What is it?
Accreditation is a voluntary peer review process that
provides colleges and universities with the impetus
to critically evaluate their purposes and whether those
purposes are being achieved. Voluntary accreditation
ensures quality and institutional improvement.
Who is responsible?
Six regional agencies provide institutional accreditation
on a geographical basis - Middle States, New England,
North Central, Northwest, Southern, and Western.
Danville Area Community College is accredited
by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and a member
of the North Central Association (NCA).
HLC Address: 30 N. LaSalle St, Suite 2400, Chicago,
Why is it important?
- ensures the quality and integrity of DACC's programs
- allows students to transfer credits to other accredited
colleges and universities.
- enables students to obtain financial aid and veteran's
- allows the college to participate in projects funded
by federal grants.
- ensures that the college can recruit and retain
quality faculty and staff.
How does it happen?
Following an initial accreditation, colleges and universities
are evaluated every ten years and/or periodically as
necessary. Institutions conduct a self study, submit
the self-study report to the HLC, and prepare for an
onsite visit from peer reviewers representing the accrediting
agency. According to the HLC, these consultant-evaluators
have two primary responsibilities: to offer advicd to
institutions to help them improve the quality of the
education they provide and to evaluate and confirm the
quality of an educational institution.
The HLC currently offers institutions to choose one
of two approaches to seek accreditation. One approach
is referred to as the Academic Quality Program (AQIP).
The second approach is called the Program to Evaluate
and Advance Quality or PEAQ.
AQIP is a new approach that involves a continuous improvement
approach to accreditation on a seven-year cycle. It
involves the institution's indentification of three
projects focused on the five criteria. In addition,
three to five institutions would be identified by the
NCA to work as a team with the AQIP institution to develop
and implement the identified projects.
PEAQ is the more traditional approach with a 10-year
cycle of review. It includes the development of a self-study
and a site visit. The institution must demonstrate that
it is focused on improving its programs and services.
It too, has been updated and will require substantially
more support data and a greater focus on institutional
improvement than in the past.
After an extensive examination by the Accreditation
Standing Committee of strengths and weaknesses of these
two approaches, the College decided to use the Program
to Evaluate and Advance Quality (PEAQ) approach to prepare
for the upcoming NCA team visit.
Criteria for Accreditation