POWELL, Wyo. - "Northwest College is on time and on target with its self-study report for reaccreditation," Duane Fish, chair of the NWC Accreditation Committee, announced this week.
The college has been working for more than two years gathering and assessing information for the self-study document that will guide an onsite visit in November 2010 by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
The self-study is organized by five criteria-mission and integrity; planning for the future; student learning and effective teaching; acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge; and engagement and service.
The first draft of the document is now complete. It will be examined section by section during the fall 2009 semester, Fish said, with an eye on the big picture.
"We are looking to determine whether we have answered the questions posed by the HLC and that we have the data to support those answers," he said. It will be fine tuned and edited in the spring and assembled in the summer before being submitted to the HLC in August 2010.
While every college employee has been involved in some way in the reaccreditation process, a team of 16 faculty and administrative staff comprise the self-study executive committee that did the lion's share of the work in creating the report. Renee Dechert, a member of the NWC English faculty, is charged with assembling and writing the final document.
Fish said as it stands now, the document overview identifies five significant changes that have affected the culture of the institution since 2001 when it last received reaccreditation. Those changes occurred in leadership, shared governance, the culture of assessment, increases in student population and changes at the state level.
HLC accreditation assures the public and prospective students that NWC meets clearly stated requirements and criteria and that there are reasonable grounds for believing that it will continue to meet them. Without accreditation, NWC can't ensure that transfer institutions will accept students' credits, nor can it administer federal financial aid to students. Accreditation also provides NWC an opportunity to critically analyze itself and improve quality with advice from outside individuals.
An HLC team will provide its accreditation recommendation to NWC following its November 2010 visit to the campus. More information about the commission and the reaccreditation process can be found on the HLC Web site.