For immediate release – 7/23/09 Contact: Chuck Brown, Communications, 815-226-3374
Rockford College has been informed that it has earned reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of College and Schools, the region’s agency for higher education institutional accreditation. The college has been accredited continuously by the commission since 1913.
The reaccreditation means the college continues to conform to the association’s high standards in mission and integrity, preparing for the future, student learning and effective teaching, acquisition of knowledge, and engagement and service. The report noted that “since its last comprehensive visit, Rockford College has undergone profound changes and modifications in an effort to achieve important benchmarks in its pursuit of growth, excellence, and stability.”
“We are pleased to once again receive this important reaccreditation from the commission,” said Robert L. Head, college president. “The reaccreditation underscores our commitment to provide a high quality education for our students and provide value to our community. It also shows the commitment of our talented staff and faculty in carrying out the mission of Rockford College.”
In preparation for the visit, college faculty and staff worked for two years on a self-study report in which it analyzed all aspects of the organization in addressing the HLC criteria. The report served as a point of reference for the six-member HLC team that visited the college from February 23-25.
“Our entire college community worked diligently on the self-study, taking an honest, critical look at the college – its strengths, weaknesses, challenges and opportunities,” said Head. “The self-study process, together with the HLC’s recommendations, positions us well for the future.”
According to the HLC report, the college “prepared a self-study that reflected a broad and inclusive approach. The resulting study met the hallmarks of an effective self-study process, was comprehensive, well-written, easily used, and supported by appropriate resource materials.”
In the HLC report, the college received high marks in adhering to its mission to prepare students for participation in a modern and changing society. It stated that “Rockford College recognizes the diversity of its learners, other constituencies, and the greater society it serves. Understanding and support for the mission pervade the organization.”
In the area of teaching and learning, the report was also complimentary. It said interviews with college academic leaders and students all confirm that the college has created an effective learning environment for a diverse group of students. Academic and co-curricular programs give students many opportunities for learning and development. The college has developed a set of learning expectations, has made strides on assessment of student learning, and has upgraded its classroom technology and facilities.
“The hard work and determination of faculty and staff have maintained the quality of services and have continued to enhance student learning,” the report says.
Addressing the college’s finances, the report notes that recent budgetary policies adopted by the board have established a structure to support a culture of accountability and responsibility to the budgeting process. The college has had several years of a balanced budget at the close of the fiscal year.
In the report, the team praised the college for its responsiveness to its students and the community, noting that based on interviews with administrators, faculty, students, staff and alumni, the institution strives to be responsive to both its internal and external constituents. The college has strong ties to the community with more than 800 students annually engaged in community-based learning or volunteer work at local agencies like Carpenter’s Place and the Jubilee Center. It also collaborates with companies like Marsili Consulting and Anderson Packaging to either train employees or provide hands-on learning opportunities for students.
The report also noted the college’s outreach efforts, which serve thousands of area residents annually through graduate and accelerated bachelor’s completion programs, the college’s English Language Institute, Learning Center, Music Academy, and Northern Illinois Center for Nonprofit Excellence.
While there are some challenges ahead for the college, the team reported a general atmosphere of optimism, focused energy, and commitment it found encouraging and impressive.
“Group and individual meetings with over 140 alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, and students have confirmed the team’s conclusion that the college, under the leadership of its current president, is well-suited to address the challenges and opportunities before it,” the report concludes.
Rockford College will undergo another comprehensive HLC visit during the 2015-2016 school year.