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Accreditation Assurance Process

Improvement Process

The Open Pathway process includes an Improvement Process, which is a major quality initiative or project which aims to advance the institution to address present concerns or aspirations. The Quality Initiative occurs between years five and nine (e.g., between 2020 and 2024) of the ten-year accreditation cycle. A quality initiative is intended to allow universities to take risks, aim high, and learn from successes and failures.

The quality initiative may take one of three forms:

  1. The university designs and proposes its own quality initiative to suit its present concerns or aspirations;
  2. The university chooses an initiative from a menu of topics;
  3. The university chooses to participate in an HLC-facilitated program such as the Academy for the Assessment of Student Learning or the Academy for Student Persistence and Completion.

For this accreditation cycle, Miami designed its own Quality Initiative Project: Optimizing the Academic Program Portfolio. Miami's project included four interrelated programs:

  • Boldly Creative - which provided funding for innovative, net-revenue-generating academic programs;
  • Academic Program Evaluation, Improvement & Prioritization (APEIP) - a comprehensive evaluation of all current academic programs;
  • Miami Academic Program Incubator (MAPI) - a consultation service for all new academic programs and also serves as an optional service for programs undergoing major revisions; and
  • Miami's Academic Program Review - which has been revised into a new, more holistic process called Department Planning & Improvement.

Miami University submitted its Quality Initiative Project Report in fall 2022, and it was approvedby the Higher Learning Commission in May 2023.


As part of the requirements for reaffirmation of accreditation, Miami must ensure that academic programs, the liberal education program as well as significant co-curricular and academic support programs consistently engage in meaningful assessment processes.  

Full cycle assessment is an ongoing, iterative process that uses results to inform decisions and make improvements. In order to improve, careful planning is necessary. Goals and outcomes must be clearly specified, appropriate measures must be selected, data collection must be carefully executed, and most importantly, results must be shared and discussed for improvements to occur.

University Assessment Plan

Miami University’s Assessment Plan includes three major components:

  1. Assessment of Academic Curriculum: Within Academic Affairs, each department is to implement a full cycle assessment program for each of its undergraduate majors & co-majors, graduate degree programs, and "free-standing" certificates (i.e., certificates that may enroll students who are not already enrolled in another Miami degree program).  
  2. Assessment of the Miami Plan: The Office of Liberal Education conducts student learning outcomes assessment of Miami’s general education program, the Miami Plan. 
  3. Assessment of the Co-Curriculum and Other Academic Activities: At Miami, academic support units, Student Life units, and academic centers and institutes are required to undergo assessment of their programs and services and submit annual reports on their assessment activities. Units that provide co-curricular learning programs include in their assessment activity student learning outcomes assessment.  

Departments and other units are required to specify their full-cycle assessment programs in an assessment plan and then report on progress made each year. Templates for plans and reports are available.

Departments and divisions that undergo accreditations by their disciplinary professional organizations (e.g., ABET, AACSB, CAEP) may use the assessment data collected for these processes so long as they comply with the HLC "full cycle" assessment requirement. 

Assessment plans and annual reports are evaluated each year by members of the University Assessment Fellows Committee. Assessment activity of academic departments is also evaluated more formally every 5-7 years as part of the Department Planning & Improvement process (academic program review).

Academic departments, programs or other units that do not already have an assessment plan, wish to revise an existing plan, or need assistance in developing an annual assessment report, are encouraged to contact Carolyn Haynes, Senior Associate Provost, for support.

Schedule for Reaffirmation of Accreditation


  • Collect all assessment reports and plans as well as major university reports.
  • Create preliminary outlines for narratives in Assurance Argument.
  • Create and submit Quality Initiative Report.


  • Request additional information for Assurance Argument.
  • Collect all assessment reports and plans as well as major university reports.
  • Audit all websites.
  • Create draft of entire Assurance Argument, and begin collecting any remaining information for federal compliance report and multi-campus report.


  • Collect all feedback on Assurance Argument, federal compliance report and multi-campus report, and revise.
  • Plan peer review team visit.


  • Submit Assurance Argument, Federal Compliance Report, and multi-campus report to evidence file for review.
  • Hold peer review team visit.