What is it and why is it important?
Accreditation is a voluntary peer review process that helps colleges and universities to critically evaluate their purposes and how effectively those purposes are being accomplished.
Accreditation is vital to SMCC because it …
- Certifies the quality and integrity of SMCC’s programs and services.
- Enables students to obtain financial aid and veteran’s services.
- Allows students to transfer credits to other accredited colleges and universities.
- Empowers the college to participate in projects funded by federal grants.
- Ensures that the college can recruit and retain quality faculty and staff.
South Mountain Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and is a member of the North Central Association (NCA).
South Mountain Community College is an active participant in the HLC Open Pathways process for Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2019-20, having received full reaffirmation by the Higher Learning Commission in 2009. The Open Pathways model is focused on two processes:
- Each year we participate in the Assurance Review process by uploading a variety of materials relevant to its processes that serve as appropriate evidence that South Mountain is pursuing and achieving the five Criteria for Accreditation and the Core Components as determined by the HLC. In 2019-20, we will provide a comprehensive report that references this evidence. The evaluation process concludes with a visit from a panel of peer reviewers.
- The second process is Quality Initiative project that, in our timeline, is proposed, approved, conducted and reported between Fall 2014 and Spring 2019. This project is a major improvement effort that “should suit the institution’s present concerns or aspirations.”
What are the Assurance Review Criteria?
The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
Criterion Two—Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
Criterion Three—Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
Criterion Four—Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
Criterion Five—Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.
Further details including the Core Components of each Criterion are available at http://www.ncahlc.org/Information-for-Institutions/criteria-and-core-components.html.