HLC Campus Visit
2022 Higher Learning Commission Comprehensive Evaluation of Independence Community College
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits degree-granting, post-secondary educational institutions in a region that includes 19 states. A full review of accreditation is conducted every ten years. During the ten-year cycle, HLC conducts a mid-point evaluation in year four. The next evaluation of Independence Community College (ICC) occurs this spring, with a site visit April 11-12, 2022. This is a year four mid-point evaluation. To prepare for this visit, the College will submit an Assurance Argument demonstrating our compliance with the criteria for accreditation in March 2022.
As a part of the preparations for the HLC review process, our students participated in a survey in February 2022. You can view those results here.
ICC has been accredited since 1957 and received the last full reaffirmation of accreditation in 2018. ICC’s next reaffirmation will occur in 2028.
On April 11 and 12, 2022, a peer review team from HLC will visit ICC. Peer review in accreditation is based on the fundamental assumption that quality in higher education is best served when peers in higher education, informed by standards created and applied by professionals in higher education, make team-based judgements about institutional quality using multiple types of evidence. Reviewers are peers – faculty, staff, and administrators – from other HLC-accredited institutions.
The Campus Visit
Prior to visiting ICC, the peer review teams spend several weeks reviewing the Assurance Argument and supporting evidence to identify discussion topics. These topics will be reviewed during meetings with individuals and groups during the visit. In addition to the materials provided by ICC, the peer review team will review student input provided through a survey administered by HLC six weeks prior to the campus visit.
A review team from HLC will visit campus April 11 and 12, 2022. They will meet with various programs and departments, individuals and groups (including open forums with faculty, staff, and students). Specific meetings will be posted, but we can expect that the team will hold meetings with specific individuals, in addition to open meetings.
ICC will continue the process that begins on the last day of the campus visit, which will continue for several weeks. This process includes:
- The peer review team works together to prepare a draft report.
- The draft report is sent to ICC for review and to correct any errors of fact.
- The peer review team prepares a final report of its findings and recommendations for Comprehensive Evaluation.
- The College receives a copy of the final report and has an opportunity to provide a formal written response to HLC (this response becomes part of the official record of evaluation).
- HLC reviews the final report and the College’s response.
- HLC communicates to ICC in writing when the review process is completed and final action by the HLC has been determined.
Campus Visit FAQ
HLC is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. As one of six regional associations that accredit schools, HLC’s territory spans 19 states, from West Virginia to Arizona and from Minnesota to Arkansas.
While many academic agencies accredit particular programs of study (education, nursing, business, etc.), HLC and other regional accrediting agencies are responsible for assuring that entire colleges and universities meet certain standards in terms of their missions, operations, and activities in teaching and student learning, discovery and promotion of knowledge, and service.
Accreditation is an assurance to the public that an institution is properly prepared to do its job. On a more practical level, the HLC and the other accrediting agencies have been designated as the "gatekeepers" for federal funds in higher education, including student financial aid. In addition, students wishing to transfer credits and degrees between institutions must generally do so from accredited schools. Unaccredited schools are not eligible for many kinds of federal support and other institutions will not recognize its courses or degrees. For more information, visit the HLC website.
HLC has recently adopted a new set of criteria for evaluation. The five Criteria for Accreditation are:
- Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
- Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
- Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
- Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
The campus will be visited by a peer review team of administrators, staff, and faculty. All reviewers receive extensive training from HLC. Most reviewers will be experienced.
The team will already have received ICC’s Assurance Argument as well as materials from previous HLC reviews of the College. During the visit, they will seek to validate the content of the Assurance Argument in terms of the strengths we have declared and data that support them, as well as concerns that need attention or issues that may confront us in the future.
Team members will hold virtual meetings with key individuals and groups from across the campus and will have open meetings that are less structured. These meetings are designed to allow the team to ask questions that they may still have after reviewing our Assurance Argument and better help them in making a determination about the College’s accreditation status.
The HLC review team will write a report that addresses the five criteria for accreditation and send a draft to the campus a few weeks after the visit. The team will note the components that have and have not been met and any qualifications or concerns. After receiving the draft, the President will have a chance to correct factual errors, and the final report will be submitted to the HLC no more than nine weeks after the visit.
The team may determine that all criteria have been met with no recommended follow-up activities before the next scheduled visit. If there are criteria in which the institution has not fully met, there is a range of possible actions, including required progress reports on how the institution is dealing with particular issues and monitoring reports that include additional visits by more review teams. HLC staff estimate that 85% of institutions will have some kind of activity required.
ICC must review the report, both for the validation of the things that we are doing well and for advice about ways in which we can improve what we are doing. Particular issues may be referred to committees and/or departments for examination and action.
If follow-up action is required by HLC, ICC must show that it is addressing the issues identified by the peer review team.
We hope to receive confirmation that the College's major projects to ensure student success and equity are on the right track and that we are meeting the obligations of our mission to provide a quality education to students. We also hope to receive recommendations on additional activities that may assist us in better meeting our mission.
We sent an HLC bulletin each Wednesday leading up to the HLC visit. These bulletins provided information to help students, faculty and staff understand the HLC process and each criteria that was used to evaluate ICC.
- Mission and Vision
- College Directories
- Campus Map
- College Calendar
This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.