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Higher Learning Commission To Recommend continued accreditation for STLCC

February 25, 2008

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools recently concluded a visit to St. Louis Community College by recommending that the college be granted continued accreditation with the next visit taking place in 2018.


A team of 12 consultant-evaluators, led by team chair Dr. Kim J. Linduska, executive vice president of academic affairs at Des Moines Area Community College, presented the HLC team’s exit report Jan. 30.


"St. Louis Community College is a wonderful institution and is deserving of its reputation as one of the premier community colleges in the nation," Linduska said. "Because you are the link to the future for so many people, you have the opportunity to play an increasingly pivotal and unique role in shaping the future of this city.  Always remember that you make a significant difference in the lives of thousands and thousands of students each year by giving them the tools and the hope to achieve their educational dreams."


Robert Nelson, chair of the STLCC Board of Trustees, said: "We have learned a lot about our institution throughout this process, and the HLC has affirmed that St. Louis Community College lives its mission of expanding minds and changing the lives of our students."


Some key findings identified by the team include:

  • Students believe that the college as a whole and individual staff members have had a dramatic impact on bettering their futures.
  • The college promotes programs and services to assist its ethnically and culturally diverse students, including a commitment to developmental and English as a Second Language programs that address the needs of the regional and international students.
  • The college’s emerging mission-based assessment model links assessment to the strategic planning process, budget preparation and resource allocation.
  • In both new construction and strategic renovation, the college provides excellent facilities for effective learning.
  • Students praised the quality and breadth of the STLCC curriculum, and for the college’s financial and personal investment in students’ success, both in college and in the real world.
  • The college is responsive to community needs through creative workforce development programs, service learning and constituent engagement.

"The accreditation process has given us an opportunity -- individually and collectively -- to define and discover, to develop and demonstrate, and to rejuvenate our zest for the teaching and learning process," said Chancellor Zelema Harris. "We are pleased that the visiting team agreed that St. Louis Community College offers an environment where institutional quality and student learning are evident.  The strengths and challenges identified in this review will serve as a guide for strategic planning as we move the college into the future."


The team recommended a focused visit on academic assessment of student learning.  In lieu of the follow-up visit, STLCC will send a team of representatives to the Academy for Assessment of Student Learning.  The HLC-sponsored academy is a four-year program focused on student learning, targeted at accelerating and advancing efforts to assess and improve student learning and build institution-wide commitment to assessment of student learning.


The two-part accreditation process consisted of preparing a self-study report, followed by a peer review visit by HLC consultant-evaluators. 


The self-study process began in January 2006 and engaged faculty, staff, students and the public in significant conversations about the college’s accountability and ability to provide quality student learning and services based on five criteria.  The five criteria for evaluation were mission and integrity; preparing for the future; student learning and effective teaching; acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge; and engagement and service.  STLCC additionally submitted a request for substantive change in online degree programs that was approved. 


The HLC of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is one of six regional agencies that accredit educational institutions in the United States. In addition to Missouri, the North Central region consists of 18 other states.


Tangible benefits of accreditation include student eligibility for federal loans, Pell Grants and other financial aid; the ability to transfer credit to other accredited institutions; and the ability to attract first-rate faculty and students who want a quality education.


View the NCA exit session summary.