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Reflections – HLC Annual Conference 2017

I wanted to share with you reflections from several of the faculty and staff who attended the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) 2017 Annual Conference recently held in Chicago. As you will read, there was substantial personal and organizational learning.

My most important take away is that I’m pleased we’ve already established many practices that make our accreditation process easier: tying the college’s mission, values, and strategic goals to the HLC core criteria; engaging in high-impact practices to ensure student success, etc. Now it is simply a matter of better communicating these successes to our community. – Denise Digianfilippo

Challenges with 4b (assessment of student learning outcomes) are not closing the loop, not completing full cycles of assessment, major programs not participating, and one we need to work on, not assessing co-curricular programs. – Christine Tabone

The sessions I attended helped me to understand, holistically, how we are all united in helping our students achieve their goal to become life-long learners. It’s a much more complex system than I previously understood. Specifically, obtaining more assessment data from our faculty and gaining a better picture of how out-of-class assessments are linked to the general education learning outcomes. – Paula Crossman

According to Tom Bordenkircher, Vice President for Accreditation Relations, HLC, the criteria most commonly met with concern or not met were 4B (31.5%) – assessment – which suggests colleges have difficulty demonstrating that data/information is used to improve learning, that methodologies reflect good practice, or that there is substantial participation. PVCC will need to determine what substantial participation means and identify the most compelling evidence that shows we use assessment information to make changes at both curricular and co-curricular levels. – Felicia Ramirez

Next to assessment Retention is probably the topic I heard most talked about at HLC.  This is an extremely important area for focus.  It is important that everyone understands that Retention belongs to the COLLEGE as a whole not just a handful of departments.  – Kathaerine Johnson

…it seems to be time for institutions across the country to inspect their culture as it relates to free expression on campuses. I was reminded during the keynote by Geoffrey Stone, of a fundamental skill that higher-learning institutions are charged with –  development of the skills that enable citizens to argue and criticize views they find are unwise, offensive or even immoral, and the ability to recognize freedom of expression that allows others to hold and voice such views unimpeded. – Heather Nothum

We will soon be re-engaging our HLC Steering Team in order to effectively move through the Open Pathways process. Look for more information before the end of the semester.


HLC Conference 2017

Greetings from Chicago,

For the past several days, PVCC has been well represented at the 2017 Annual Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Conference. John Snelling, Felicia Ramirez, Paula Crossman, Heather Nothum, Michaelle Shadburne, Denise Digianfilippo, Christine Tabone, Jon Storslee and Kathaerine Johnson have been actively engaged in learning what is new in the world of accreditation.

As a complement to the many sessions, several conference-wide themes emerged: a) in the context of persistence and completion, quantitative evidence is no longer sufficient – the quality of the student experience especially once they leave our college is key; b) an emphasis on greater organizational/system linkages – i.e. between academic and student affairs, between assessment plans and college strategic plans, college and community partners; and c) a recurring question – What matters most for student success and learning?.

Additionally what the team learned will guide us as we prepare for the next three critical steps in our continued journey to maintain our accreditation: a) living as an ongoing learning-centered college through the realization of the HLC Core Components, b) preparing to write our Assurance Report, and c) laying the foundation for the Quality Initiative project.

Next week, look for insights on the Conference from the team

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