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Pima submits latest accreditation report to HLC

Pima Community College officials submitted a 2016 Notice Report to the Higher Learning Commission on Wednesday. The report was required under the college’s current standing of “on notice” — a continued risk of becoming non-compliant with the HLC’s criteria.

Chancellor Lee Lambert wrote in a message to the college that he was confident the report addresses concerns identified by the HLC’s March 2015 notice letter.

“In meeting the deadline for submission of the report, the college has reached another milestone as we seek to regain the full trust of our accreditor,” he said. “It is a significant step toward our ultimate goal, providing the best possible programs and services to students and the community.”

The notice report covers 11 areas the HLC determined still needed improvement, including the college’s mission statement and evaluations of recently implemented policy changes.

Drafting of the report began at the beginning of the spring semester, written by a team of “subject matter experts” comprised of faculty, administrators and staff. Once approved by the PCC Governing Board, the draft was made available to the public for comment on June 20 and was open until June 23.

The college received feedback from 10 people during the open comment period. The majority of those comments came from employees of the college, said spokeswoman Libby Howell.

“Most of the employee suggestions were either correcting typos, punctuation, or suggesting alternate phrasing,” said Howell. “A few provided additional documentation/examples for statements of fact in the draft.”

The Governing Board also reviewed the draft and provided feedback that was mostly positive, she said.

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According to the report's conclusion, PCC is sure the evidence presented is proof the college is meeting all the HLC standards.

“We believe the college has earned the highest degree of trust from the HLC, a trust that will invigorate the college’s efforts to advance the academic, economic and cultural vitality of our students and community," it reads.

The next step for Pima to be removed off notice will be a visit from the HLC team Sept. 26-27 to evaluate the 11 issues out of compliance.

Howell said that it is unlikely the HLC will contact Pima before their visit with additional questions.

The HLC will report their findings to Pima in October after the evaluation.

Pima was originally notified of their probationary status in April 2013 and will receive the final word on accreditation in February or March 2017.

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Jamie Verwys/TucsonSentinel.com

Pima Community West Campus

Next Steps

  • Sept. 26-27: HLC will visit Pima for evaluation. 
  • October: The HLC will provide a report of their findings.
  • November: PCC will respond to the report. 
  • December: The HLC's Board of Trustees will hold a hearing with a team from Pima. 
  • Feburary-March 2017: PCC will receive a final decision.