Criterion Summaries

Criterion One: Mission & Integrity

Bradley University's Mission Statement is a defining document used to guide and shape the University community. Through strategic planning, resource allocation, curriculum development, and student engagement, the mission is a living part of the campus culture and the institutional decision-making process. The Mission and governing documents reflect the University's continuing effort to embrace the diversity of learners and is, for example, supported by a steady increase in racial diversity in the student population that has increased from 8.3 percent in Fall 2001 to 16.8 percent in Fall 2009.

The University upholds and protects its integrity by consistently implementing clear and fair policies regarding the rights and responsibilities of its constituencies and by responding to concerns in a timely manner. Bradley's exemplary system of shared governance both represents and sustains its sense of community and fundamental values.

Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future

Bradley University has a history of monitoring the external environment and then responding to effectively fulfill its mission. The University is a fiscally stable and financially well-managed institution whose resource base supports its educational programs in its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality. Bradley has operated from a balanced budget platform for almost three decades, and the University's excellent bond rating has provided Bradley with access to capital markets with lower financing cost for many construction initiatives.

In support of an effective teaching environment and consistent with the Strategic Plan, the University has recently invested in its infrastructure including several major new buildings or renovations projects, substantive upgrades to its communications and computing technology infrastructure, and significant funding for faculty/student collaboration.

Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching

The University's effectiveness as an educational institution is assessed externally by accrediting agencies at both the college and departmental levels and assessed internally through class evaluations, annual surveys of student and alumni, exit surveys, standardized graduate examinations and the annual high placement rates of Bradley graduates. A newly established Office of Institutional Improvement along with membership in the Higher Learning Commission's Academy for the Assessment of Student Learning will further support Bradley's continuous improvement efforts.

Bradley's small class size fosters close ties between students and faculty who serve as mentors and guides in students' educational journey, and support of student learning goes well beyond the classroom with excellent support services. The University values and supports collaborative partnerships that enhance teaching effectiveness including collaborative curriculum development and faculty/student scholarship.
Teaching effectiveness is a corner stone of faculty evaluation and figures heavily into decisions regarding salary increments, tenure, promotion, and dismissal.

Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge

Bradley is deeply committed to providing students with opportunities to acquire knowledge, develop skills, and participate in inquiry and creative production. Bradley' general education curriculum emphasizes breadth of knowledge that develops critical thinking skills and provides experience with issues and topics that will open the door to lifelong curiosity and learning.

The strongest evidence of Bradley's success can be measured by the success of its graduates as measured by their success on certification tests, entrance to graduate programs, and job placement rates for graduates that have averaged 93 percent over the past five years.

The University has been able to invest significant financial resources to promote learning and creative activities, distributing more than $1.2 million to faculty and students through internal OTEFD grants. Bradley also has excellent mechanisms in place to recognize and reward the scholarly and creative achievements of students and faculty.

Criterion Five: Engagement and Service

Students, faculty, and staff are extensively engaged in the tri-county community as well as national and global communities. As a result, Bradley serves these entities daily through volunteerism, educational outreach and consulting, and the fine and performing arts.

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, for example, provides a learning community for central Illinois retirees who participate both as instructors and as students. The Executive Development Center, the Turner Center for Entrepreneurship, and the Technology Commercialization Center and similar units partner with organization to provide extensive services that help create and sustain business. The Lewis J. Burger Center for Student Leadership and Public Service serves as a flagship organization for providing community services to non profit organizations in Peoria and worldwide.

Faculty and staff successfully seek and receive external funding to support and expand engagement and service activities, and the University's ability to attract national funding and partnerships like Internet2 benefits the entire community.

Special Emphasis: Building a Foundation for Student-Faculty Collaboration

Bradley's Special Emphasis has focused on developing opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty and/or professional staff mentors on research, creative production, or service projects. These experiences have enriched the educational and professional development of students across academic disciplines, and a decade after implementation, student-faculty collaboration is now firmly embedded into the institution's fiber.

University funding of the NCA-sanctioned Special Emphasis began in 2003 with modest allocation of funds ($25,000) provided by the Provost's Office. Today, administered through the Office of Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (OTEFD), nearly $1 million in Special Emphasis grants, SURF grants, and REC grants have been provided to fund student/faculty research or creative collaboration efforts.

Student involvement in the University's annual Student Scholarship Exposition is indicative of the success of Bradley's Special Emphasis. Over the lasts six years a total of 1,213 students, representing 582 distinct projects, have presented their work at the Exposition.