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29 November 2012

HACC receives warning on three of 14 standards required by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

HARRISBURG – On Nov. 15, 2012, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, one of six regional higher education institution accrediting agencies in the nation, issued a warning to HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, regarding the College’s performance on three of the Commission’s 14 standards.
The standards in question are institutional assessment, assessment of general education and assessment of student learning. The Commission’s action is based on the Periodic Review Report submitted by the College that covers the five-year period from 2007-12.
The Commission stressed that HACC is and will remain accredited while on warning. The Commission set a Sept. 1, 2013, deadline for documenting that the College has achieved compliance and can sustain compliance in these three standards.
 “I am confident that HACC will meet these requirements,” said HACC President John J. “Ski” Sygielski, Ed.D. “The College is – and has been – addressing these issues and already has taken a number of steps toward the development and implementation of an organized and sustainable assessment process, including direct measures as required by the Commission.”
He continued, “The steps taken by the College also show an organized and sustainable process to assess the achievement of expected learning outcomes in all programs, including general education.”
Among those steps are:
  • Course assessment started in 2007
  • Office of Institutional Effectiveness established in 2011
  • Office of Institutional Effectiveness reorganized
  • Strategic Plan for Assessment is under way
  • College-wide Assessment Committee established
  • Faculty in-service presentations given
  • Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management instituted assessments to measure student engagement for planning and improvement
- Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) conducted in fall 2012 – the results are already being used in planning discussions
- Survey of Entering Student Engagement will be administered in spring 2013
“The faculty and the Office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management have worked hard on implementing student learning assessment and assessing student engagement,” Sygielski added.
Among the steps taken to show that assessment information is used to improve teaching and learning are:
  • Learning outcomes revised in curriculum documents
  • Assessment of student learning procedures set up to collect information and retain documentation of assessment activities
  • Anecdotal evidence is being collected within disciplines and departments
  • Procurement of assessment management software is moving forward
Five years after an institution’s 10-year accreditation has been reaffirmed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the institution is required to submit a Periodic Review Report, which is a retrospective, current and prospective analysis of the institution.
HACC was the first community college in the region to be accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in 1967.
About HACC:
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, was established in 1964 as the commonwealth’s first community college. HACC offers nearly 200 associate career and transfer degrees, certificate and diploma programs to more than 22,000 credit students in a 10-county area with regional campuses in Harrisburg, Gettysburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York, and an online Virtual Campus that reaches students on a global scale. In addition, HACC is Central Pennsylvania’s premier workforce development provider with thousands of students enrolled in areas such as job training, customized company contracts, public safety, healthcare, technology, trades and computer training. For more information, go to or call 1-800-ABC-HACC (1-800-222-4222). 
About Middle States:
Per the Middle States website, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is responsible for more than 525 accredited and candidate institutions, located in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other locations abroad. The Commission accredits only degree-granting institutions, including colleges, universities, military academies and religious seminaries. The accreditation process is a voluntary, self-regulatory, peer review process. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education and its evaluators use information provided by candidate and member institutions as a foundation for review of activities in conjunction with onsite interviews and data gathering in order to determine whether an institution meets the Commission’s requirements of affiliation and standards for accreditation. For more information, go to

Pam Saylor
HACC Public Relations
717-221-1300 x1558

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