2015-2016 Assurance Argument (Self Study)

Letter from President Leath regarding Accreditation

Iowa State understands the tremendous value of being an accredited institution as it assures the public that the University is fulfilling its responsibility for quality. Iowa State is proud of its long-standing accreditation status, dating back to 1916. Since our last reaccreditation visit in spring 2006, Iowa State has experienced record-setting achievements in such areas as student enrollment, faculty research, economic engagement, outreach, and fundraising.

These successes are a reflection of the University's unwavering commitment to its land-grant mission. Since its founding in 1864, Iowa State has been dedicated to providing access to high quality education; applying research to meet the needs of Iowa, the nation, and the world; and sharing knowledge to strengthen the economy and improve quality of life. Iowa State is also a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities, which signifies the University's strong emphasis on academic research and education.

The Assurance Argument presented below has been submitted to the Higher Learning Commission to demonstrate how Iowa State is meeting the Criteria for Accreditation.

I look forward to the results of the November 2015 site visit review and how Iowa State University can better position itself for a successful future.


Steven Leath

Assurance Argument

(Note:  Links to evidence in the pdf files are not active, however, a list of evidence sources is provided at the end of each component.)

Criterion One. Mission

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

Criterion Two. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct

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

  • 2.A. (PDF, 155KB) The institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows policies and processes for fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty, and staff.
  • 2.B. (PDF, 131KB) The institution presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public with regard to its programs, requirements, faculty and staff, costs to students, control, and accreditation relationships.
  • 2.C. (PDF, 128KB) The governing board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity.
  • 2.D. (PDF, 107KB) The institution is committed to freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning.
  • 2.E. (PDF, 144KB) The institution’s policies and procedures call for responsible acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge by its faculty, students, and staff.
  • Summary Criterion 2 (PDF, 90KB)

Criterion Three. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support

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

  • 3.A. (PDF, 114KB) The institution’s degree programs are appropriate to higher education.
  • 3.B. (PDF, 159KB) The institution demonstrates that the exercise of intellectual inquiry and the acquisition, application, and integration of broad learning and skills are integral to its educational programs.
  • 3.C. (PDF, 151KB) The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.
  • 3.D. (PDF, 185KB) The institution provides support for student learning and effective teaching.
  • 3.E. (PDF, 121KB) The institution fulfills the claims it makes for an enriched educational environment.
  • Summary Criterion 3 (PDF, 89KB)

Criterion Four. 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.
Core Components

  • 4.A. (PDF, 146KB) The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs.
  • 4.B. (PDF, 187KB) The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning.
  • 4.C. (PDF, 154KB) The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational improvement through ongoing attention to retention, persistence, and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.
  • Summary Criterion 4 (PDF, 96KB)

Criterion Five. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

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. The institution plans for the future.
Core Components

  • 5.A. (PDF, 165KB) The institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.
  • 5.B. (PDF, 109KB) The institution’s governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the institution to fulfill its mission.
  • 5.C. (PDF, 141KB) The institution engages in systematic and integrated planning.
  • 5.D. (PDF, 168KB) The institution works systematically to improve its performance.
  • Summary Criterion 5 (PDF, 95KB)