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03 July 2014

Middle States Commission on Higher Education Removes Warning and Reaffirms HACC’s Accreditation

HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, meets all standards

HARRISBURG, Pa. – HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, received notification today the College was found to be in compliance with all standards from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

HACC’s accreditation was reaffirmed after correcting the issues that led to the warning issued by the Commission in November 2012 following the College’s five-year periodic review. Since then, the College has successfully met the Commission’s requirements in all areas and has instituted the necessary structures and practices to sustain compliance.

HACC President John J. “SKI” Sygielski, Ed.D., said, “HACC has much to be proud of, and the efforts of all to comply with Middle States’ standards should be commended. We are pleased with the improvements that the College has made and will continue our efforts in all areas to embrace Middle States’ recommendations.”

The Commission requested a progress report, due March 1, 2016, documenting further assessment of general education outcomes, and evidence that assessment results are utilized to improve teaching and learning. The Commission’s next evaluation visit is scheduled for 2017-18.

The timeline of the involvement of the Commission follows:

  • 2007 – HACC submitted a self-study report and was reaccredited by the Commission.
  • 2007 – A Middle States review team recommended that the College develop a documented, organized and sustained assessment process for individual courses to evaluate and improve student learning. The reviewers also suggested adopting a “one-college” philosophy and implementing institutional effectiveness.
  • 2009 – HACC submitted a monitoring report noting the College implemented a comprehensive plan to assess student learning, but developing long-term assessment plans and initiating General Education assessment encountered some difficulty.
  • 2010 – The Commission requested a second progress report.
  • April 2010 – The College’s second report documented progress, particularly with Standards 7, 12 and 14. However, the report noted a majority of departments had successfully implemented course assessment but were behind with the integration of course assessment into program assessment. It also acknowledged that from 2009 to 2010, implementation of assessment was delayed by the College reorganization.
  • July 5, 2011 – John J. “Ski” Sygielski, Ed.D., the current HACC president, was hired.
  • June 1, 2012 – HACC submitted its five-year periodic review report, which noted:
    • The College had long been engaged in various assessments but tended to change direction before improvements based on the findings were fully implemented.
    • Upon taking office as HACC’s seventh president on July 15, 2011, Dr. Ski initiated a wholesale analysis regarding efficiency improvements collegewide.
  • Nov. 15, 2012 – The Commission issued a warning to HACC regarding the College’s performance on three of the 14 standards for accreditation.
  • December 2012 through May 2014 – HACC worked to correct the issues identified in the warning.
  • Sept. 1, 2013 – HACC submitted a monitoring report to prove that the College achieved compliance and can sustain compliance in the three standards.
  • Sept. 24 and 25, 2013 – The Commission’s peer review team visited the College to meet with College employees, students and board members.
  • Sept. 25, 2013 – The Commission’s peer review team verbally presented a report to the HACC community, noting the College is now in compliance with Standard 7 (Institutional Assessment) and Standard 14 (Assessment of Student Learning). However, the College is not in compliance with Standard 12 (General Education).
  • November 2013 – The peer review team’s report was submitted to the Commission for formal action.
  • March 1, 2014 – HACC submitted a follow-up monitoring report outlining its improvements for Standard 12 (General Education).
  • April 29 through May 1, 2014 – The Commission’s peer review team visited the College to learn about the progress the College has made toward complying with Standard 12.
  • May 1, 2014 – The Commission’s peer review team verbally presented a report to members of the College community.
  • June 26, 2014 – The Commission removed the warning for Standard 12 (General Education) and reaffirmed accreditation.

Updates related to Middle States and accreditation can be found on HACC’s website.

About HACC
HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, offers more than 150 career and transfer associate degree, certificate and diploma programs to nearly 20,000 students at campuses in Gettysburg, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon and York and through online classes. In addition, HACC serves more than 29,000 students in noncredit workforce development, public safety, adult basic education and continuing education programs offered at all campuses and off-site locations in many communities in Central Pennsylvania. For more information on how HACC is uniquely YOURS, visit


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