Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College received formal notification and an official record of action taken concerning the institution by the Institutional Actions Council (IAC) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) at its meeting on February 28, 2023. The date of this action constitutes the effective date of the institution’s new status with HLC. The Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission continued the accreditation of Southern West Virginia Community & Technical College with the next Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2032-33. This is a full 10-year accreditation for the college based on the recent Comprehensive Visit from the Higher Learning Commission this past November 14 -15, 2022 by a team of five Peer Reviewers from various higher education entities throughout the United States.
In taking this action, the IAC considered materials from the most recent evaluation and the institutional response to the evaluation findings. The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the United States. HLC is an institutional accreditor, accrediting the institution as a whole.
The Criteria for Accreditation are the standards of quality by which HLC determines whether an institution merits accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation. They are as follows:
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. Institutional Effectiveness, Resources, and Planning
Also included in the Comprehensive Visit were extensive components and sub-components of the 5 Criteria, which totals 69 sub-components plus Southern’s multi-campus evaluations. The visit included all of Southern’s campus locations. Southern also enjoyed a perfect score in all 8 components of its Federal Compliance Report, also part of the Reaffirmation process. The college scored in the upper 90 percentile considering all criteria and required reporting instruments. All Criteria were met with only two sub-components being ‘Met with needs for improvement.’ This is a substantial improvement from the college’s 2018-early 2020 Final Report that identified that six Core Components were Met with Concerns. Criteria Teams were formed in the fall of 2021 in preparation for composition, data compilation, and narratives. The 5 teams worked collaboratively over the year researching, assembling, and supporting all Criteria.
The Visiting Team concluded that: “Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College is a mature institution that is capably serving its main campus, branch campuses, and additional location with programs and services that are consistent with its Vision, Mission, and statements of Commitment. College personnel is focused on providing an environment and resources that support students through to the successful completion of educational goals. The institution enjoys stable financial and physical resources and college leadership and campus climate have recently stabilized allowing for a more positive trajectory in mission fulfillment.”
President Pamela Alderman states: “I wish to sincerely thank all faculty, staff, and board members, both current and former, particularly those serving on all 5 Criterion Teams that worked tirelessly throughout the year through weekly and bi-weekly meetings with the Accreditation Liaison Officer. This has been a college-wide and community effort. This was not one employee or just a few employees. This report and our continued improvement are the work of our employees and community members. This is our culture here at Southern. We are truly family!”