HLC report submitted, campus preps for visit

For most students on campus, the Higher Learning Commission report doesn’t ring a bell. However, this report is crucial.
Erin Laudermilk serves as the Sterling College HLC Liaison, and she said the report is
important because the group decides if a college is accredited, and it is broken up by regions. “For the region of the country we’re in, the Higher Learning Commission is our accreditor,”
Laudermilk said. “They have a set of standards called criterion that we have to meet in order to gain their accreditation.”
Accreditation means ensuring a college or university meets certain quality and accountability standards.
This accreditation process takes place fairly frequently on college campuses.
For Sterling, the institution takes the Standard Pathway.
The Higher Learning Commission defines the Standard Pathway as follows: “The Standard
Pathway is one of three options institutions have for maintaining accreditation with HLC. It follows a 10-year cycle and, like all pathways, is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. These improvement topics are integrated into comprehensive evaluations conducted during the cycle, as well as through interim monitoring, as required.”
For Laudermilk, this comprehensive cycle means putting together a 40,000-word report covering how Sterling meets the criterion set by the HLC.
This is called the “Assurance Argument.”
She said she works with teams across campus that include staff and faculty members to complete the report.
For students, there will be three breakout sessions where HLC officers ask students questions concerning where Sterling College can improve and what it is doing well.
All three of these sessions will not have any faculty or staff members in attendance.
It is the goal of the HLC to attain complete honesty from the students, so they require all staff and faculty to leave the room.
The Higher Learning Commission will be on campus on April 6-7.
An email will be sent out to students with more information closer to that date.

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