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Accreditation Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is accreditation?
  2. Who accredits institutions of higher education?
  3. Who accredits Monroe County Community College (MCCC)?
  4. How does the PEAQ accreditation process work?
  5. What does the HLC look for when it accredits colleges?
  6. When will the HLC re-accreditation visit take place?
  7. How is the college preparing for the re-accreditation visit in 2009?
  8. Who will be on the HLC visiting team?
  9. What will the team do during the visit?
  10. How will the findings be reported?
  11. What kinds of recommendations might the team make?
  12. Where can I get more information on accreditation?
  13. What are the HLC Criteria?
  14. Comments or Questions?

1. What is accreditation?
Accreditation is the result of positive external review by an authorized agency such as The Higher Learning Commission (HLC): A Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Accreditation assures the public that a college university, school, or program can do its job. While many academic agencies accredit particular programs of study (nursing, business, etc.), The Higher Learning Commission and other regional accrediting agencies are responsible for assuring that colleges and universities meet certain standards in terms of their missions, operations, and activities in teaching and student learning, discovery and promotion of knowledge, and service. Unaccredited schools are not eligible for many kinds of federal support.

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2. Who accredits institutions of higher education?
Six regional associations are responsible for the accreditation of colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning: North Central, Middle States, New England, Northwest, Southern and Western Associations.

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3. Who accredits Monroe County Community College?
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC): A Commission of The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, is responsible for accrediting MCCC. Through its Commissions it accredits, and thereby grants membership to educational institutions in the nineteen-state North Central region: Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

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4. How does the PEAQ accreditation process work?
The Higher Learning Commission of The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools provides two programs for maintaining accredited status: the Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality (PEAQ) and the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). MCCC will be reviewed as part of PEAQ, which employs a five-step comprehensive evaluation process to determine continued accredited status.

  1. The organization engages in a self-study process for approximately two years and prepares a report of its findings in accordance with Commission expectations.
  2. The Commission sends an evaluation team of Consultant-Evaluators to conduct a comprehensive visit for continued accreditation and to write a report containing the team's recommendations.
  3. The report of the evaluation team and other documents relating to the comprehensive visit are reviewed by a Readers Panel or, in some situations, a Review Committee of the HLC.
  4. The Institutional Actions Council (IAC) takes action on the Readers Panel's recommendation.
  5. If a Review Committee reviewed the visit, the Review Committee takes action.

The Board of Trustees validates the work of IAC or a Review Committee, finalizing the action. Evaluations for initial and continued candidacy and initial accreditation follow the processes outlined above.

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5. What does the HLC look for when it accredits colleges and universities?

  • Criterion One: Mission and Integrity
  • Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future
  • Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching
  • Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge
  • Criterion Five: Engagement and Service

HLC expects that MCCC has evaluated examples of evidence to support each criteria and its components. In addition, the Consultant-Evaluators also expect to see evidence that the organization is future-oriented, learning focused, connected, and distinctive.

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6. When will the HLC visit take place?
The campus will prepare the Self-Study Report, based on the new criteria, and submit it to the HLC by July1, 2009. The evaluation team visit is scheduled for September 28, 29, 30, 2009.

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7. How is the college preparing for the HLC visit in Fall 2009?
A Steering Team and criteria-based subcommittees have been formed to evaluate evidence, make sense of that evidence in light of each criteria, and help prepare the college for the Fall 2009 visit.

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8. Who will be on the HLC visiting team?
The college will be visited by an evaluation team of trained Consultant-Evaluators. These are administrators, staff people, and faculty who have been accepted and trained as Consultant-Evaluators by the HLC. All will have gone through training for such visits and will be familiar with the new Criteria. Most of the team members will be experienced reviewers.

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9. What will the team do during the visit?
The team will already have received the complete college Self-Study Report and will have had access to documents via the web site. During the visit, they will be seeking to validate the content of the report in terms of the strengths the college has declared and data that support them as well as concerns that need attention or issues that may confront the college in the future. Team members will have meetings with key individuals and groups from across the college and will have open meetings that are less structured.

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10. How will the findings be reported?
In both the initial draft and the later, full report. the HLC team will write an assurance section that addresses the Criteria and Core Components for accreditation. The team will note the Components that have been met, any that have not been met and any qualifications or concerns regarding them. In addition, the team will write an advancement section in their role as consultants to offer advice to the college about issues that might be of concern and ways in which MCCC might seek to approach or address those issues. The president should receive a draft of the written report within 6 weeks of the visit. He will have a chance to correct factual errors, and the final report will be submitted to The HLC no more than 9 weeks after the visit.

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11. What kind of recommendations might the team make?
The team may simply recommend continued accreditation with no recommended follow-up activities before the next scheduled visit. If an institution is in serious trouble, the team could recommend probation or even withdrawal of accreditation. In between there is a range of possible actions, including required progress reports on how the institution is dealing with particular issues, monitoring reports dealing with specific issues that require careful and ongoing attention, and contingency reports dealing with changes taking place that affect the mission or nature of the institution. It is likely that some kind of follow-up activity will be recommended. HLC staff estimate that 85 percent of institutions will have some kind of follow-up activity required.

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12. Where can I get more information on accreditation?
The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools web site:
http://www.ncahlc.org/index.php?option=com_frontpage&Itemid=113

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13. What are the HLC Criteria?

I. Mission and Integrity
The organization operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff, and students.
II. Preparing for the Future
The organization's allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
III. Student Learning and Effective Teaching
The organization provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission.
IV. Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge
The organization promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.
V. Engagement and Service
As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value.

14. Comments or Questions?
Questions and/or comments are welcome and encouraged. Please direct them to Suzanne Wetzel, Co-chair at swetzel@monroeccc.edu or Dr. David Waggoner, Co-chair at dwaggoner@monroeccc.edu.

   

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