Higher Learning Commission permits SWIC to Follow Open Pathway to Accreditation | Southwestern Illinois College

Higher Learning Commission permits SWIC to Follow Open Pathway to Accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission has confirmed that Southwestern Illinois College may pursue accreditation in the future under the Open Pathway model. This 10-year-cycle, like all HLC pathways, is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement.

The college is accredited by the HLC through 2024 and has been continuously accredited since 1961. For the last 20 years, SWIC has used the Academic Quality Improvement Program model, a system of action projects and self-evaluation, to seek accreditation.

“This is the best result we could have hoped for when submitting our systems portfolio,” said SWIC President Nick J. Mance. “I could not be more proud of this monumental feat and how the entire college pulled together and made it possible for us to illustrate the great work each of us does to support our mission.”

The systems portfolio is a self-evaluation report detailing the ways in which the college has met the HLC’s criteria for accreditation. The evaluation of the portfolio could have led to either the Open Pathway or the Standard Pathway, which requires more HLC oversight of the institution.

Under the terms of the 10-year Open Pathway process, institutions must:

  • Submit an annual institutional update
  • After four years, submit an Assurance Review detailing ways in which accreditation criteria are fulfilled
  • Between five and nine years, create and implement a “Quality Initiative” project
  • After 10 years, undergo a comprehensive evaluation by an HLC review team.

The Quality Initiative component affords institutions the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that meet their current and future goals.

For more information, contact the SWIC Accreditation Liaison Officer/ Assurance System Coordinator Michelle Birk at 618-235-2700, ext. 5400 or michelle.birk@swic.edu.