United States, sent an evaluation team composed of faculty members and administrators from other universities to Chicago for a three-day visit in February. During its visit, the team met with more than 80 members of the faculty, the administration, the Board of Trustees and the student body.

    "The reaccreditation process is important because it affords us an opportunity to examine ourselves critically and to look for new ways to further strengthen the University," President Sonnenschein said. "One of the most distinctive features of the reaccreditation process in this country is that it is conducted by individuals from the higher-education community, as opposed to external agencies like the federal government. There is considerable value gained in having leaders from different institutions share ideas and offer suggestions."

    The reaccreditation process is conducted every 10 years. The University's next evaluation will be in 2005-06.

    Chaired by Purdue University President Steven Beering, the evaluation team reported this summer that the University met and exceeded all requirements for accreditation. The team's report also stated that "the University of Chicago is distinguished by its intellectual vigor, diversity, interdisciplinary collaboration, globalism and visionary leadership. The students are bright, motivated and enthusiastic. . . . The faculty are dedicated, committed and involved."

    In their capacity as consultants, the team members offered two observations:

    _ Individual academic and administrative units have excellent information-technology support, but there appears to be a lack of coordination. The team recommended a university-wide effort to manage the necessary infrastructure.

    _ Some students reported an unevenness in the quality of career placement and counseling for students with special needs.

    The University has already begun addressing these concerns, noted Sonnenschein, with the July 1 appointment of Gregory Jackson to the newly created position of Associate Provost for Information Technology and with the reorganization of Career & Placement Services under the guidance of Robert Riesman, the new Director of CAPS.

    The evaluation team included chairman Beering, Nancy Cantor of Princeton, Henry Cramblett and Richard Sisson of Ohio State, Phillip Jones of the University of Iowa, Ullrich Langer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Raymond Neff and Samuel Savin of Case Western Reserve and John Rau of Indiana University.

    The evaluation team's report can be requested from Anne Casey, Office of the Provost, 702-8806.