Iowa Lakes Community College Thanks Citizens
On Tuesday, March 27, members from the Emmetsburg community gathered at Iowa Lakes Community College to discuss the pros and cons of having the college in our community as part of their accreditation process.
Iowa Lakes is not in danger of losing their accreditation; instead an accreditation committee reviews the practices of colleges nationwide in order to keep their accreditation. The committee reviews five criteria and standards set forth by the accreditation board.
The five pillars include following the mission statement of the college. Iowa Lakes’ mission statement states, “To provide opportunities for quality lifelong learning and promote economic development for our communities.” They interview students and employees in order to determine that the college is following the statement it presents to its students.
The second pillar is based on ethics and integrity towards students. The committee ensures that a university is not misrepresenting the timeline that it will take to complete a degree. It looks at whether or not cost has been misrepresented to the students.
The third and fourth criteria examine the quality of teaching. It looks at whether or not classrooms are up to standards, are using up-to-date standards, and whether or not students are passing standard of learning exams.
The final criterion investigates whether or not the institution is planning for the future. Does it know its resources? What happens if legislature were to cut educational budgets? They look at the long-term strategic plan of the institution.
Business professionals and residents of the Iowa Lakes Community College region are being thanked for their efforts to attend meetings this week and share information about the college with the Higher Learning Commission, the accrediting agency of higher education in the north central region of the United States.
“A great big thank you to everyone who was able to take time out of their day to share their feelings on the value of Iowa Lakes with our guests from the Higher Learning Commission,” said Iowa Lakes Community College President Valerie Newhouse.
A full report from the accrediting agency is expected in a few months. From the response of community leaders, students, faculty and staff, Newhouse is optimistic about the results.
“We really won’t have any specific report for about three months,” Newhouse said. “Yet we can share that the team was impressed with the numbers of people who came to talk about their experiences with Iowa Lakes.”
While the Higher Learning Commission team has departed, the professional faculty and staff continue to serve students and communities to help this region grow.
“We have an exceptional institution,” she said. “We opened our doors and data to the team. Everything from our typical classes to our distance education to serving our communities.”
Iowa Lakes is part of the AQIP (Academic Quality Improvement Program) Pathway of the Higher Learning Commission and is reviewed approximately every eight years.