The Higher Learning Commission

Richland Community College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604, 1 (800) 621-7440,

Specialized Accreditation

Specialized Accreditation
Program Accrediting Program Origination/Reaccreditation Date Benefits to Student
Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN) (formerly National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission–


September 1996
Last evaluation visit: Fall 2017; reaccreditation granted.Next Evaluation Visit: Fall 2025
A peer review process that determines if academic programs meet public confidence
Automotive Technology (AAS) National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) Accreditation (ASE Certification) October 2011 (Master Accreditation)

Renewed July 2016 through July 2021

Recommended for employment; students may sit for ASE Certification exams
Radiology (AAS) Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) Applied October 2012;

Initial accreditation granted: 9/9/2014

Renewed 2017; next projected site visit: fall 2025

A peer review process that determines if academic programs meet public confidence
Surgical Technology (AAS) Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) April 22, 1999

Continuing Accreditation: November 15, 2013

Next projected site visit:


Required to take National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting certification exam
Nurse Assistant (CNA) (certificate) (Main campus and Clinton Higher Education Center, Richland Workforce Consortium (Decatur Public Library)) Illinois Department of Public Health Continued approval: On-campus — Sept. 2017-August 2019; Clinton — Sept. 2017-Aug. 2019; Workforce Consortium (DPL) — Feb. 2018-Feb. 2020 Required to take state competency examination, which leads to CNA certification
Healthcare Documentation (AAS) Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) Sept. 2007

Renewed September 2014 through June 2017

Ensures program has appropriate curriculum and meets specific education criteria to produce competent entry-level healthcare documentation specialists.
Health Information Technology (AAS) Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM) Approved September 2013; Confirmation of good standing 2018-2019 Student can sit for Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification exam.
Culinary Arts (AAS) American Culinary Federation (ACF) Education Foundation Initial approval July 2014. Reaccreditation 2017-2022 Credential for certified culinarians.
Engineering Technology (AAS & Certificate) Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC)  Certified Production Technician (CPT) (Certificate) Certified as training and testing site Fall 2013 – ongoing Recommended for entry-level employment
Engineering Technology (AAS & Certificate) Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC)  Certified Logistics Technician (CLT) certification Certified as training and testing site Spring 2014 —  ongoing Recommended for employment in entry-level Supply Chain Management.
Engineering Technology (AAS & Certificate) Manufacturing Skills Standards Council (MSSC)  Certified Logistics Associate  (CLA) certification Certified as training and testing site Spring 2014– ongoing Recommended for employment in entry-level Supply Chain Management.
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, & refrigeration HVAC Excellence Accreditation March 2016 through Spring 2022 Recommended for employment.

Academic Quality Improvement Process (AQIP)

Richland Community College is proud to be a participating institution in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) since 2001. AQIP is an alternative process through which an organization can maintain its accredited status with The Higher Learning Commission. AQIP’s goal is to infuse the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of colleges and universities in order to assure and advance the quality of higher education. AQIP allows an organization to demonstrate that it meets The Higher Learning Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation and other expectations through processes that align with the ongoing activities that characterize organizations striving continuously to improve their performance. By sharing both its improvement activities and their results through AQIP, an organization develops the structure and systems essential to achieving the distinctive higher education mission it has set for itself — and the evidence to enable the Commission to reaffirm accreditation. Visit or our AQIP Page for more information.

Systems Portfolio

As a part of the AQIP accreditation process, Richland Community College is required to submit a Systems Portfolio. In this document, Richland, in relation to its Strategic Plan and Core Values, addresses the 9 AQIP categories by answering a series of questions related to context, processes, results, and improvement. The Portfolio reflects current strengths and challenges and explains how Richland plans to meet the needs of our College District. In addition, an Institutional Overview outlines the organizational structure, student and faculty demographics, and a summary of Richland’s continuous improvement process.

Continuous Improvement Process

When Richland became an AQIP institution in 2002, the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) was adopted as the structure for evaluation, development, and improvement of processes. A Strategy Forum Team in 2014 recognized that while the College has utilized the CIP Process with positive results, new strategies were needed to address changes in requirements of external accrediting agencies, including those at the federal and state level. Richland has matured in its use of data to make decisions, and the Continuous Improvement Process therefore needed to be refreshed. The following process that promotes evidence-based decision making was developed by CIP Team 6-14 and was approved by the Quality Council in December 2014.

The Continuous Improvement Process follows seven steps when setting goals and objectives for the college:

Continuous Improvement Process Steps
Step Process Phase
One Identify the opportunity for improvement Plan
Two Identify, collect, and analyze existing data (data you have, data you need, data you have but need in different form); identify gaps in data. Plan
Three Identify and analyze processes related to opportunity for improvement. Plan
OUTCOME: Revise opportunity for improvement based on preceding steps.
Four Identify potential solutions for improvement. Do
OUTCOME: Make recommendations for pilot or implementation of proposed solutions.
Five Implement selected solutions for improvement. Do
Six Evaluate using established measures. Check
OUTCOME: Report on implementation results and improvement plan to appropriate stakeholder(s)
Seven Plan for continuous improvement. Act

CIP Team 1-15 is currently developing a training program to reintroduce the Continuous Improvement Process to the College.

Below are the Continuous Improvement Process teams that were established, along with the project objectives for each team.

2005 Teams

1-05: Alternative Scheduling
To improve alternatively scheduled courses and programs as measured by student satisfaction, faculty satisfaction, student performance, number of courses and number of programs offered in an alternative format.

2-05: Faculty Technology Training for Online/Distance Education
To develop an effective training program including technology and pedagogy for faculty interested in teaching online courses as measured by the number of instructors trained, the number of training opportunities, the number of courses offered or course enhancements done by newly trained faculty, and faculty satisfaction.

3-05: Front Door Service
To improve “front door” service for students as measured by student satisfaction, persistence of new students, and faculty satisfaction.

4-05: Diversity in Faculty Hiring
To improve the recruitment process for hiring diverse faculty as measured by an increase in the number of minority candidates applying for full-time and adjunct positions and an increase in the number of minority candidates actually hired.

2006 Teams

1-06: Student Recruitment
To identify and implement strategies for student recruitment.

2008 Teams

1-08: Adjunct Faculty Development & Support
To improve the adjunct faculty training process as measured by adjunct evaluations and completion of the training process.

2-08: Online College Implementation
To establish benchmarks (best practices, faculty training, technical support, hardware/software needs, course requirements, and policies: for the implementation of online programs in order to facilitate online program implementation as measured by the number of programs brought online and the number of courses identified to support these programs.

3-08: Online Support Services
To develop and implement a high quality online student service delivery system as measured by student access to online services (measured in phases), quality of services delivered, continual training of staff who deliver services online, and implementation of a student friendly email program.

4-08: Accelerated Programming
To create a template for an accelerated course offering system for an Associate in Science or an Associate in Arts degree as measured by the time of the planned degree completion.

5-08: Student Recruitment
To create a target market evaluation process and a strategic marketing process, to grow student recruitment and enrollment.

6-08: Sustainability Action Plan
To develop a prioritized action plan for implementing a College-wide sustainability program, as measured by and updated using the STARS criteria and evaluation process.

7-08: Fairview Park Plaza Center Planning
To develop a successful marketing and usage plan for the Fairview Park Plaza site as measured by the number of students served, profitability, and variety of courses offered.

2009 Teams

1-09: Student Recruitment – Biofuels
To utilize the target market evaluation developed by Team 5-08 to grow student recruitment and enrollment in the RCC Biofuels program.

2-09: Student Recruitment – Dual Credit
To develop a plan to recruit/retain dual credit students after high school graduation as measured by increased student persistence and the increased enrollment in the target population.

3-09: Student Recruitment – GED Students
To create recommendations to increase enrollment at Richland Community College of GED students from the Adult Education Department at Richland, as measured by enrollment data.

4-09: Alternative Delivery
To implement an accelerated course offering system that leads to a transferable degree as measured by a reduction of graduation time.

5-09: College Ambassador Program
To create a sustainable and accurate information network that provides internal and external constituents with timely, customer-focused, quality information about Richland Community College.

6-09: Off-Site Learning
To develop successful marketing and usage plans for the HOPE Academy, Clinton Center, and Fairview Park Plaza Center as measured by an increase in the number of students served, profitability, and variety of courses offered.

7-09: College Readiness for Student Success
To improve the institutional system of student support, the team will review and evaluate current practices, and recommend additional academic support services/strategies for student success, as measured by an increase of students and faculty accessing services.

2010 Teams

1-10: Balanced Scorecard – Oversight Team
Coordinate the work of the Balanced Scorecard Teams; identify Key Performance Indicators; create dashboard template.

2-10: Balanced Scorecard – Institutional Definitions Team
Develop institutional glossary and create process for updating the glossary.

3-10: Balanced Scorecard – Analysis and Reporting Team
Create process for analysis and reporting of Key Performance Indicators

4-10: Balanced Scorecard – Peer Institutions Team
Identify criteria for peer institutions and system of tracking information.

2011 Teams

1-11: Printed Schedule
Determine feasibility of moving to a fully digital class schedule and ending printed class schedule.

2-11: Child Care Services
Examine current services and facilities, cost of operations, integration into curriculum and identify new opportunities.

3-11: Late State/Registration
Determine success factors related to late registration and late start classes.

4-11: Student Communication
Strategic evaluation on the communication a student receives (letters, email, timeline) beginning with the new student.

5-11: Knowledge Management
Create a system/structure to manage the College’s data and information needs that will include definition of terms; priority of data needs; timelines for development; Design/establishment of data to be developed for data blocks; review and/or recommendation of metrics; identification of initial reports.

6-11: Balanced Scorecard Implementation
Implement balanced scorecard processes.

2012 Teams

1-12: Online Scheduling/Registration Interface
Improve the web-based registration process and the corresponding website interface for student registration

2-12: Central Issues to Technology
Enhance current communication structure for various student/staff communication systems, including student e-mail and student access to myRichland.

3-12: Student Communication Plan
Develop an implementation strategy for delivery of communication items that new students receive, including a strategic communication calendar.

2013 Teams

1-13: Helping Students Learn
Focuses on the design, deployment, and effectiveness of teaching-learning processes that underlie the institution’s credit and non-credit programs and courses and on the processes required to support them.

2-13: Accomplishing Other Distinctive Objectives
Addresses the key processes (separate from instructional programs and internal support services) through which the institution serves its external stakeholders in support of its mission.

3-13: Understanding Students’ and Other Stakeholders’ Needs
Examines how the institution works actively to understand student and other stakeholder needs.

4-13: Valuing People
Explores the institution’s commitment to the development of faculty, staff, and administrators.

5-13: Leading and Communicating
Addresses how leadership and communication processes, structures, and networks guide the institution in setting directions, making decisions, seeking future opportunities, and communicating decisions and actions to internal and external stakeholders.

6-13: Supporting Institutional Operations
Addresses the organizational support processes that help to provide an environment in which learning can thrive.

7-13: Measuring Effectiveness
Examines how the institution collects, analyzes, distributes, and uses data, information, and knowledge to manage itself and to drive performance improvement.

8-13: Planning Continuous Improvement
Examines the institution’s planning processes and how its strategies and action plans help it achieve its mission and vision

9-13: Building Collaborative Relationships
Examines the institution’s relationships, current and potential, to ascertain how they contribute to the organization’s ability to accomplish its mission.

2014 Teams

1-14: Using Data for Improved Institutional Planning: Program Review
To improve the process of program review as measured by the development of a campus-wide template for data collection, analysis, and improvement.

2-14: Improving the Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes
To create a process to document assessment of cross-disciplinary outcomes that includes reporting metrics for College reports and using results for improvement.

3-14: Advancing the Completion Agenda: Student Placement
To develop alternate forms of placement in math and English courses that increases the number of students taking higher level courses as measured by the percentage of students placed at each level of course work and by pass rates.

4-14: Institutionalizing the Balanced Scorecard: Communicating the Balanced Scorecard
To coordinate processes related to the Balanced Scorecard leading to communication of components determined by past CIP Teams. Communication will be measured by tracking access of materials on myRichland through analytics.

5-14: Research Team for Evidence-Based Decision Making
Research cultures and best practices of evidence-based decision-making, including higher education and other organizations, information about strategic planning, and possible presenters or relevant conferences and workshops.

6-14: Evidence Based Strategy Team
To review the current Continuous Improvement Process and to recommend updates and training components for the next CIP Team, charged with developing appropriate employee training.

2015 Teams

1-15: CIP Training
To develop and pilot a training program for the revised Continuous Improvement Process, including integration of appropriate tools, alternative format for delivery, and revision or creation of necessary documents.

2-15: Enrollment
2-15A: To create a process for optimizing enrollment, as measures by increased enrollment in Associate in Arts, Associate in Science, and Associate in Engineering Science programs for FY16.

2-15B: To create an intense, marketed enrollment strategy for student-focused courses that increases enrollment.

2-15C: To develop a comprehensive and measureable marking plan that identifies targets, messages, and media vehicles that will result in an increase in future student enrollment.

3-15: New Employee Orientation
To successfully achieve the goals of connection, compliance, culture, and clarification through the new employee orientation process as measured by the evaluations midway through the process and once the process is complete.

2016 Teams

1-16: Comprehensive Communication Calendar
To develop a comprehensive tool in the form of a database that serves as a road map to coordinate all the efforts of the Recruitment/Registration/Retention process.

Richland’s Committees and Taskforces

The committee structure was reviewed by Continuous Improvement Teams 23 and 24 in Summer 2003. After reviewing existing committees and determining duplication of efforts, Teams 23 and 24 established the following committees and taskforces with specific charges. This new structure was implemented in January 2004 with the addition of the Quality Council in 2007.

Committee and Taskforce membership has been determined to assure representation by stakeholders in the institution, including students. The Committee/Taskforce cycle begins in January. Some positions are filled by rotating members, with two-year terms, and other positions are considered “permanent.”

  • Academic Standards Committee: Oversees policies and procedures that relate to curriculum, teaching, and learning issues (reports to the Institutional Effectiveness Group).
  • Employee Appreciation, Relations, and Development Committee: Oversees policies and procedures that relate to staff and faculty development training and activities (reports to the Institutional Effectiveness Group).
  • Institutional Effectiveness Group: Oversees internal governance, policies and procedures, continuous improvement and other quality improvement initiatives, and general operations of the College using a consensus-based decision-making process
  • Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Committee: Oversees planning and implementation of Student and Institutional Outcomes Assessment (Reports to Institutional Effectiveness Group).

For information on charges and membership or on accomplishments of these groups, please contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Planning, or call 217-875-7211, 6364.

Richland Participatory Governance System

Richland GovernanceChart 072016