JWCC Trustees hear report on Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation

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John Wood Community College Board of Trustees received notification of approval from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of the reaffirmation of accreditation at its regular meeting Wednesday.

The college has earned a full 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation from the HLC. Accreditation is the formal recognition of the quality of an educational institution, granted by HLC based on a systemic evaluation of the institution, including ethics, teaching and learning, resources and compliance with the United States Department of Education’s requirements for federal financial aid eligibility.

“To achieve a 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation confirms the College is on the right track and that we are meeting the obligations of our mission to provide a quality education to students,” said JWCC President Bryan Renfro. “Reaffirmation is an arduous yet rewarding process, and I am impressed by the collaboration of JWCC faculty, staff and leadership to achieve this milestone. I am honored to have stepped in after the fact to be part of the team and chart the next course as we continue to improve and provide students the opportunity to pursue their hopes and dreams.”

The reaccreditation process offers a unique opportunity to celebrate what John Wood is doing well and to recognize the College is exceeding expectations in many areas. It was noted that one of the strengths is students appreciate faculty and staff flexibility and availability in support of their academic and career goals. Additionally, support is strong from community members and advisory committees, and the College’s commitment to accessible education and lifelong learning.

At the same time, as with any audit, it allows opportunities to examine improvement areas. For example, the commission recommends strengthening of the college-wide assessment process to include longitudinal assessment data and the application of it for improving course, program and institutional learning outcomes. 

Faculty and staff across the College participated in the accreditation process overseen by Vice President of Instruction Dr. Laurel Klinkenberg and Dean of Business Services and Institutional Effectiveness Josh Welker. JWCC has been accredited since 1980 and its next reaffirmation of accreditation will take place in 2032-2033.

Trustees also heard a report on JWCC’s Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), the official honor society of community colleges. PTK Advisors, JWCC English Instructor Jennifer Grindstaff and JWCC Advising and Retention Specialist Madeline Davis gave an update about PTK and Alpha Tau Gamma.

PTK, an international honors organization with more than 900 chapters, recognizes academic achievement at the community college level. The Alpha Tau Gamma chapter at John Wood was chartered in 1991 and meets throughout the year to work on fundraisers, scholarships, leadership, service and fellowship projects. At John Wood, Phi Theta Kappa has the following membership requirements: a student must have completed twelve semester hours of associate degree work, maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 and be currently enrolled in classes at JWCC. Students are recognized with special regalia at annual graduation ceremonies.

In other business, the Board:

  • Authorized submission of a $5,000 grant application to the United Way of Adams County for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Support Grant.
  • Approved tenure for full-time faculty member Ms. Jamie Chapman Instructor of Natural Sciences, effective at the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year.
  • Accepted a $218,538.86 bid from Conference Technology to provide audio-visual equipment for the Workforce Development Center.

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