For release: July 8, 2014
WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) has been reaccredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association with its next Reaffirmation of Accreditation not scheduled to occur again until 2024.
“HLC accreditation is our primary way of ensuring and advancing the quality of higher education and technical training we provide, comparing ourselves to our peers,” said Sheree Utash, Vice President of Academic Affairs.
“HLC Accreditation is a validation that the things we are doing as a college are up-to-par with colleges and universities across the Midwest,” said Dr. Scott Lucas, Director of Institutional Research. “No matter if you are attending Notre Dame or WATC, we are held to the same standards of higher education practices.”
WATC first received its accreditation from HLC in 2008 and has been preparing for this reaccreditation since 2011. After three years of preparation, WATC’s HLC site visit took place in February of 2014.
“HLC accreditation is the seal of approval that brings us legitimacy as a postsecondary institution,” said Pam Doyle, Dean of General Education. “In the big picture, it allows our courses to transfer and provides assurance to students that WATC is a viable option for the investment of their time and money. On a more personal scale, HLC accreditation is a source of pride for those employees who have contributed so much to the growth and evolution of the college over the past several years.”
“Additionally, accreditation allows our students to be eligible for federal student financial aid and for our programs to be provided to military students,” Utash said. “It also offers important validation for the college as it makes requests for public support.”
As part of the reaccreditation process, WATC conducted a rigorous self-study. Topics included mission, integrity, teaching and learning, resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.
“No other project at the college takes three years and the work of almost every single employee to accomplish,” Lucas said. “Literally, thousands of documents were used to demonstrate to the commission that we are doing what we say we are doing up to their expectations. Countless hours were spent to be reaccredited.”
Additionally, it’s an opportunity to recognize and celebrate how far this college has come as well as the bright future that awaits.
“I’m very proud of all that WATC has accomplished in recent history,” Doyle said. “This is a much different college than it was six years ago.”
Additionally, WATC is a Kansas Board of Regents Institution.