Moving in the Right Direction – HLC Accreditation Update
East Central College is making noticeable progress towards its reaffirmation of accreditation by the Higher Learning Committee (HLC). That was the message laid out for the Board of Trustees at its December 3 meeting.
Robyn Walter, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Michelle Smith, Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness, updated the Board regarding the efforts by the college to improve certain criteria designated by the HLC.
“One of the areas we needed to improve was assessment of student learning outcomes,” said Walter. “Through the hard work and dedication of our Assessment Committee, we are successfully tightening our processes on campus and drawing meaningful connections between our programs.”
East Central College has also committed to a new initiative that will help drive assessment innovation in the future – The HLC Assessment Academy, a four-year commitment to ongoing professional learning and growth centered on student learning.
“We will receive regular support and feedback from a mentor,” said Walter, “who is assigned specifically to the college. In January, we will begin to develop a common language around assessment and examine our common learning outcomes to make sure they are measurable and actionable.”
Retention, persistence and completion rates are other areas of focus for the college.
“Each strategy is being supported by data,” said Smith. “As we continue to move forward, it will allow the college to make informed decisions for continuous improvement.”
Additionally, the Board heard updates about the recently-formed Shared Governance Committee.
“Through recommendations from the HLC, our Shared Governance Committee has been in operation for several months,” said Walter. “The college now has a formalized process which enables any employee to present an issue. It also creates a feedback loop to employee organizations, as each organization has representation on the committee.”
The process of designing a new strategic plan is also underway. The initiative, SOAR to 2024, will help the college identify and define the experience provided to our students.
East Central College currently holds a Higher Learning Commission designation of “Accreditation- On Notice.” During this two-year process, the College remains fully accredited; college credits transfer, financial aid will be dispersed and the high quality of academic programs remain.