MCTC is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting agencies in the U.S. As stated by HLC, “Regional accreditation validates the quality of an institution as a whole and evaluates multiple aspects of an institution ranging from its academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources.”
The HLC has three “pathways” an institution can follow to demonstrate institutional quality. All pathways require institutions to show that they meet the Criteria for Accreditation.
The five Criteria for Accreditation
- Criterion One. Mission: The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
- Criterion Two. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct. The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
- Criterion Three. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support. The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
- Criterion Four. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement. The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
- Criterion Five. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness. The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.
Academic Quality Improvement Program
In addition, MCTC is a participant in HLC’s Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) pathway. AQIP infuses the principles of continuous quality improvement and systems thinking into the academic culture. The categories provide a framework for examining key processes while ensuring energy and resources are invested in ways that help achieve institutional goals.
- Category One: Helping Students Learn focuses on the design, deployment, and effectiveness of teaching-learning processes (and on the processes required to support them) that underlie the institution’s credit and non-credit programs and courses.
- Category Two: Meeting Student and Other Key Stakeholder Needs addresses the key processes (separate from instructional programs and internal support services) through which the institution serves its external stakeholders in support of its mission.
- Category Three: Valuing Employees explores the institution’s commitment to the hiring, development, and evaluation of faculty, staff, and administrators.
- Category Four: Planning and Leading focuses on how the institution achieves its mission and lives its vision through direction setting, goal development, strategic actions, threat mitigation, and capitalizing on opportunities.
- Category Five: Knowledge Management and Resource Stewardship addresses management of the fiscal, physical, technological, and information infrastructures designed to provide an environment in which learning can thrive.
- Category Six: Quality Overview focuses on the Continuous Quality Improvement culture and infrastructure of the institution. This category gives the institution a chance to reflect on all its quality improvement initiatives, how they are integrated, and how they contribute to improvement of the institution.
A key component of meeting AQIP Pathway requirements includes submitting a Systems Portfolio. The Portfolio provides an institution with the opportunity to highlight how it uses processes and systems to achieve institutional goals. In November 2015, MCTC submitted its third Systems Portfolio to the Higher Learning Commission. In 2016, a team of seven peer reviewers provided feedback on the Portfolio and identified areas of improvement within the six AQIP categories and for meeting the Criteria for Accreditation.
Comprehensive Quality Review Visit
Throughout the 2016-2017 Academic Year, MCTC will provide opportunities for employees and students to learn more about accreditation and MCTC’s upcoming Comprehensive Quality Review Visit March 20-22, 2017. Download the Comprehensive Quality Review Visit FAQ