BHSU Receives Reaffirmation of 10-Year HLC Accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) notified Black Hills State University that its accreditation has been reaffirmed through the 2032-33 school year in a letter received by the institution Friday, July 21. BHSU was also offered the option to select their next review process, which is the highest affirmation an institution can receive. 

HLC accreditation is a significant accomplishment for institutions of higher education and indicates that the University meets or exceeds rigorous standards of excellence and integrity in its educational offerings and services. Holding HLC accreditation is necessary in order to offer federal financial aid and receive any federal grant or funding. HLC accreditation is also a sign of quality as universities are evaluated against student learning standards as well as self-identified improvements. 

“Institutional accreditation by our regional accreditor is a continuous improvement process that is critical to our university. BHSU’s 10-year accreditation review could not have gone better and for that, I am grateful to Dr. Amy Fuqua who led the effort and many others who worked on many of the components of accreditation,” said BHSU President Laurie S. Nichols. “I could not be more pleased for BHSU to have received such a strong review where we were granted the full 10-year accreditation through 2032-33 with no interim follow-up required. It is the faculty and staff at BHSU who deserve all the credit.” 

This achievement comes as a result of efforts by several BHSU faculty and staff members on various components of HLC accreditation which include annual reports, a quality initiative, an extensive self-study that addresses the criteria HLC requires for accreditation, and a site visit. BHSU’s quality initiative, which was selected by the University, was improving professional advising to impact retention of students.  

In addition to Dr. Fuqua, other BHSU faculty and staff members who helped lead this effort included Dr. Jon Kilpinen, Dr. Rich Loose, Kathy Johnson, and Dr. John Allred. 

The University hosted an on-site peer review team for the visit in April who met with faculty, students, and staff to review and collect additional feedback from campus stakeholders. 

“While I am very pleased that HLC provided BHSU with such a clear affirmation of our academic quality and support for our students, I am equally pleased by the broad engagement of our campus community throughout the accreditation process,” said Dr. Kilpinen, BHSU Provost. “Everyone contributed in important ways, especially during the on-site review. We can all be very proud of our work.” 

The action to reaffirm BHSU’s accreditation was taken by the Institutional Actions Council of HLC at its meeting on July 17.   

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