During the fall semester of 2018, Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU) had a basic re-accreditation done. Peterson’s Company tells us that, “Schools request to be evaluated and/or have their programs evaluated by an independent accrediting agency. The agency sets its own standards that the school must meet in order to earn their accreditation, and since accrediting agencies vary in their quality standards, some are considered more prestigious than others. Which one a school pursues depends on what standard of quality the school hopes to achieve and to maintain.”
SNHU had their re-accreditation done by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). NEASC describes their accreditation process as, “An effective, holistic, research-based resource for creating effective learning communities… A voluntary, in-depth, self-reflective analysis of one’s own learning community validated by peers in the educational community.”
SNHU President Paul LeBlanc describes SNHU’s re-accreditation process as, “A very deep dive look at us… it is also an opportunity for us to step back from the day to day and take a hard look at ourselves because when you do the self-study, what you’re really saying to the commissioner is this is our story. This is what we are about. This is another day and the evidence supports that.” President LeBlanc said that even though the accreditation is due every 10 years, SNHU was ready and willing to go for it two years before it was required. According to President LeBlanc, “we changed so much that [the re-accreditation agency] wanted to reset the clock and come in to do a visit.” After this visit, SNHU will not have to undergo another re-accreditation for 10 years.
This is great news for students as well. Achieving the re-accreditation shows that SNHU going above and beyond. According to Kirk D. Kolenbrander, the student vice president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “Looking at this institution from the very highest level, it is clear to us that SNHU is world class. It’s the most private nonprofit university in the country with 35,000 learners. It serves students in all 50 states and globally. It offers traditional campus base experiences and online education. Its strategic planning and implications are exceptional in scope and effectiveness and it’s continuously shaping our understanding of higher education… SNHU’s new strategic plan ‘Unlocking talent and opportunity’ for 2018-2023 describes a future institution that relentlessly pursues innovation and service to social justice, working to bridge the gap talent and opportunity.”
In the end, SNHU was able to go beyond the expectations of the accreditation agency by showing that their programs are strong and the campus is constantly growing.