HLC Accreditation: 2017 Comprehensive Review

NWC Accreditation History

1964 On April 9, 1964, Northwest Community College received accreditation from the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges.
1967 The College was placed on probation after the Board of Trustees voted to revoke tenure; in 1968, a new college administration, led by President SinClair Orendorff, initiated a voluntary self-study that led to a 10-year accreditation.
1979 The North Central evaluating team recommended a five-year accreditation with a focus visit scheduled for 1980. This recommendation was the result of issues surrounding the academic administration and the role of occupational programs in relation to the instructional curriculum at Northwest. The 1980 visit led to the recommendation by the evaluating team that the College had addressed problems satisfactorily. In 1983, North Central conducted a comprehensive visit resulting in the College's receiving a seven-year continued accreditation period.
1990 North Central recommended that Northwest receive a ten-year accreditation with a 1994 focus visit to address issues concerning governance, assessment, planning, and the College's adaptation to the "Omnibus Bill," recent Wyoming legislation that gave greater authority to the Wyoming Community College Commission. The focus visiting team noted in its report that while Northwest had made acceptable progress in terms of governance and planning, the assessment plan remained unacceptable.
1995 Northwest submitted a new assessment plan, which North Central subsequently approved, and the College had met its accreditation obligations through 2001.
2001 North Central granted Northwest accreditation status, describing Northwest's 2000-2001 self-study as "evaluative and comprehensive."
  • In North Central's report, evaluators noted that Northwest had "attempted to address the concerns of the 1990-91 comprehensive team and the 1994 focus visit team, even though more progress is needed in institutional planning." A progress report was requested for submission in the summer of 2002 in which the College re-evaluated its strategic plan. In 2002, the planning progress report was submitted and accepted by North Central.
  • The Evaluating Team also made clear the need for the College "to fulfill more aggressively the requirements of NCA for assessment" and requested that a supplemental report be submitted in the summer of 2003. The report was received positively by North Central, and since then, Northwest has worked aggressively to create a campus-wide culture of assessment.
2010 In awarding continuing accreditation to Northwest College on Nov. 17, 2011, the Higher Learning Commission cited four areas of positive observations: NWC’s strong commitment to student learning, responsiveness and good working relationship with the community, dynamic residential life program, and well-resourced creativeness in making sure students continue their education. Areas for improvement, which the HLC visiting team said were no surprise because they all “came across in your honest self-study evaluation,” included shared governance, development of planning, integration and implementation in various planning processes, and better data utilization in decision making. The visit culminated four years of research, information gathering, analysis and writing of a lengthy self-study report. The HLC followed up in 2013 with a focused campus visit on planning and budget. During that visit, NWC presented a monitoring report on progress in student learning assessment.