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Education

College of DuPage gains positive marks from Higher Learning Commission peer review team

COD was placed on probation in 2015

College of DuPage
College of DuPage

College of DuPage officials are confident of the progress the college has made following a Higher Learning Commission peer review team's recommendation that the institution receive no sanctions.

In December 2015, the commission put the college on probation for two years after expressing concerns about its integrity and governance.

COD board Chairwoman Deanne Mazzochi said the team's recommendation "reflects the college's diligent work to strengthen the institution further."

"There's obviously still some additional work left to do," Mazzochi said during the Board of Trustees' regular meeting July 20. "Even the best of institutions have room for improvement. But having this independent, third-party comprehensive review of the college from our accreditors is one of the best ways for us to learn where changes and improvements can be made. And we're going to continue this work to ensure compliance with the HLC and fulfill our mission to be a center of excellence for the residents of District 502."

James Benté, COD's vice president of planning and institutional effectiveness, updated trustees about the situation during the meeting. The peer review team’s recommendation will be forwarded to the Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Actions Council before being considered by the commission's Board of Trustees in November.

"They could have recommended three different types of sanctions," Benté told COD trustees. "Their recommendation of no sanctions is the best result we could have hoped for."

In its evaluation, the peer review team said the recent election of new board members and the adoption of new polices and processes "will help the college move past prior issues and work more cohesively as a board and administration."

The college has tried to address the Higher Learning Commission's concerns by doing such things as requiring all employees to undergo ethics training, converting the Waterleaf restaurant into a purely instructional operation and creating a board audit committee.

COD President Ann Rondeau has said the college also has tried to improve its transparency, and the college's Board of Trustees is now following stricter rules.

"There are very strict parliamentary processes and parliamentary rules [in place] based upon Robert's Rule of Order, which was not being done at times," Rondeau previously said. "There has been a lot of board training in ethics, parliamentary procedures and board training in investment accounts."

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