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Latest accreditation leads to a mix of commendations and recommendations

Members of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities visited UCC in an accreditation visit this fall.
Sabrina Bidwell / Mainstream
Members of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities visited UCC in an accreditation visit this fall.

Faculty and staff were complimented for their dedication and determination to help students succeed by evaluators for the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities in the recent accreditation report now available on the college website.

The committee also made a few recommendations for how UCC can provide better services.

An accreditation is the process through which a third party grants a college the certification in which competency or credibility is presented. This certificate allows a college to operate and grant degrees to its students.

The committee offered much more compliments to UCC than concerns in their report, focusing mostly on how well the faculty and staff engage and challenge students, the college’s quick response to student needs and the excellent budgeting that has been performed in the last year, which includes paying off $1.4 million in debt ahead of schedule, acquiring $900,000 in savings last year and its proactive grant development that led to $4.7 million in grants and contracts.

New UCC President Joe Olson was also specifically commended for his open leadership and transparency, his humility and the deep respect he shows to faculty, staff and students at UCC. The committee stated that “the narrative guiding UCC from the past into the future might be described as ‘A Tale of Two Colleges.’”

The committee also stated that “since March 2011 Dr. Joe Olson has changed the campus climate tremendously with a transparent, problem-solving approach that is focused on healing the College after a decade of strife.”

The evaluation committee made three specific recommendations for UCC to consider, regarding executive administration turnover, evaluation processes and assessment models. The committee suggested that UCC should implement a program to help with executive administrator succession and ensure effective leadership at all levels of the school.

Because the college has not completed staff evaluation processes in a regular and timely manner, the committee also recommended that UCC administer these evaluations at Commission standards.

The committee acknowledged that UCC is attentive to assessing course outcomes but felt that the process of assessment needed work. Therefore, they recommended “that the college implement a more comprehensive and systematic model of assessment.”

The committee also raised concerns about availability of resources for faculty in the learning assessment area as well as the uneven development and assessment of learning outcomes at the program level.