Accreditation Update

GOCC’s Accreditation Process

In October 2014, Glen Oaks Community College received notification of the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) reaffirmation of the College’s accreditation. The College earned this reaffirmation under the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).

An aerial view of the main Glen Oaks building.

At that time, the HLC gave Glen Oaks the option to switch pathways for accreditation. Glen Oaks was given the option to stay with AQIP or to change to the Open Path-way or the Standard Pathway. The College Council made the decision to move to the Standard Pathway of accreditation.

So what does that mean? It means that the college is no longer focused on action projects and writing a systems portfolio. In its place, the college will create a living evidence file to demonstrate how the college is addressing the Five Criteria of Accreditation. This evidence file is maintained at all times and updated as needed. Institutions submit an annual Institutional Update that is reviewed by the HLC. This annual update is a by-product of the evidence file and must address any previous areas of concern noted in the latest site visit report.

The Standard Pathway follows a ten year cycle with comprehensive site visits from a peer review team in years four and ten. Similar to the site visits under the AQIP model of accreditation, these site visits are meant to ensure that the college is meeting expectations for all Criteria for Accreditation, pursuing institutional improvement and complying with federal regulations. The year ten evaluation leads to an action regarding the reaffirmation of the institution’s accreditation.

The Standard Pathway

The Standard Pathway seeks to achieve the following goals:

  • Enhance institutional value by focusing on quality assurance and institutional improvement.
  • Reduce the reporting burden on institutions by utilizing as much information and data as possible from existing institutional processes and collecting them in electronic form as they naturally occur over time.
  • Enhance rigor by checking institutional data annually and conducting Comprehensive Evaluations twice during a ten-year cycle.
  • Integrate as much as possible all HLC processes and HLC requests for data into the reaffirmation of accreditation cycle.


The Five Criteria for Accreditation

The Standard Pathway, as in all HLC Pathway models, ensures that institutions are in compliance with the Five Criteria for Accreditation:

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly and guides the institution’s operations.

The institution acts with integrity and its conduct is ethical and responsible.

The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

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.

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.

Each of the Five Criterion are broken down further into multiple core components. It is the responsibility of the institution to demonstrate that we are effectively addressing each of the criterion and the core components within.

An aerial view of the front entrance and main building of Glen Oaks.

Glen Oak’s Mission Statement
The mission of Glen Oaks Community College is to provide quality educational programs that meet the life-long learning needs of its students and the communities it serves.

Criterion One: Mission
The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.

Core Components for Criterion One

1.A. The institution’s mission is broadly understood within the institution and guides its operations.

  • The mission statement is developed through a process suited to the nature and culture of the institution and is adopted by the governing board.
  • The institution’s academic programs, student support services, and enrollment profile are consistent with its stated mission.
  • The institution’s planning and budgeting priorities align with and support the mission.

1.B. The mission is articulated publicly.

  • The institution clearly articulates its mission through one or more public documents, such as statements of purpose, vision, values, goals, plans, or institutional priorities.
  • The mission document or documents are current and explain the extent of the institution’s emphasis on the various aspects of its mission, such as instruction, scholarship, research, application of research, creative works, clinical service, public service, economic development, and religious or cultural purpose.
  • The mission document or documents identify the nature, scope, and intended constituents of the higher education programs and services the institution provides.

1.C. The institution understands the relationship between its mission and the diversity of society.

  • The institution addresses its role in a multicultural society.
  • The institution’s processes and activities reflect attention to human diversity as appropriate within its mission and for the constituencies it serves.

1.D. The institution’s mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.

  • Actions and decisions reflect an understanding that in its educational role the institution serves the public, not solely the institution, and thus entails a public obligation.
  • The institution’s educational responsibilities take primacy over other purposes, such as generating financial returns for investors, contributing to a related or parent organization, or supporting external interests.
  • The institution engages with its identified external constituencies and communities of interest and responds to their needs as its mission and capacity allow.


Assessment Academy

A mornig scenic view of the main drive to the Glen Oaks campus.

Glen Oaks Community College was recently accepted into the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) 2016 Fall Cohort of the Assessment Academy. This is a four year commitment on the part of the College to develop an ongoing project to improve assessment practices and heighten student learning with the guidance of a HLC Mentor and a HLC Scholar.

Participating in the Assessment Academy provides institutions with new ideas and techniques for influencing culture, improving assessment practices and increasing capacity to complete those assessments. Institutions have the benefit of direct guidance and consultation from the HLC and developing a collaboration network with peer institutions.

The Assessment Academy team for Glen Oaks is Tammy Russell, Tonya Howden, Rebecca Burch, Alyse Gordon and Tracy Labadie. This team will be working under the guidance of HLC Mentor Gloria Dohman, Associate Vice President (Emerita) at North Dakota State College of Science and Janice Denton, HLC Scholar.

Glen Oaks is one of twelve institutions in the 2016 Fall Cohort. The team will begin to develop an assessment project and an implementation strategy in October at the group’s first Round Table workshop. The Round Table workshops are an opportunity for teams to work with Scholars, Mentors and their peer institutions in a face-to-face setting. These workshops are designed to foster collaboration and provide the resources necessary for teams to strategize effectively.

To learn more about HLC’s Assessment Academies, please visit or contact Tracy Labadie at (269) 294-4238.

Accreditation Update 2016 (PDF)
Accreditation Update 2017 (PDF)