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Accreditation process begins at Air Force Academy

(U.S. Air Force photo/Trevor Cokley) 

Story by Ray Bowden, April 29, 2019

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — A team from the Higher Learning Commission is at the Air Force Academy to determine if the school meets the standards to reaffirm its accredited status.

The HLC’s visit, April 29-30, will allow the Academy to showcase how it meets standards set by peer institutions of higher learning and complies with federal law to graduate officers with a Bachelor of Science degree.

“We’ve been preparing for the HLC visit for more than a year, but to my mind, we’ve been preparing every day since the Academy opened its doors in 1954,” said Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria. “We take our academic commitment very seriously and our obligation to the nation seriously, especially in terms of developing leaders of innovation and character. So I welcome the team.”

This is the school’s first accreditation inspection in 10 years. The peer reviewers will determine if the Academy retains its accreditation status or if it requires follow up visits.

Col. Dan Uribe has been point man for the accreditation process and overseen the more-than yearlong effort to prepare for the HLC’s visit. The Academy faculty and staff’s preparations for the visit have been guided by five criteria he said: mission; integrity, ethical and responsible conduct; teaching and learning — quality, resources, and support; teaching and learning — evaluation and improvement; and resources, planning, and institutional effectiveness.

“This criteria has guided a top-to-bottom continuous process of assessment and improvement to our programs.” Uribe said. “This has been a challenging task but more than ‘worthwhile.’ I’m very proud of the efforts of our accreditation preparation team, who ensured we went above and beyond the HLC’s criteria. I’m confident the results will show the Air Force Academy meets or exceeds accreditation standards and is worthy of the trust the public, our cadets, their parents and the entire Air Force places in us.”

The HLC is expected to release its finding six to eight weeks after its visit.