Southeastern Illinois College Receives Highly Positive Reaccreditation

January 3, 2020

Southeastern Illinois College received formal notification from the Institutional Actions Council (IAC) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Dec. 10 that the college met all criteria and core components of the HLC without any concerns. As such, the college’s next Reaffirmation of Accreditation will be in 2029-30, the full 10-year maximum.

“This was in effect an ‘A’ term paper,” said SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice. “I could not be more elated for the entire college and community.”

SIC will remain in the Open Pathways approach for continuing accreditation, which means the college only has to update its current report in four years to demonstrate continued attention to the exemplary work demonstrated by the college.

The college has had only one reaccreditation monitoring report in over four decades, demonstrating what Rice says is a history of compliance and quality.

“I would wager to say that’s not something most colleges in the tri-state area can say,” said Rice.

The visiting team was on campus in April and did note a few improvements that team members believed the college could engage in both assessment and student success. However, Rice said he and his team felt that the visiting team missed multiple opportunities to collect evidence to prove effective compliance, so he filed an appeal with the HLC.

“That’s the beauty of the Commission structure and function,” Rice said. “It’s very democratic with a series of checks and balances to make a logical case. The Commission saw merit in our appeal and so we presented to the IAC in early December in Chicago.”

According to a letter received by the college from the HLC, the IAC found evidence that the institution uses results of assessment of student learning and retention, persistence, and completion results across course modalities in order to improve its performance. The institution demonstrates evidence that it takes responsibility for the quality of the education it offers.

Additionally, the institution provided evidence that it systematically improves its performance through documentation and that it learns from its experience, improves, and plans for the future.

SIC also received high marks from the initial visiting team on finance, governance, planning, facilities, and management policy, among other operational indicators.

“I was so proud of the appeal team we took to Chicago. They proved our case very well, and the IAC panel was composed of highly respected and veteran education and accreditation specialists,” said Rice.

The team was composed of Rice; Dr. Karen Weiss, Vice President of Academic Affairs; Executive Dean of Academic Services Gina Sirach; Executive Dean of Student Services Dr. Chad Flannery; Executive Director of Institutional Effectiveness Chris Barr; and faculty advisor and assessment co-chair Dr. Tyler Billman.

The SIC Board of Trustees will recognize the appeals team during the next board meeting Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room.