MSU Denver is a comprehensive, baccalaureate- and master’s-degree granting urban university that offers arts and sciences, professional and business courses and programs to a diverse student population in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Excellence in teaching and learning is MSU Denver’s primary objective.

MSU Denver’s mission is to provide a high-quality, accessible, enriching education that prepares students for successful careers, post-graduate education and lifelong learning in a multicultural, global and technological society. To fulfill its mission, MSU Denver’s diverse university community engages the community at large in scholarly inquiry, creative activity and the application of knowledge.


MSU Denver’s mission, vision, ongoing operations and strategic plan are informed by CADRE, a core set of values that define who we are – and aspire to be – as a University: community, accessibility, diversity, respect and excellence.

MSU Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

The accreditation process, led by the Office of Academic Effectiveness, provides MSU Denver with the opportunity to share its story and inform the higher education community in the region and the nation about the transformational work that takes place on our campus.

Please email questions to Shaun Schafer, Interim Deputy Provost, Associate Vice President of Curriculum and Policy Development and Accreditation Liaison Officer.

The Criteria for Accreditation

The Criteria for Accreditation are the standards of quality by which the Higher Learning Commission determines whether an institution merits accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation. Below is a summary of the criteria.

The Higher Learning Commission has five criteria for accreditation. They are:

  1. Mission,
  2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct,
  3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support,
  4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement, and
  5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness.

The Higher Learning Commission’s criteria for accreditation reflect a set of guiding values and assumed practices.

Accreditation Pathway

MSU Denver is currently participating in the Standard Pathway reaffirmation of accreditation. The Standard Pathway requires completion of a comprehensive evaluation in year four and year 10 of the accreditation cycle. This process provides the opportunity for institutions to demonstrate to all constituents that the Five Criteria for Accreditation and Federal Compliance Requirements have been met and that continuous improvement efforts are in place.

2021 Comprehensive Evaluation

On April 26th and 27th, 2021, MSU Denver hosted a Higher Learning Commission Peer Review Team at our campus. The purpose of the visit was to complete the first of two required comprehensive evaluations which take place in our 10-year accreditation cycle.

Accreditation Committee Roster

Preparation for the comprehensive evaluation involved the completion and submission of an Assurance Argument to demonstrate compliance with HLC’s Five Criteria for Accreditation. Angelica Moreno, Manager of Student Affairs Assessment and Evaluation and S. Leone DickChief of Staff to the Vice President for Administration and Paul Hitchcock in Curriculum, Academic Effectiveness and Policy Development in Academic Affairs served and continue to serve as point-of-contact for their branches of campus. Information was collected from faculty and staff throughout the Fall 2020 semester.

In January 2021, MSU Denver’s accreditation liaison officer and president were contacted by the Chair of the Peer Review team. At that time, a schedule was developed, travel arrangements made, and additional information exchanged between the accreditation liaison officer and the Chair of the Peer Review Team.

Details about the Peer Review teams visit were provided in the Early Bird and here, on the MSU Denver Accreditation website.

The Peer Review team conducted their on-site visit on April 26th and 27. They then began the process of writing their final report, which was then submitted to HLC for review and approval.

The final report stated that MSU Denver met all of the criteria for accreditation under the standard pathway. One area was “met with concerns” and the Peer Reviewers recommended a course of action for MSU Denver, to respond to those concerns. Shaun Schafer worked with the appropriate office(s) to address the Peer Reviewers comments and implement processes to ensure that, moving forward, that criteria area was brought in line with HLC expectations.

In order to set MSU Denver up for continued success in accreditation, Shaun Schafer has created a University Accreditation Committee that meets regularly to aid in accreditation efforts and tracking. In addition to this committee, the Office of Curriculum, Academic Effectiveness and Policy Development has onboarded the Weave accreditation platform to aid in tracking and documenting accreditation data and in developing the 2026-2027 Assurance Argument for the re-affirmation evaluation of accreditation.

Office of Academic Effectiveness

Shaun Schafer, Interim Deputy Provost, Associate Vice President for Curriculum, Academic Effectiveness and Policy Development and Accreditation Liaison Officer

HLC Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO)

Shaun Schafer (ALO)
Email: [email protected]  
Phone: 303-605-5281

Paul Hitchcock
Email: [email protected] 
Phone: 303-615-2061