Accreditation is a voluntary peer review process that helps colleges and universities assure and advance quality in their educational programs. Accreditation:
- Assures the quality and integrity of MCC's programs and services.
- Allows students to transfer credits to other accredited colleges and universities.
- Enables students to obtain financial aid and veteran's services.
- Empowers the college to participate in projects funded by federal grants.
- Assists the college with recruiting and retaining quality faculty and staff.
Mesa Community College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604
The HLC offers institutions multiple options for maintaining their accreditation, called pathways. MCC is on the Open Pathway for accreditation. The Open Pathway follows on a 10-year cycle focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement, with major milestones bolded:
- Years 1-3: Prepare Assurance Filing
- Year 3: Multi-site Visit of a Random Sample of MCC Additional Locations*
- Year 4: Assurance Review
- Years 5-9: Quality Initiative (Proposal, Implementation, Report, Approval)
- Year 8: Multi-site Visit of a Random Sample of MCC Additional Locations*
- Years 7-9: Prepare for 10-year HLC Comprehensive Evaluation Visit
- Year 10: Comprehensive Evaluation for Reaffirmation of Accreditation
MCC completed its last accreditation cycle in 2015 with a comprehensive evaluation. As a result of this successful evaluation, the HLC continued the accreditation of MCC with the next Reaffirmation of Accreditation scheduled for 2024-25. MCC's progress in our current Open Pathway cycle is outlined below.
*Institutions with more than three additional locations (locations where an institution offers more than 50% of a degree or certificate program) are required to have a multi-location visit of a random sample of additional locations every five years, during years three and eight of the 10-year open pathway cycle.
As part of the HLC's Open Pathway, MCC completed an Assurance Review in 2019. This review was accepted by the HLC with a determination that MCC meets all HLC Criteria for Accreditation. MCC's next Assurance Review will occur as part of a comprehensive evaluation in 2024-25.
After completing a successful assurance review in 2019, MCC chose to showcase the important work of student outcomes assessment by participating in the HLC Assessment Academy as our college Quality Initiative. Members of MCC’s Assessment Academy team attended a virtual HLC results forum in Fall 2021 to present our results, and the HLC accepted the team’s final report as fulfilling MCC’s Quality Initiative requirement. MCC's focus during this five-year project was to increase faculty participation in student outcomes assessment, create a systematic approach to assessing student learning outcomes, and to develop assessment expertise within the co-curricular and student service areas
MCC's quality initiative from its previous accreditation cycle (2006-2015) was called informed improvement, which empowers a culture of evidence-based decision-making dedicated to advancing student success. Informed improvement acknowledges the 21st century community college’s greatly increased capacity to gather and analyze relevant data, and to deploy that information to make the most effective use of the college’s resources. Placing an iterative process of critical inquiry at the heart of every college unit’s planning processes, informed improvement is premised upon the realization that every aspect of the college contributes to student learning and success.
In January of 2015, MCC received a Quality Initiative Recommendation indicating that the HLC formally accepted its informed improvement initiative as having completed the Quality Initiative requirement. In the report, the HLC praised the college's "focused purpose and excellent work." There were many outcomes of the project that drew praise, especially the shift in the college's culture and processes toward evidence-based decision-making dedicated to student success.