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Education

Higher Learning Commission places College of DuPage on 2 years' probation

Concerns center on integrity, governance of college

The College of DuPage is on probation for two years after the Higher Learning Commission expressed concerns about the integrity and governance of the college.
The College of DuPage is on probation for two years after the Higher Learning Commission expressed concerns about the integrity and governance of the college.

The Higher Learning Commission has placed the College of DuPage on probation for two years after expressing concerns about the integrity and governance of the college.

COD will remain accredited by the commission during the probationary period. The commission's action does not affect students' ability to receive academic credits or transfer them to another institution, COD officials said.

“We do not believe this decision by the Higher Learning Commission is reflective of the academic excellence we provide at College of DuPage,” COD acting interim President Joseph Collins said in a statement. “However, we will move swiftly to address all of the Higher Learning Commission’s concerns. In the meantime, students should be assured that we remain accredited during the probationary period, and the status of their credits is unchanged and will transfer just as before.”

Collins received a letter on Dec. 16 from Higher Learning Commission President Barbara Gellman-Danley stating that the commission at its Dec. 9 meeting decided to place COD on probation. The announcement comes after the sudden resignation of COD board Chairwoman Kathy Hamilton on Dec. 13.

According to the Higher Learning Commission's public disclosure notice, the commission's Board of Trustees found the college was out of compliance with criteria that “the institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions and it establishes and follows policies and processes for fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty, and staff.”

In addition, the commission found COD was not in compliance with criteria that "the institution’s governance and administrative structures promote effective leadership and support collaborative processes that enable the institution to fulfill its mission.”

The Higher Learning Commission also voiced concerns about whether “the institution’s mission demonstrates commitment to the public good” and whether “the governing board is sufficiently autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity."

The commission also expressed concerns about whether "the institution’s degree programs are appropriate to higher education" and whether "the institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs."

COD is required to file an assurance filing in February 2017 providing evidence that it has resolved the concerns the Higher Learning Commission board identified in the probation action and evidence that it meets the criteria for accreditation and core components. The college will host a comprehensive evaluation by April 2017 to determine whether the concerns the board identified in its action have been resolved and the criteria for accreditation have been met.

At its meeting in April 2017, the Higher Learning Commission board will review materials related to this evaluation and determine whether the college can be removed from probation, according to the public disclosure notice.

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