BRTC has received notification from the Higher Learning Commission that the preliminary report on the college’s comprehensive evaluation visit has recommended the institution be re-accredited for another ten-year cycle. The report also gives a preliminary nod to a “Request for Institutional Change” to accredit the college’s Distance Education program, according to VP for Development Dr. Jan Ziegler, Self-Study Coordinator.
“We are very pleased with the visiting team’s findings,” Ziegler said. “The entire college worked very hard for a year or so in preparation for the accreditation team visit in April,” she said, then added, “though this favorable outcome is more a result of continuous effort to improve and to maintain high quality rather than being just a sprint to the site visit.”
The team visit included interviews and discussions not only with BRTC Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, but with many members of the community in order to determine whether the college is fulfilling its mission to “internal and external constituencies,” noted BRTC President Dr. Wayne Hatcher. “We are aware of the tremendous support many community members gave during the accreditation visit, and we appreciate this support very much.”
The four team members had already reviewed hundreds of online documents as well as the college’s extensive Self-Study report to assess the college’s fulfillment of the criteria necessary for accreditation. The team concurred that the college satisfies the required criteria and core components, but will be asked to complete a single follow-up report on Assessment of Student Learning in three years, according to the report. “We had anticipated this,” Ziegler said, “and have already begun to take steps to address this area.”
“What caught us by surprise in a very positive way was that the team recognized the level of excellence we have achieved and is recommending that we be allowed to offer 100% of our degree offerings via distance education,” Ziegler said. “This means that we are authorized to increase the courses and degree programs available through distance education without having to go back to the HLC each time we want to expand that program.” She credited the meticulous planning and work of former DE Coordinator Karen Liebhaber and Regina Moore (who has assumed duties as DE Coordinator) in this accomplishment. The award is in the amount of $1,000 per semester provided the recipient maintains a 2.5 GPA and is enrolled full time. The scholarship was established by Phil and Carolyn Collins of Paragould in memory of their children.