Marian’s Open Pathway Process

Marian University’s commitment to education is evidenced by its continuous accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1960, as well as other program specific accreditations. Marian’s reaffirmation in 2016 recognizes that the university demonstrates responsibility for the quality of our institution based on evidence of learning.


Per HLC requirements, we “determine standards, processes, and the will for quality assurance” in our educational offerings through the following:

  1. Focus on student learning
  2. Education as a public purpose
  3. Education for a diverse, technological, globally connected world
  4. A culture of continuous improvement
  5. Evidence-based institutional learning and self-presentation
  6. Integrity, transparency, and ethical behavior or practice
  7. Governance for the well-being of the institution
  8. Planning and management of resources to ensure institutional sustainability
  9. Mission-centered evaluation
  10. Accreditation through peer review

Marian University is on the Open Pathway for reaffirmation, which separates the continued accreditation process into two components: the Assurance Review and the Quality Initiative.

Two Assurance Reviews take place in the ten-year cycle:

  • Electronic review during Year 4. No on-site visit.
  • Comprehensive on-site visit to campus during Year 10.  Peer reviewers trained in the HLC standards evaluate the institution to determine whether it demonstrates meeting the Criteria for Accreditation and makes recommendations to the Commission’s decision-making bodies related to the institutions accreditation status.
  • Marian’s 2016 Assurance Argument

Quality Initiative (QI) between Years 5 and 9:

  • The QI allows the institution to propose and complete an initiative it elects to suit its own purposes. Its timeframe is flexible to accommodate the amount of time necessary to complete or make substantial progress toward completion.