In 2019-2020, South Mountain Community College engaged in the process of reaffirming accreditation with the HLC via the Open Pathway. This process separates the continued accreditation process into two components: the Assurance Review and the Quality Initiative defined below.

Assurance Review

The assurance review process requires the college to provide evidence and write an Assurance Argument that addresses the HLC’s criteria for accreditation. This narrative is supported by the Evidence File. Two assurance reviews will take place in the 10-year cycle; one in Year 4 and one in Year 10. The Year 4 review is completed electronically through the Assurance System and does not require a visit. The Year 10 review includes a campus visit.

Quality Initiative

Between Years 5 and 9 of the 10-year cycle, the Assurance Argument is submitted to the HLC via the Assurance System. The Assurance System is a web-based technology that institutions use to provide the argument and evidentiary materials. The Assurance Argument is organized by the Criteria and its Core Components. For each Criterion, the institution offers:

  • Criterion Introduction
  • An articulation of how each Core Component within the Criterion is met, including a statement of future plans
  • A statement regarding any additional ways in which the institution fulfills the Criterion
  • Links to materials stored in the institution’s Evidence File

The Evidence File is an electronic filing cabinet where all documents that support statements made in the Assurance Argument are maintained. Each document must be linked directly to the Assurance Argument. When the Assurance Argument and Evidence File are submitted for review, peer reviewers will be able to access the argument as well as supporting evidence in order to provide feedback.