The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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February 16, 2012

MSU forum held on HLC visit

Acting Mountain State University President Dr. Jerry Ice held a forum Wednesday to give students and faculty an update following the three-day visit by an accreditation review team from the Higher Learning Commission.

Ice told attendees, “You are a big credit in where we are in the success I want us to continue to have.”

He then mapped out upcoming events, which will ultimately lead to the approval or denial of accreditation from the HLC.

The HLC will submit a draft of its report to MSU by March 19. MSU will then be given until April 2 to “correct errors of fact.” A final report will be given to MSU by April 13. A question and answer meeting will be held with the HLC on May 7.

The HLC board will make its accreditation decision June 23 and MSU will be notified after its meeting.

Ice says as soon as MSU receives the draft of the HLC report, officials will begin working on their response.

“They do not give any recommendations. We don’t get any of those kinds of reports.”

Ice says he assumes that when the report is received, they will have a better understanding of the future direction for the school.

Ice also said the HLC wanted to ensure that students, faculty and the community know and understand that the university remains accredited until a final decision is made.

“This institution continues to be accredited,” Ice explained. “Every student that completes semester hours here, it is from an accredited institution. What it means is that we have issues that we are addressing.”

As for nursing students, Ice says MSU continues to work at meeting the concerns of the West Virginia Board of Nursing.

“We are not going to reactivate admissions (for nursing) until the concerns of the board are resolved.”

Ice also mentioned that he had heard a rumor about financial aid concerns. He wanted to assure everyone that “financial aid is fine.”

“We’ve been through a lot on this campus in the last few weeks,” Ice said. “I couldn’t be more proud of an institution that has responded in a great way to the concerns of the Higher Learning Commission. We are truly a university and a campus on the same team. We’re well on our way with a very positive strategic plan.”

Ice extended his thanks to the community for supporting MSU.

“I cannot say enough how this community has supported us. They support MSU and that support has been significant. The meaning of this university within this community is great.”

He also commended the faculty for its hard work in preparing for the HLC visit, and told everyone to “take a big sigh of relief.”

“I feel very good about the way we’ve responded.”

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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