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HACC moves through accreditation warning process

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Placed on an accreditation warning in November, Harrisburg Area Community College remains in that status but can expect the Middle States Commission on Higher Education's action on a newly completed monitoring report in the next several months.

MSCHE did not disclose the findings of the monitoring report but noted that it has received HACC's request to increase the number of clock hours required for its massage therapy post-secondary certificate program. HACC remains accredited while on warning, but to have its accreditation reaffirmed, it must prove compliance with three standards out of the 14 MSCHE measures: Institutional assessment, assessment of general education and assessment of student learning.

In June, MSCHE requested that the monitoring report also address a fourth standard, the periodic assessment of the effectiveness of institutional leadership and governance.

According to MSCHE, when it warns an institution, it believes that, although the institution is out of compliance, the institution has the capacity both to make appropriate improvements within a reasonable period and to sustain itself in the long term. The monitoring report is required to demonstrate that the institution has made appropriate improvements to bring itself into compliance, and a small team visit also is conducted to verify institutional status and progress.

In a July news release, HACC said steps it completed to have the warning removed include the following:

• Engaging two educational consultants, both of whom have experience assisting other colleges in removing their warnings, to lead and manage the effort to remove HACC's warning status.

• Acquiring the software license for, designed and implemented the TK20 Assessment Management System to enable the college to comprehensively aggregate and interconnect existing and new documentation of assessment and institutional effectiveness in a platform that accommodates a wide scope of users and activities.

• Forming a collegewide task force that has created the college's Institutional Effectiveness Plan and revised administrative procedures, which have been approved by cabinet in accordance with the new shared governance process.

"Teams throughout the college are making significant and on-target progress toward achieving compliance," HACC President John J. "Ski" Sygielski said at that time.

According to HACC, the monitoring report is to be followed by a small team visit, and the entire assessment findings will be considered by the commission "as early as December."

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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