Frequently Asked Questions About Self-Study

What does NCA - HLC stand for?

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is part of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The NCA is one of six regional institutional accreditation agencies in the United States. It was founded in 1895. The North Central region includes Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The NCA - HLC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

What is the NCA self-study and why is it important to the College?

The self-study is a process of comprehensive, institution-wide self-examination that evaluates what the College learned and proposes what it intends to do with the knowledge. It is the College's charge that we satisfy the criteria and, thus, is a formal application to the Higher Learning Commission for reaccreditation.

Who are the members of the NCA Steering Committee and what is their role in the self-study process?

The members of the Steering Committee are leaders chosen by the College Leadership Team for their expertise, leadership, process management and strong team skills. They advise the Self-Study Coordinator in reference to the self-study process. Most of them are Chairs of the nine Criterion/Section Teams.

Who are the leaders for each criterion and how were the Criteria Leadership Groups formed?

The Criterion/Section Team Chairs were chosen from the Steering Committee or nominated by the College Leadership Team. The teams consist of one co-chairs and 7-10 members, who are given the charge to define, discover, demonstrate, and develop the accreditation criteria as they are realized at DACC. They are creating the various parts of the self-study document. They work with college wide resource people who either were nominated by College leaders or volunteered because of their special expertise.

What is meant by "evidence" in the self-study process, and who is responsible for gathering it?

Evidence is any kind of supporting data to be used in the Self-Study: hard facts and statistics, numbers, records, survey results, expert opinion, examples, explanations, reasoning, predictions, experience, and even history. Evidence is the proof or confirmation that supports a claim as to how well DACC is addressing a component of the criterion or section.

All of the Criterion/Section Team Leaders, Writing Coaches, and Resource Team Members assist in data collection, information gathering, and drafting responses to the questions that arise from the HLC criteria for accreditation.

Why are there writing coaches assigned to each criterion and section of the Self-Study?

Writing coaches are writing-process experts who assist with research and investigative processes (data collection, information gathering, and analysis) of criterion, core component, and section teams. They direct the collaborative writing process for each team, so that the draft that evolves from their team's inquiries will fit well with the other team drafts and result in an effective self-study document.

Is participation in the Self-Study voluntary?

Yes, participation is completely voluntary. However, participation is an integral part of the accreditation process. It is important that a majority of employees participate in some department, division, campus, or district activity of the Self-Study.

How can College employees become engaged in Self-Study?

Employees can volunteer their services to the co-leaders or writing coaches in any of the criterion where they may have an interest or area of expertise. (See the Committee link for names.) It is not too late to become involved in the self-study activities.



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