MAC Faculty, Administrators Attend Higher Learning Conference
Faculty and Administrators from Mineral Area College attended the 2013 Higher Learning Commission 118th Annual Conference, April 5-9 in Chicago, Ill. The annual conference provides the latest news about the commission that oversees higher ed accreditation, practical guidance on accreditation matters, and presentations on broader areas of interest to higher education, such as assessment of student learning. More than 4,200 faculty and administrators from the North Central Region attended this year’s conference.
Attendees heard speakers such as Elsa Nunez, president of Eastern Connecticut State University which recently ranked No. 1 in retention of Hispanic students; and Candace Thille, director of Carnegie Mellon University’s open learning initiative.
More than 100 institutional presentations were provided on a wide variety of topics and issues of current interest to those in higher education. The commission staff provided in-depth discussion of recent changes in commission policies, with particular focus on institutional change, transparency, and federal requirements.
This year’s conference offered multiple sessions on the two major commission projects of the last few years, which are now in early implementation: the Open and Standard Pathways for Reaffirmation of Accreditation, first introduced in April 2009, and the revised Criteria for Accreditation.
The new electronic Assurance System is ready for prime time, and there will be lots of opportunities to explore it. For Academic Quality Improvement Institutions (AQIP), discussions were held about whether and if so how AQIP might be modified in the coming months. Mineral Area College is an AQIP institution. MAC was accepted into the AQIP program in January 2005. AQIP is structured around quality improvement principles and processes and involves a structured set of goal-setting, networking, and accountability activities. AQIP uses direct, cost-effective processes including AQIP’s Strategy Forums, Systems Appraisals, and various other services.
Attending this year’s conference from Mineral Area College were faculty members Laura Glasbrenner, English Department; Lynne Wisdom, Business Department; Tabatha Crites, Mathematics Department; Roger McMillian, Department Chair, Business Education; Dr. Diana Stuart, Teacher Education Program coordinator; Pam Watkins, Continuing Education director; and administrators Kay Crecelius, dean of the Arts and Science Division; and Dr. Steven Kurtz, Mineral Area College president.