A coordinated effort that involved nearly every Coconino Community College faculty and staff member, hundreds of hours of writing, reflection of the past 10 years, and input from over one hundred community members is what it took for the Higher Learning Commission to grant Coconino Community College continued accreditation.
The final word came from the High Learning Commission (HLC), effective Feb. 22, 2012, indicating that the College has maintained its accredited status. The College was first granted accreditation by the commission in 1996, and then reapproved in 2002.
"The work that everyone, including our District Governing Board put into the project and improvements that have been made to our learning programs during the past 10 years is something we and our constituents in Coconino County can be very proud of," said Dr. Leah L. Bornstein, President of Coconino Community College.
The HLC accreditation is a voluntary national designation sought out by higher education institutes across the U.S. to demonstrate accountability and quality of services to the communities they serve. The designation is required to be recognized as a credible learning institute by the federal government. In order to maintain accreditation, an institute must undergo a comprehensive evaluation process every ten years.
"Continuing accreditation is a thorough four-step process that includes an extensive self-evaluation study and an on-site peer review that involves interviews with almost every staff and faculty member at the College," added Dr. Bornstein, "Retaining our accreditation not only shows that the College continues to exceed curriculum and quality standards, but is also providing residents and students with superior education services."
To initiate the process, Coconino Community College first conducted a yearlong self-evaluation study in 2010, which was assembled into a 400-page report and submitted to HLC. Following the study, the commission conducted a three-day on-site visit during November 2011, where HLC consultants meet with various constituent groups including the District Governing Board, Foundation Board, students, faculty, community members and assessment and strategic planning committees.
HLC is a non-governmental, private corporation, and one of two commission members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), which was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States.