North Central Association to visit NAU this spring
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association has asked NAU to prepare an "Institutional Change Request" related to web-based degree and certificate programs. The Higher Learning Commission will send two reviewers to NAU for a site visit in late April or very early May.

The Higher Learning Commission is engaged in a systematic effort to ensure that all institutional statements of affiliation status are aligned with the development of electronically delivered programs across the country. "The focus visit is not precipitated by any concerns about NAU or its online programs," said Karen Pugliesi, vice provost of undergraduate studies.

The focus visit is separate from the comprehensive review for renewal of institutional accreditation that will occur in fall 2007. Preparation for the focus visit this spring will be much less comprehensive in scope and will be completed in very short period of time, Pugliesi said.

"The report that will be prepared for the Higher Learning Commission is not a comprehensive self-study. Instead, the report will be a relatively brief document that responds to a set of six broad questions pertaining to online academic programs and their administrative infrastructure."

Pugliesi and Fred Hurst, vice president for Extended Programs and dean of Distance Learning, will lead the preparations for the visit. Next week a broad-based group of leaders across the university will begin formulating the change request document. The group will work with others in their areas to compile information and documentation that required to prepare the report to the Higher Learning Commission. Many others across campus will be asked to participate as the effort progresses.

Pugliesi said there will be periodic reports about the progress of this effort in the coming weeks. Questions can be e-mailed to