Accreditation and Certification

  • Policy Type: Ends
  • Policy Title: Accreditation and Certification
  • Policy Number: 4.4
  • Office Responsible: CEO
  • Related Policies: 4.3
  • Related Procedures: 4.3
  • Related Laws: N/A
  • HLC Criterion: 4A

Policy Statement

The College is committed to continuously improving the quality of its programs and services as identified in the Board’s purpose statement. The College is further committed to demonstrating that its programs and services meet assurance standards set forth by all affiliated professional organizations and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the College’s regional accrediting body.

Students benefit from professionally-recognized and peer-reviewed education programs and services and from regional accreditation that allows them to access government financial aid and grants. Students benefit when their courses transfer to other regionally accredited institutions and when their courses and programs are aligned with professional standards that allow them to obtain industry recognized credentials.

The College benefits when its programs and services are validated through benchmarking, audits and other means of inspecting their quality, conducted by professional organizations. The College benefits from a systematic assessment framework that allows for thoughtful evaluation and improvement of programs and services. The College receives value when programs and services are recognized for professional excellence by peer organizations.

The community benefits by the assurance that tax dollars are spent wisely.

To achieve these benefits, the Board directs the CEO to ensure sufficient resources, planning, and accountability are in place for achievement and ongoing maintenance of required institutional and desired supplemental program accreditations and certifications. In addition, the Board directs the CEO to adhere to the accreditation guidelines set forth by the HLC under the Open Pathways accreditation model. In addition, the Board directs the CEO to periodically provide information regarding alternative accreditation models provided by the HLC so that the Board may review its accreditation options.

Key Monitoring Activities:
As noted in the Monitoring College Effectiveness Policy (4.3), accreditation and certification activities are essential elements that validate the quality and support the achievement of the College’s purposes. The Board recognizes that the key performance areas associated with the assessment framework noted in the Monitoring College Effectiveness Policy (4.3) are generally integrated into the assessment activities employed by external accrediting or certifying organizations. As such, the Board will monitor the College’s progress on the Accreditation and Certification End by using additional reporting methods.

Specifically, the Board directs the CEO to submit activity and progress related to institutional and professional program accreditations and certifications within monitoring reports. The report shall include the strengths and opportunities for improvement identified by the accrediting organization; performance improvement initiatives to address opportunities for improvement, continuation or expansion of strengths; and recent progress in achieving planned improvements.

The report shall also inform the Board of the College’s relative standing with accrediting bodies and its status in the accreditation renewal cycle. Further, the report will identify changes to accreditation expectations or standards and detail how those changes might affect College operations.

Key measures to be addressed in the report include accreditation status, special filings and program plans and goals. Potential indicators might include initiatives in the College’s strategic plan that are aligned with accreditation criteria, the number of eligible programs receiving external program recognition, and the number of eligible courses receiving external program recognition. 

Change Log

Date of Change  Description of Change  Responsible Party
4-17-18 Initial policy approved by Board to become effective 7-1-18 Board of Trustees 
7-1-18 Effective date of initial policy Board of Trustees 
4-28-20 Revised and adopted Board of Trustees