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Shepherd University is undergoing a three-year self-study as it seeks re-accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission, a nongovernmental organization that grants peer-reviewed accreditation and membership in the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association.

The self-study will show Shepherd University's accountability in demonstrating the national standards that assure a high-quality learning environment, renowned scholarship, innovation and service. Shepherd University's accreditation dates back to 1950, with the last HLC visit taking place during the 2001-2002 academic year. Using evidence-based data and data-driven results and continuous improvement outcomes from the Shepherd University Strategic Plan, the university will demonstrate how it is in compliance with the standards of excellence set by the Higher Learning Commission, in addition to reflecting on future priorities in defining the liberal arts university in the 21st century.

Re-accreditation is an open, evidence-based process based upon a shared model of continuous improvement, self-assessment and broad participation from across the university.


The self-study will result in a comprehensive report examining the role of the university in five key criteria set forth by NCA:

Mission and Integrity
Preparing for the Future
Student Learning and Effective Teaching
Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge
Engagement and Service

Each of these five areas will be guided by the HLC team members and will aid the HLC self-study coordinator and co-writers in completing the self-study report. After reviewing the report, a team of consultant-evaluators (mock-team visit) will visit the campus and further explore the findings of the self- study. Based on its review of the self-study report and campus visit, the mock team will prepare a report that will evaluate Shepherd University on each of the criteria and make recommendations for re-accreditation. The following year, the same process will continue with the actual site visit by the HLC.

Major Components of the Self Study

Appointment of Self-Study Chair & steering committee co-chairs

The Vice-President of Academic Affairs (VPAA) appoints the HLC self-study coordinator, who along with the VPAA will make recommendations for the steering committee chairs to aid in re-accreditation from HLC. (Appointed Fall, 2007)

Appointment of steering committee, academic coordinating committee and writing teams

The Executive steering committee represents schools and offices across the university, as well as student representation with the Student Body President. The VPAA and NCA self-study administrator will appoint steering committee members. The steering committee will meet according to the guidelines set forth in the NCA timeline to monitor the progress of the self-study. The following Shepherd University representatives make up the membership of the Self-Study Executive Steering Committee:

Dr. Suzanne Shipley, President, Shepherd University
Dr. Richard Helldobler, Vice-President, Academic Affairs
Dr. Scott Beard, HLC Self-Study Coordinator, Professor of Music
Dr. Jason Best, President, Faculty Senate, Professor of Astronomy
Dr. Sally Brasher, Department of History, Honors Program Director
Dr. Russell Porter, Dean, Graduate Studies & Continuing Education
Dr. Andro Barnett, Chair, Department of HPERS
Sara Maene, Director of Institutional Research
Mary Clare Eros, Chair, Shepherd University, Board of Governors
Holly Frye, Director of Community Service and Service Learning

School representatives:
Arts & Humanities:
Dr. Mark Cook, Assistant Professor of Music
Dr. Rob Parkinson, Assistant Professor of History

Business & Social Sciences:
Dr. Momodou Darboe, Professor of Sociology
Dr. Stephanie Slocum-Schaffer, Associate Professor of Political Science

Education & Professional Studies:
Dr. Rosalie Baretta, Assistant Professor of Education
Dr. Clarisse Ottley, Associate Professor of Nursing

Natural Sciences & Mathematics:
Dr. Ruth Conley, Associate Professor of Biology
Dr. Seung-Yun Kim, Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Student Representatives
Matthew Fowle, Tim Leonard, Brittani Love (2010-2011)

Student Government Association President
Board of Governors, Chair
Mayor of Shepherdstown

Academic Coordinating Committee

The Academic Coordinating Committee oversees the review, coordination and approval of academic programs for the university. The committee is represented by: Richard Helldobler (VPAA), Larry Daily (Chair of the General Studies Committee), Ann Legreid (Dean, Business & Social Sciences, Chair of LEAP team).

Writing Teams

The executive steering committee, the VPAA and the NCA self-study administrator appoint members of the writing teams jointly. The writing team members are selected based on their expertise, interdisciplinary focus and ability to represent Shepherd University's academic programs.

Criterion One: Mission and Integrity: The university operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, the administration, faculty, staff and students. Team Members: Jason Best (Faculty Senate President), Gordon DeMerritt (Associate Professor, Business Dept. Chair), Diane Melby (Vice-President of Advancement), Ed Snyder (Institute Director and Professor of Environmental Studies)

Team Leader: Scott Beard, HLC Self-Study Coordinator

Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future: The university's allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education and respond to future challenges and opportunities. Team Members: Kim Scranage (Vice-President of Enrollment Management), Rhonda Smith (Professor of Art), Randall Friend (Director of Admissions), Caroline Glack (Assistant Professor of Busines), Anne Murtagh (Assistant Professor of Psychology), Rick Staisloff (Acting Vice-President of Administration & Finance).

Team Leader: Ann Legreid, Dean of Business and Social Sciences

Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching: The university provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission. Team Members: Dot Hively (NCATE director), Doug Kennard (Director of Teacher Education), Tuncer Gocmen (Assistant Professor of Economics), Barbara Kemerer (Associate Profess of Nursing Education)

Team Leader: Laura Renninger, Dean Teaching, Learning & Instructional Resources

Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge: The university promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.

Team Members: Dow Benedict (Dean of Arts & Humanities), Victoria Buchabauer (Director of Career Development Center), Ann Henriksson (Director, Study-Abroad Program), Sylvia Shurbutt (Professor of English, ACF Chair), Judi McIntyre (First-Year Experience Director)

Team Leader: Colleen Nolan, Dean of Natural Sciences & Mathematics

Criterion Five: Engagement and Service: As called for by its mission, the university identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways that both value. Team Members: Christina Johnson (Director of Multicultural Student Affairs and Disability Support Services), Karen Green (Associate Professor of Social Work), Rachel Meads (Assistant Director of Student Activities and Leadership), Richard Stevens (CSDA Coordinator [graduate program]), Student representatives.

Team Leader: Tom Segar, Assoc. Vice-President of Student Affairs

Technology/Graphic Design Committee: Tim Haines (External Affairs), Erik Jones (Assistant Professor of Music), Kristin Kaineg (Assistant Professor of Art), Monica Larson (Visiting Professor of Communication), Lauryl Lewis (Campus Instructional Technologist), Kevin Williams (Associate Professor of Communication)

Resource Room: Barbara Maxwell & Laura Neal (Instructional library staff, resource room coordinators) Cheryl Layton (library staff), Nancy Cowherd (library staff)

Proof Readers: J. B. Tuttle (Associate Professor of Education), Sylvia Shurbutt (Professor of English), Valerie Owens (Director of External Affairs).

Communication Philosophy

The HLC/NCA self study demonstrates what is a core element of the overall institutional approach to strategic and academic planning, continuous improvement and accountability. The self-study invites a culture of participation, representation and shared dialogue about outcomes assessment, quality and continuous improvement. Therefore, the self-study communication plan complements the established Shepherd University governance and joint communication-consultant processes including faculty, staff, student and community stakeholders.

The HLC/NCA re-accreditation process will be based on two guiding principles:


Transparency will be accomplished through regular reports to the University community, whether in person, in print or via the Web. All interested persons will have access to basic information about the process including leadership, meeting schedules, reports and data.

Participation will be accomplished by allowing interested parties, where feasible, to attend working sessions, offer suggestions and provide comment on the evidence presented in the self-study report.

Shepherd University HLC 2012 Self-Study | P.O. Box 5000 | Shepherdstown, West Virginia | 25443-5000 | 304-876-5000 | 800-344-5231