In the United States, academic institutions and programs use accreditation to ensure that they are meeting established standards of educational quality. Accreditation is a voluntary process of self-reflection and peer review that helps institutions to identify opportunities and challenges throughout the university.
There are two types of accreditation, institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditors, often referred to as "regional" accreditors, examine a college or university as a whole. Purdue University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCA) since 1913. Our most recent accreditation visit was in March of 2010.
The HLC's new Open Pathway for maintaining accreditation seeks to offer greater value to institutions by focusing on both an assurance of quality and an engagement in continuous improvement. Two Assurance Reviews will take place in the ten-year cycle. One in Year 4 through an online reporting system and one in Year 10 that couples the online assurance report with a campus visit. In addition, our campus will complete a Quality Initiative between Years 5 and 9 focused on institutional innovation and improvement suited to our needs and circumstances.
Specialized accreditors evaluate specific educational programs. Professional accreditors, such as those for business, engineering, and other technical areas, fall into this category. For a list of programs at Purdue University with specialized accreditation, click here.