Higher Learning Commission Accreditation

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HLC peer review team visiting Inver Hills March 20–22, 2017

Inver Hills Community College is committed to continual quality improvement in providing a superb educational experience to our students. That commitment is sustained and validated by the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), an accreditation pathway of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). AQIP focuses on quality assurance and institutional improvement with the added emphasis of helping institutions achieve ongoing advancements in their programs and mission. The AQIP pathway follows an eight-year cycle. Inver Hills was admitted to AQIP on Nov. 22, 2002.

Q & A with Vice President Christina Royal

Christina Royal, Ph.D., vice president of academic affairs and provost at the college, sat down with Inver Hills News to explain the HLC Accreditation process and the importance of the HLC peer review team visit to the college’s Inver Grove Heights campus in March 2017.

IHN: What is the Higher Learning Commission?
Dr. Royal: Founded in 1895, the HLC is an independent corporation that accredits degree-granting, postsecondary educational institutions in 19 states in the North Central region of the U.S., including Minnesota. The HLC relies on the Peer Review Corps, a volunteer group of more than a thousand academic professionals who share their knowledge and expertise in pursuit of higher educational excellence.

Christina Royal, Ph.D.
Christina Royal, Ph.D.

IHN: What is AQIP?
Dr. Royal: The Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) is one pathway leading to reaffirmation of accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). AQIP adheres to the principles of continuous quality improvement. The pathway’s various processes and requirements are designed to assist Inver Hills in achieving quality improvement while reaffirming our accredited status with the HLC. Inver Hills has reached the end of the AQIP eight-year cycle and is undergoing a Comprehensive Quality Review (CQR).

IHN: What is the purpose of the CQR?
Dr. Royal: The review is part of a broader comprehensive evaluation to ensure Inver Hills is meeting the Criteria for Accreditation as the college pursues institutional improvement and complies with specific requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education. The CQR leads to an action regarding the reaffirmation of the college’s accreditation. An HLC peer review team will be visiting our campus March 20–22, 2017.

IHN: Why is HLC Regional Accreditation important?
Dr. Royal: Here are four crucial reasons: 1) Accreditation assesses and ensures through peer review that Inver Hills delivers academic programs of high quality; 2) Accreditation expects comprehensive involvement of faculty and staff in our college’s planning and evaluation; 3) Accreditation eases transfer of credits from one regionally accredited institution to another; 4) Accreditation qualifies Inver Hills to participate in Title IV funding (financial aid) for students.

IHN: What else should students, faculty, staff and community members know about the HLC Accreditation process?
Dr. Royal:
Reaffirming our college’s accreditation gives us the opportunity to showcase the great work happening at Inver Hills. Our staff and faculty are dedicated to delivering the power and promise of education to our students.

Inver in the news

  • HLCInver Hills and DCTC awarded $3.2 million Title III Grant
  • Inver Hills ranked #7 nationally by Washington Monthly Best Colleges for Adult Learners
  • Inver Hills ranked #6 nationally on Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 for Two-Year Schools
  • Inver Hills ranked #25 nationally on Value College Top 50 Best Value Community Colleges of 2016

Inver Hills

Notice for Public Comment

Inver Hills Community College is seeking comments from the public about the college in preparation for its periodic evaluation by its regional accrediting agency. The college will host a visit March 20–22, 2017, with a team representing the Higher Learning Commission. Inver Hills Community College has been accredited by HLC since 1976. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. All comments must be received by February 20, 2017.

For more information about HLC Regional Accreditation at Inver Hills Community College, contact:

Carrie Schneider
Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

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