The Higher Learning Commission

Richland Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, often referred to as the HLC, and is recognized by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB).

In general, the HLC and other accrediting bodies focus on the following functions:

  • Assessing the quality of academic programs
  • Creating a culture of continuous improvement of academic quality
  • Involving faculty and staff comprehensively in institutional evaluation and planning
  • Establishing criteria for professional certification and licensure

The HLC has established several pathways of accreditation from which an institution can choose to match that institution’s culture and to focus on evidence-based decision-making.

In 2002, Richland applied for and was selected as a Vanguard Institution for the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). The AQIP model emphasized process development and evaluation, continuous improvement, and evidence-based decision-making. How does an institution make decisions? How does an institution gain input on strengths and opportunities from both internal and external stakeholders? How does an institution monitor results to identify ways to improve?

As with any accrediting institution, the HLC began in 2014 to examine its three pathways to assure consistency and connection to the Federal guidelines for accreditation. That work resulted in the phasing out of AQIP and the revision of the Open and Standard Pathways to include AQIP practices.

Richland transitioned to the Standard Pathway in 2017, completing some final requirements under AQIP and moving to the timeline of the Standard Pathway.

Affirmation of accreditation includes a number of initiatives, also outlined on the Institutional Effectiveness page of the Richland website.

Responding to a series of questions, an institution uses the Assurance Argument to describe systems and processes and the results, following the Department of Education’s Criteria for Accreditation. This Assurance Argument is the compilation of the answers to the question “How do you know?” Two Assurance Arguments are completed in the 10-year accreditation cycle. Because Richland was completing the transition to the Standard Pathway, the 2017 Systems Portfolio was a hybrid approach to answering the questions of the Assurance Argument.

For the Comprehensive Evaluation in Year 9, a review team visits campus and meets with stakeholders for a first-hand view of the workings of an institution. Richland’s Comprehensive Visit is scheduled in February 2024.  Stakeholders are currently working on the required Assurance Argument, which replaced the Systems Portfolio, and the Federal Compliance Audit.

All of these activities are reviewed in the Reaccreditation Affirmation process in the last year.

Richland’s accreditation has been reaffirmed until 2022-2023.

In 2023 work on the Assurance Argument has been undertaken by a cross-section of employees based on their areas of expertise and knowledge of procedures and policies. The Criterion Leaders Group is directing the development of responses to each Core Component:

Criterion 1 Mission — John Oliver, Shelly Baldwin

Criterion 2 Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct — Madonna Brown, Joe Feinstein, Jody Burtnett

Criterion 3 Teaching and Learning: Quality Resources, and Support — Meredith Johnson-Palmer, Dr. Kona Jones

Criterion 4 Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement — Katie Raisner, Andy Hynds, Dr. Matthew Wiediger

Criterion 5 Institutional Effectiveness, Resources, and Planning — Erin Spanberger, Teena Zindel-McWilliams

The target for completion of the Assurance Argument is December 1.

NC-Sara Approved Institution

NC SARA Seal

Richland Community College has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. For more information you may visit www.nc-sara.org.

Specialized Accreditation and Professional Licensure

Specialized Accreditation – June 2023

Program Accrediting Program Origination/Reaccreditation Date Benefits to Student
Associate Degree Nursing

(ADN) Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Nursing

Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN)
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)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Automotive Technology 23

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
October 2011 (Master Accreditation)
Renewed July 2016 through July 2021
Extended to July 2023
Recommended for employment; students may sit for ASE Certification exams
Collision Repair Technology (AAS)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Collision Repair Technology

Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
Accreditation granted June 20, 2021, through July 1, 2026 Recommended for employment; students may sit for ASE Certification exams
Radiography (AAS)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table radiography

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)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Surgical Technology

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
Initial Accreditation: April 22, 1999
Continuing Accreditation: November 15, 2013
Next projected site visit: 2024 (postposed by CAAHEP)
Graduates required to take National Board of Surgical Technology certification exam
Nurse Assistant (CNA) (certificate) (Main campus and Richland Workforce Consortium – Decatur Public Library)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Nurse Assistant

 

Illinois Department of Public Health
Continued approval: On-campus—August 31, 2021 –  August 31, 2023
Workforce Consortium (DPL)— February 28, 2022 – February 28, 2024.
Graduates required to take state competency examination, which leads to CNA certification
Healthcare Documentation (AAS)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Healthcare Documentation

Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI)
September 2007
Renewed June 2023 through June 2026
Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist credentialing exam available after graduation.
Health Information Technology (AAS)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Health Information Technology

Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
Approved September 2013
Next review cycle 2023-2024;    site visit spring 2024
Student can sit for Registered Health Information Technician (RHIT) certification exam after graduation.
Culinary Arts (AAS)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Culinary Arts

American Culinary Federation (ACF) Education Foundation
Initial approval July 2014
Reaccreditation July 1, 2022 – June 20, 2027
Credential for certified culinarians
Engineering Technology (AAS & Certificate)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Engineering Technology

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)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Engineering Technology

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)

Professional Licensure (PDF File)23 Professional Licensure Table Engineering Technology

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.
Emergency Medical Services Paramedic (AAS & Certificates)

Professional Licensure (PDF) File 23 Professional Licensure Table EMS 23

Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
Initial Accreditation — September 15, 2023; next evaluation scheduled for 2028.

 

Recommended for employment as a Paramedic.

Before enrolling in a program intended to satisfy a particular state’s educational requirements for the practice of a particular occupation requiring licensure, students are strongly encouraged to review the information under the respective program in the current Richland Catalog. Students are also encouraged to contact the appropriate licensing agency to seek information and additional guidance before beginning a program outside of their home state. Institutions participating in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) are required to provide related disclosures; institutions that participate in federal student financial aid programs must meet similar federal requirements.

If Richland Community College has not determined whether a program meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification outside the state of Illinois, the student should contact the licensing entity to determine whether the Richland program meets the educational requirements for licensure or certification in the state of residence or employment.