The following text is an email sent by Pima Community College Interim Chancellor Suzanne Miles regarding PCC's status with the Higher Learning Commission.
You undoubtedly know that Pima Community College received notification last week regarding a recommendation about our status with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Below is an account of what happened, what’s next and what it means for employees and students.
At the outset we would like to stress PCC’s status has not changed. We remain a fully accredited institution of higher learning and we are not on probation. Our students returned to class today from spring break and, for them, nothing is different. Pima remains a place where our students can acquire a quality education at a reasonable cost.
On Friday afternoon, March 15, the College was e-mailed a letter from Sylvia Manning, president of the HLC, one of several organizations that accredit institutions of higher learning such as PCC. Accompanying the letter was a report by a four-educator HLC fact-finding team that visited PCC on Jan. 17-18. The team was here to look into issues regarding governance, administration and human resources raised by individuals and groups.
PCC’s Governing Board received the HLC letter and report at a publically-noticed meeting on Saturday afternoon. The 30-page report is now under review.
In her letter, Ms. Manning said based on the fact-finding team’s findings and conclusion, she will recommend to the HLC’s Board of Trustees PCC be placed on probation. The HLC Board will decide PCC’s status at its annual meeting early next month.
In accordance with HLC procedure, the College will respond in writing by March 29 to the findings and Ms. Manning’s recommendation. Our response will include corrections to misstatements and errors of fact made in the HLC team report. We also will point out several items have already been addressed. And as we did with the HLC letter and report, we will post our response on the Accreditation page of our website
A common question is, what does probation mean for PCC, should the HLC Board impose it? According to the HLC, probation indicates an institution is not in compliance with the with one or more of the commission’s Criteria for Accreditation <<span style="text-decoration: underline;">http://www.ncahlc.org/Information-for-Institutions/criteria-for-accreditation.html?highlight=WyJjcml0ZXJpYSIsImZvciIsImFjY3JlZGl0YXRpb24iLCJjcml0ZXJpYSBmb3IiLCJjcml0ZXJpYSBmb3IgYWNjcmVkaXRhdGlvbiIsImZvciBhY2NyZWRpdGF0aW9uIl0=> , and must demonstrate within two years it has remedied the issues that led to the sanction. (For more information, consult the HLC’s Special Conditions for Affiliation <<span style="text-decoration: underline;">http://www.ncahlc.org/Information-for-Institutions/special-conditions-for-monitoring.html> webpage.)
Probation would not affect PCC’s ability to offer financial aid to our students. Our academic offerings will remain unchanged. Also, about 20 individual PCC programs areaccredited <<span style="text-decoration: underline;">file:///C:/Users/ckaramargin/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/Content.Outlook/NF36QO1Q/The%20following%20programs%20have%20also%20been%20accredited%20or%20certified%20by%20specialized%20agencies%20recognized%20by%20the%20Arizona%20Department%20of%20Education%20and/or%20the%20U.S.%20Department%20of%20Education:> or certified by specialized agencies recognized by the Arizona Department of Education and/or the U.S. Department of Education. Their status also remains unchanged.
Obviously, our goal is to avoid probation. If, however, probation is imposed, we can use this opportunity to improve the services we provide to our students and the community. We will work diligently to address any area of non-compliance. The HLC reaccredited the College for 10 years in 2010 <<span style="text-decoration: underline;">http://www.pima.edu/about-pima/accreditation/docs/HLC-Comprehensive-Visit-Report-2010.pdf> , and we are confident that we quickly will be able to demonstrate to the HLC accreditation is well-deserved.
Lastly, we want to reassure all Pima employees we are taking this matter very seriously. If you have any questions, we encourage you to attend the upcoming budget presentations at our campuses. We will be available to discuss the HLC report and our response at the beginning of these sessions. (Dates, times and locations are below.) Additionally, please don’t hesitate to direct your questions to either of us, your campus president or any of our vice chancellors.
Dr. Brenda Even & Dr. Suzanne Miles
8:30 a.m. March 21, Maintenance & Security, MS-10
3:30 p.m. March 21, West Campus, Saguaro Room, JG05
3:30 p.m. March 25, Northwest Campus, A207
1:30 p.m. March 26, Community Campus, A109/112
3:30 p.m. March 26, Desert Vista Campus, Ocotillo Room
3:15 p.m. March 27, East Campus, Community Room
3:00 p.m. March 28, Downtown Campus, Amethyst Room
10:00 a.m. March 29, District Office, Community Board Room