What is the HLC?

Federally recognized by the US Department of Education, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an accreditor of post-secondary, degree-granting institutions in the United States.

What is HLC Accreditation?

HLC accreditation certifies that Parkland College meets federal evaluation guidelines for approval as a quality post-secondary institution maintaining a high level of educational standards.

What is Reaffirmation of Accreditation?

An HLC Reaffirmation of Accreditation confirms that Parkland College meets all five criteria necessary to keep its accredited status with the Higher Learning Commission.

 What are the Criteria for Accreditation?

The HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation is a five-point framework on which Parkland College is evaluated for reaffirmation of accreditation. These Criteria are  – 1. Mission; 2. Integrity; 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support; 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement; and 5. Institutional Effectiveness, Resources, and Planning.

What is an Assurance Filing?

The Assurance filing is a self-study document created by Parkland College submitted to HLC for peer review and evaluation; it includes the Assurance Argument which is based on the five criteria with embedded links to supporting evidence. It is due in Year 4 of the process, which will be 2027.

What is Peer Review?

Parkland is evaluated by an HLC Peer Review team that reads the self-study document and conducts a 1.5-day campus visit.  The peer review team is comprised of a group of trained faculty, administrators, and public members from within HLC’s multi-state region who help determine whether Parkland College fully meets the Criteria for Accreditation.

What is the HLC Open Pathway?

The Open Pathway is one of two options by which institutions maintain their accreditation with HLC. The Open Pathway is a 10-year reaffirmation cycle addressing quality assurance and quality improvement and includes an assurance review (mini self-study) due in year 4 and a Quality Initiative Project (QIP) developed and completed in years 5-9, with a comprehensive evaluation in year 10.

What is a Quality Initiative Project (QIP)?

The QIP is a major quality improvement effort Parkland College conducts between Years 5 and 9 of the Open Pathway that addresses a specific current concern or aspiration. Parkland’s QIP for 2022 focused on service excellence. “The Quality Initiative was an effort to improve service excellence. The intention was to sustain and improve a culture committed to serving all constituencies with excellence. Three core elements of the plan were to improve processes, provide training in service excellence, and review user-friendliness of the physical space on campus.” (QIP final report, June 2022)

What are Assumed Practices?

Assumed practices are a set of defined minimum expectations. These are not mission-driven or open to individual institutional interpretation as the Criteria are - they are practices HLC expects every institution of higher learning to demonstrate.

What are the Federal Compliance Requirements?

Federal Compliance Requirements are U.S. Department of Education requirements that HLC is obliged to enforce in its accreditation processes.