In the fall semester, Marshall will begin a new, three-year quality initiative, as part of the Higher Learning Commission’s accreditation process. Included in the initiative is an array of projects, all with the intention of promoting a strong and inclusive institution through the three-year initiative and beyond.
The overall focus of the HLC Quality Initiative is Building a Stronger and More Inclusive Community. Each of the three years will have individual themes, which correspond with the initiative. The first year’s theme, “Complexities of Identity,” will explore the reality that every person has many intersecting identities. The second year will extend upon the first year’s theme with “Building Bridges” across diverse groups and people. By the third year, the goal is to “Embrace and Celebrate our Differences,” as well as recognize our commonalities.
Events will be held throughout each academic year, which tie in with that year’s theme. Two books will also be selected with input from the campus community each year, which will lead to discussions among students, faculty and staff, as well as other activities that complement the readings. In addition, each college will create a bibliography of discipline-related scholarly readings that will be available for instructors to incorporate into their courses.
A cohort for incoming freshmen will also be included in the quality initiative each year. The Diversity Living Learning Community (DLLC) will host 12 positions, filled by competitive application, to incoming freshmen. Students who receive one of the positions will receive scholarships and engage in diversity programming and leadership opportunities through the 2022-2023 academic year. Applications for the inaugural DLLC cohort closed in spring 2022.
There are three overall goals for the quality initiative. The first is to help students become ready to live in a global or diverse community by offering them opportunities to learn and grow through contact with others who come from cultures, races or backgrounds different from their own. Another goal is to increase access to the university by reducing barriers that disproportionately disadvantage people from underserved populations. Finally, the initiative will promote student learning through outreach and community engagement.
The HLC Quality Initiative is set to begin during the fall 2022 semester and will continue through the spring 2025 semester.