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 is completing the transition to the Standard Pathway, the 2017 Systems Portfolio is 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.

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

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

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–

NLNAC)

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:

2023

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.