After an intensive two-year self-study process, WATC prepares to welcome members of the Higher Learning Commission’s expert review team
Wichita, Kan. – Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) begins a three-day reaccreditation site visit from a Higher Learning Commission (HLC) review team on February 24, 2014. WATC has been accredited by the HLC since 2008 and has been preparing for review and reaccreditation since 2011 (ncahlc.org)
The college has undertaken a thorough and comprehensive self-study to examine and analyze its processes and procedures and to provide evidence on five criteria for accreditation.
“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, WATC Vice President of Academic Affairs and HLC Self-Study Coordinator and Steering Committee Co-Chair.
“HLC accreditation also allows our students to be eligible for federal student financial aid and for our programs to be provided to military students. It also offers important validation for the college as it makes requests for public support,” Utash said.
To assist WATC in the evaluation of each criterion, a team of expert reviewers will immerse itself in WATC’s operations to better understand institutional strengths and opportunities for improvement.
On February 24-26, five HLC team members will evaluate the College’s practices, visit with students, interview staff and gather information.
“The team visit is a unique experience in which evaluators from other college campuses assess WATC on a set of criteria established by the Higher Learning Commission,” said Scott Lucas, WATC Director of Institutional Research and HLC Steering Committee Co-Chair. “The time the team is here allows WATC to show off what we are doing well and share an opportunity to learn from the members of the team in order to improve the college,” Lucas said.
The five primary focus areas of WATC’s 2014 Self-Study are:
Criterion 1 – Mission
Criterion 2 – Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
Criterion 3 – Teaching and Learning: Quality Resources and Support
Criterion 4 – Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
Criterion 5 – Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness
Multiple in-service sessions were conducted in January to familiarize faculty and staff with the requirements of the upcoming site visit. Over the past three years, the college has enjoyed reaccreditation contributions from faculty and employees in all divisions and at all levels. Dozens of committees and a large percentage of employees have contributed to the writing, editing and final review of the college’s 2014 Self-Study.
“In less than a month we will welcome important visitors to our college who will help WATC with two important goals: assuring the quality of our programs and processes and assisting us in championing the purpose and future of WATC,” said Utash.
Additionally, it’s an opportunity to recognize and celebrate how far this college has come as well as the bright future that awaits.
For more information about WATC’s reaccreditation process and to read the 2014 Self-Study, visit www.watc.edu/accreditation.