TCC’s accreditation has been officially reaffirmed by the Higher Learning Commission. The College was notified just before the holiday break. The results of the vote by the HLC’s Institutional Action Council came almost two months earlier than expected.
The reaffirmation is the result of years of work, but just because the College has had its accreditation reaffirmed does not mean that work ends.
“Accredited status is not for a specific amount of time,” says Paula Settoon, TCC dean of libraries and knowledge management and accreditation liaison officer. “It’s a continuing relationship between the institution and the HLC that is subject to reconsideration periodically or when necessary.”
The review team rated TCC highly overall but were concerned about the College’s student learning assessment practices. A sound assessment infrastructure has been developed, but not yet fully implemented. Therefore, HLC is requiring that TCC provide a comprehensive update regarding assessment practices along with results and actions in 2022 as part of as mid-cycle Assurance Review. Reviewers will not return to campus until 2028-29.
“One of the things they want to see from us in 2022 is how we are using student outcome metrics to make decisions about curriculum and teaching strategies,” says Settoon. “In years five through nine, we’ll have to do a quality improvement project.”
Accreditation is important for a number of reasons, and first among those is being able to qualify students for financial aid, and for students to be able to transfer credit hours to other institutions of higher education. Accreditation is affirmation that TCC operates in the right way, meeting HLC’s criteria and incorporating best practices for students, faculty, staff and the Tulsa community. Accreditation validates the strategic plan and the Guided Pathways work the College has embraced.
“It was most assuredly a team effort,” says Settoon. “Everyone represented the College well, and that was evident in the report our HLC review committee provided.”