Nashua Community College has had an unusually busy fall. Aside from welcoming students to campus, launching new programs, and planning our annual scholarship fundraiser -- we’re also preparing for a visit from NEASC.
NEASC, or the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, is the New England-wide organization that ensures the academic and institutional quality of schools, colleges and universities across the region. A subset NEASC, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education will review Nashua Community College.
This comprehensive review of NCC happens once per decade, involving the entire college and surrounding community. For the past year, NCC has been undergoing the self-evaluation process, touching on every department, publication, and staff and faculty function, and next week we will have a cursory visit from the chairperson of the accreditation visiting team. Finally in spring, we will host the evaluation team, which will ensure that our self-study is thorough and accurate.
An institution must be accredited by a federally approved accreditation agency in order to take part in the federal student aid program. The accreditation is also an invaluable opportunity for intensive self-evaluation and third-party feedback on the operations and overall success of an institution.
As NEASC puts it, “Accreditation by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education represents the Commission’s judgment that the institution meets the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation* and demonstrates that it has clearly defined purposes appropriate to an institution of higher learning; has assembled and organized those resources necessary to achieve its purposes; is achieving its purposes; and has the ability to continue to achieve its purposes.”
However to get a complete picture, NEASC needs a broad sample of voices; which is where all members of the community can participate:
“The Commission accepts Public Comments from students, faculty, staff, and members of the public,” according to NEASC, which also specified the nature of feedback requested, “The Public Comment process is intended to inform the Commission about substantive matters related to institutional quality. It is not designed to address personal grievances or provide a remedy to individuals in disputes with institutions.”
For instance, “big picture” critiques such as NCC’s role in the Greater Nashua labor pipeline; what’s working and what can be improved? Or, is there a program you would like to see offered at NCC? Is there a program that you feel is underutilized?
Along with NEASC, we encourage the public to submit comments via mail to:
Nashua Community College staff and faculty are looking forward to welcoming the NEASC team to campus, and to learn how we can continue to strive toward delivering top Associate, Certificate and career-training programs right here in Nashua. We would also like to extend our thanks to anyone in the community who shares their insights on NCC.
*NEASC Standards for Accreditation can be found online at https://cihe.neasc.org/standards-policies/standards-accreditation.
Lucille Jordan is President of Nashua Community College, located at 505 Amherst St., Nashua.
This column appeared in the October 28, 2017 edition of The Telegraph.