Southern State Community College has earned continued accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the organization tasked with accreditation responsibilities for post-secondary institutions in the central United States.
“This reaffirmation confirms and recognizes the outstanding quality operation of Southern State Community College,” said Dr. Kevin Boys, SSCC president. “We are both honored and proud that the commission has recognized us for meeting rigorous standards for accreditation including fulfilling our mission, institutional integrity and effectiveness, and academic quality.”
In a letter dated Feb. 12, 2016, HLC President Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley shared that the Institutional Actions Council of the HLC recommended continued accreditation with interim monitoring, and the next Reaffirmation of Accreditation visit was scheduled for 2025-26. This action was taken following a comprehensive review and site visit from the commission in November 2015.
“While we do have some follow-up work with assessment and student retention and completion, I couldn’t be more pleased with this outcome and I applaud the exceptional work that contributes to this kind of distinction on a daily basis,” said Boys. “Accreditation visits, while a singular event, represent a comprehensive evaluation of the institution and our practices, procedures, and outcomes over time. In short, luck plays no role in this – either the institution measures up or it doesn’t.”
Regional accreditation assures quality by verifying that the institution meets threshold standards and is engaged in continuous improvement. The HLC offers various pathways for accreditation including the Standard and Open Pathway as well as the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).
“As part of our review, the commission was also making a determination about our pathway option. We were delighted to learn that the review affirmed our eligibility to select our desired pathway. Southern State has opted to continue on the Open Pathway,” Boys said.
The Open Pathway model features a 10-year cycle focusing on both assurance and improvement reviews. Participation in this pathway is determined on a number of factors including the institution’s present condition and past relationship with the HLC.
Preparation for accreditation review is on ongoing process yet escalates in priority as reports are due and site visits are scheduled.
“I extend deep appreciation to the team which convened under the leadership of Dr. Ryan McCall and Dr. Nicole Roades,” Boys said. “These folks were instrumental in coordinating our written response to the commission’s criterion and also ensuring that the college was well-represented during the site visit.”
Kris Cross is the director of public relations at Southern State Community College.