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University of Montana Western accreditation reaffirmed

UMW News Bureau

approved stampThe University of Montana Western today announced its reaffirmation of accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The accrediting body, the largest in the country, includes 163 colleges in a seven-state region.

Accreditation is crucial not only for a university’s reputation, but it is also vital to the worth of an institution’s degree.

In spring 2010, NWCCU began a comprehensive evaluation of Montana Western including a week-long visit to the Dillon, Mont. campus. Among NWCCU’s commendations of UMW, the accrediting body made particular note of UMW’s implementation of the one-class-at-a-time Experience One block-scheduling program.

In a letter announcing the reaffirmation to Montana Western Chancellor Richard Storey, NWCCU President Sandra Elman stated, “The Commission commends The University of Montana Western for its design of Experience One and the entire campus community for realizing the vision of experiential learning and adjusting operations, policies, and protocols to advance block scheduling.”

Elman also highlighted Montana Western’s small size as an invaluable strength.

“Moreover, the Commission applauds the University's administration, faculty and staff for creating a culture of caring, respect, and approachability where students feel supported in their personal growth and educational pursuits,” Elman wrote.

Chancellor Storey said the reaffirmation was a reflection not only of the university’s specific accreditation efforts but also of Montana Western’s day-to-day operations.

“This is a wonderful way to start a new academic year,” Storey stated. “This was made possible by countless hours of hard work by the Montana Western NWCCU Steering Committee and many others on campus. More importantly, the reaffirmation of accreditation and NWCCU’s commendations are a testament to the day-to-day dedication and passion of every member of Montana Western’s faculty, staff and administration.”

Other NWCCU commendations included the recognition of the University of Montana Western Strategic Plan for Action 2006-2012 as well as the university’s efforts to extend its information resources.

“The evaluation team commends the University of Montana Western and its library for providing students and faculty, whether on campus or at remote locations, with a breadth and depth of online information resources that is exceptional for an institution of its size, scope, and financial resources,” NWCCU stated.

In preparation for the spring 2010 NWCCU review, UMW completed an accreditation self study in March 2010. The study is available in its entirety online.