Not only does accreditation scrutinize institutions for quality assurance and quality improvement, it is also used by The United States Department of Education (USDE) to assure that federal student aid funds are purchasing quality courses and programs. Only those institutions that are accredited by a USDE-recognized accrediting organization are eligible to receive federal financial assistance for their students.
Along with enabling students to receive federal financial assistance for their education, accreditation also:
- Allows for credits earned at our institution to be transferred to another institution.
- Confirms the rigor and quality of our courses to ensure that students are receiving a quality education.
In the past, every 10 years SCC would engage in the process of reaffirming accreditation by participating in a self-study and campus visit process. This process was recently updated by the HLC and SCC transitioned to what is known as the HLC Open Pathway, which now requires multiple “touch points” in the 10-year cycle.
To learn more about the Open Pathway to Accreditation process, check out the process tab on this page.
In 2016-2017 SCC will engage 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.
- 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. Two assurance reviews will take place in the ten-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 include a visit. The Year 10 review includes a visit to the campus
- Quality Initiative: Between Years 5 and 9 of the ten-year cycle, the institution proposes and completes a Quality Initiative as an institutional improvement project. Scottsdale Community College has chosen the Unit Improvement Plan/Committee Improvement Plan process as our Quality Initiative project.
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 Assurance Argument and evidentiary materials. The Assurance Argument is organized by the Criteria and their 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.
The goals of the Open Pathway are:
- To enhance institutional value by opening the improvement aspect of accreditation so that institutions may choose Quality Initiatives to suit their current circumstances.
- To reduce the reporting burden on institutions by utilizing as much information and data as possible from existing institutional processes and collecting them in electronic form as they naturally occur over time.
- To enhance rigor by checking institutional data annually (Institutional Update) and conducting an Assurance Review twice in the ten-year cycle.
- To integrate as much as possible all HLC processes and HLC requests for data into the reaffirmation of accreditation cycle.
Jan Gehler, President
Daniel Corr, Vice President Academic and Student Affairs
Laurie Cohen, Director Institutional Research
Paula Livingston, Director Institutional Strategies
Gia Taylor, Dean of Enrollment Services
Marsha Ballard, Library Faculty
Nancy Neff, Executive Director Institutional Advancement and Community Engagement
Miguel Lucas, Counseling Faculty
Stephanie Fujii, Dean of Instruction
Lisa Young, Library Faculty, Center for Teaching and Learning
Terri Blau, Coordinator Enrollment Services
Eric Haas, Social and Behavioral Sciences Faculty
Colleen O’Neill, Director College Business Services
Jim Simpson, Computer Information Services Faculty
Donna Young, Dean of Student Services
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the 19 states of the North Central region, including Arizona.
The Commission is governed by a Board of Trustees elected by the membership and administered by a president selected by and accountable to the Board. The charge of the president is to ensure that through its structure and personnel, the Commission delivers useful and cost-effective services. Actions on affiliated institutions, including receiving or reaffirming accreditation, are taken by decision-making bodies comprised of institutional representatives and public members.
To serve the common good, The Higher Learning Commission creates and maintains relationships with the federal government and other organizations with broader communities dependent on the quality of higher learning received in accredited colleges and universities. The federal government has a distinct interest in the role of accreditation in assuring quality in higher education for the students who benefit from federal financial aid programs. The Commission agrees to fulfill specific federally defined responsibilities within the accreditation process.