Kishwaukee College has completed the first major step toward reaccreditation as a higher education institution. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has reviewed the College’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) Systems portfolio and determined no additional requirements are needed at this point. This is the best possible outcome for this stage of the reaccreditation process, as almost half of all Illinois HLC accredited institutions have had additional follow-up required.
The HLC accredits colleges and universities in a 19-state region of the United States. Accreditation is required for institutions to receive and distribute federal financial aid and other federal funds. The Accreditation Pathway’s main emphasis is to help institutions achieve continuous quality improvement by focusing on six areas: helping students learn; meeting student and other key stakeholder needs; valuing employees; planning and leading; knowledge management and resource stewardship; and quality overview. Kish submitted the AQIP Systems portfolio, which describes the processes, results, and improvements of these six categories, to the HLC in July 2018. Reaccreditation is required every eight years.
The College received their feedback from the HLC in October, 2018. The Systems Portfolio is appraised by a team of HLC peer reviewers, who provide feedback on the College’s strengths and determine opportunities for improvement. The College had a 100 percent increase in the number of clear ratings and an 83 percent decrease in the number of unclear ratings since the 2013 review.
“Feedback such as this provides an excellent opportunity to address challenges presented and further work on our goal of continuous quality improvement,” said Barbara Leach, Associate Dean for Accreditation, Assessment and Grants. She noted, “Kishwaukee College is proud the appraisal team recognized the ‘obvious energy and enthusiasm’ present in our portfolio.
In the upcoming steps towards reaccreditation, a comprehensive site visit will be held at Kish on April 22-23, 2019. During this visit, the peer review team will be on campus to speak with members of the Kish community and to review, clarify and confirm the content of the College’s Systems portfolio. During this time, the College will be able to clarify any questions and comments expressed in the Systems Appraisal. Leach said, “we have made great strides since our 2013 review and look forward to demonstrating that to our peer review team.” Additionally, in preparation for the site visit, the College will be publishing a request for stakeholders to submit feedback and comments directly to the HLC in early January.
To view Kish’s AQIP Systems Portfolio and appraisal, visit www.kish.edu/hlc. For more information, contact Barbara Leach at email@example.com or 815-825-9666.