University of Providence partnership causes accreditation concerns

Posted at 4:17 PM, Aug 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-17 18:17:00-04

Staff at the University of Providence say they are excited for their new nursing program to kick off this fall, but with that, the university is under some fire involving their relationship with Providence St. Joseph Health.

Every seven years, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) performs a comprehensive review of schools within its purview.

When the University of Providence presented the information about their renewed partnership, the agency raised some concerns about the possible effect of fundamentally changing the nature of the institution.

As a result, the NWCCU placed the school on "probation" status, pending resolution of the issue. Here is the information regarding the probation status from the NWCCU website:

At its June 2018 Board of Commissioners meeting, The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) issued Probation (a public sanction) to the University of Providence. The imposition of Probation is based upon NWCCU Eligibility Requirement 20 Public Disclosure and Eligibility Requirement 21 Relationship with the Accreditation Commission. The University of Providence is required to:

• Submit a Major Substantive Change Proposal due on October 1, 2018, addressing the Change of Control of the University. 
• Submit a Special Report due on October 1, 2018, addressing Eligibility Requirement 20 Public Disclosure and Eligibility Requirement 21 Relationship with the Accreditation Commission describing processes the institution has implemented and the steps it has taken to ensure that it is now, and will continue to be, in compliance with the Commission’s Policy on Substantive Change and U.S. Department of Education Regulation 34 CFR 602.20.

Response from The University of Providence: The University of Providence looks forward to working with the Commission to resolve this issue, and we will submit the requested documentation on or before Oct. 1, 2018.

“They are concerned that our relationship with Providence St. Joseph Health might be too much of a tighter relationship than they might be comfortable with. So really this is clarifying for them specifically what our relationship is with Providence St. Joseph Health. We’ve always been part of the ministry, in a way nothing has changed. It’s just the scope and magnitude of what we are doing has changed,” said University president Tony Aretz.

The university is required now to submit a substantive change request by October 1.

“This has really no effect on our day to day functioning as a university, what our students experience. No effect on our academic programs. This is strictly an effort to get us into compliance in an area where they felt we did not submit some paperwork that they felt we should have,” Aretz said.

“We have been keeping them informed every step of the way. Everything we’ve done over the last two years since I’ve been here, we’ve been working with them, it’s been a great partnership, so this was a little bit of a surprise to us. But I think when you look at the cumulative effect of everything we’ve done, it’s pretty big, exciting, and significant. I think when some of the presidents saw that they said, ‘Wow, this is big’,” Aretz said.

Aretz says he hopes this issue is resolved by the end of the year.

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