Steppingblocks for Accreditation

The Why, The How, and The What

Amanda Kallach avatar
Written by Amanda Kallach
Updated over a week ago

Being an accredited university is a significant achievement and a coveted distinction that colleges aspire to attain. It serves as a testament to the exceptional quality of education they offer to their students, alongside a myriad of other advantages, including access to scholarships and grants, as well as the flexibility to transfer credits seamlessly between institutions.

Once accredited, educational institutions undergo regular evaluations to ensure that they continue to meet the stringent criteria required for maintaining their accredited status.

In order for a university to be accredited, the school must meet 5 Criteria for Accreditation outlined by the Higher Learning Commission. They are:

Criterion 1: Mission

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.

Criterion 2: Integrity: Ethical and Responsible conduct

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

Criterion 3: Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support

The institution provides quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

Criterion 4: Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

Criterion 5: Institutional Effectiveness, Resources, and Planning

The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

Why get accredited?

Accreditation provides prospective students with the confidence that they will embark upon a comprehensive and exceptional educational journey, one that will be acknowledged and respected by both prestigious institutions of higher learning and prospective employers as they transition from academia to the professional world. Being accredited signifies that an external organization has diligently assessed a school and its programs to ensure they meet benchmarks of quality, rigor, and adherence to elevated educational standards.

How to support the accreditation process?

Universities possess numerous avenues through which they can fortify their accreditation endeavors and demonstrate their fulfillment of the criteria written by accreditation agencies. Two prominent methods stand out as primary avenues for universities to accomplish this goal, namely: Being data driven and utilizing graduate outcomes data.

In the era of big data, the significance of leveraging the vast amount of information available has been recognized by companies, schools, and various organizations. They have come to appreciate the power of compiling and sharing this data to unveil the valuable insights and outcomes derived from their operations.

With the advent of advanced technology capable of efficiently sifting through and analyzing big data, organizations can discern the crucial elements and employ them to bolster their missions and visions within their respective domains.

For universities specifically, being able to utilize graduate outcomes data for their students once they leave, gives them the ability to prove their university's programs' effectiveness and educational rigor.

What can Universities use to Become Data Driven & Harness the power of Graduate Outcomes Data?

Steppingblocks has successfully developed several cutting-edge platforms specifically designed for universities. These platforms empower institutions with the ability to effortlessly access streamlined and organized graduate outcomes data, conveniently available at their fingertips.

Steppingblocks Digital Career Counselor for Students

Targeted at students, this dashboard allows students to jump right in and view career outcomes for their major, either nationally or just based on alumni from their home university. If a student isn’t sure exactly what they want their career to be, they can use the tools to explore different career options based on interests, majors, or personality.

Steppingblocks Graduate Insights (Graduate Outcomes & Graduate Explorer) Platforms for Faculty and Staff

Graduate Outcomes - Along with Graduate Explorer, part of the Graduate Insights platform. This dashboard is designed to share career outcomes of graduates including industry, job title, salary, and more. It also allows for detailed review of employer hiring trends and skills analysis.

Graduate Explorer - Along with Graduate Outcomes, part of the Graduate Insights platform. This dashboard gets more granular than Graduate Outcomes allowing the user to view individual career outcomes. Users can view student-specific information such as names and contact information. In addition, there are additional filters and the ability to download a dataset.

Steppingblocks’ platforms have multiple features that can be leveraged to support universities in their accreditation efforts.

Click here to download the Leveraging Steppingblocks for Accreditation eBook, which serves as a guide for university staff, empowering them in their Accreditation process by aligning the Steppingblocks platforms and their graduate outcomes data, and the Higher Learning Commission's Criteria for Accreditation.

Click here to download our infographic guide on Maximizing Graduate Insights for Accreditation and Reporting for more information on how Steppingblocks can support your campus' accreditation and reporting goals.

“Criteria for Accreditation (CRRT.B.10.010): Policies.” Higher Learning Commission,


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