Barton College prepares for HLC accreditation visit

A peer review team for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will visit Barton Community College this year. According to Mirna Perkins, BCC’s Chief Accreditation Officer and Director of Financial Aid, this is the last year of a 10 – year accreditation cycle. Thanks to the work done over the past decade, Perkins has expressed confidence in the outcome of the comprehensive visit.

“We are in good spirits when we go to visit,” Perkins told the BCC Board of Trustees’ monthly study session on Tuesday. Due to the nature of the visits, they expect the Pierre review team to “provide suggestions for our ongoing improvements”. But she said it should be considered a good thing.

“We have no sanctions,” Perkins said. “We have been doing accreditation work for 10 years. I would like to say that this is the cornerstone of our accreditation.

Significant changes require formal requests and reports. For example, one move Barton took this spring was to get approval to run a satellite-registered nursing program at Pratt Community College.

An HLC study survey was conducted there for compliance reporting. There are also federal compliance reports.

Perkins has served as an on-site visitor while reviewing other colleges.

Board Chairman Mike Johnson congratulated all the college staff who participated in this process.

“We’ve known for a while that we’ve been in a very good place,” Johnson said. “You and your team think it’s easy, we know it’s not easy.”

The final step in the 10-year cycle is to reaffirm accreditation.

Special meeting

Although Tuesday’s meeting was a study session with no action taken, there was a brief special meeting that took place just minutes before the study session. This allowed the board to go to the executive session to discuss a personal matter. No action was taken after the executive meeting.

Faculty Contracts

Another topic in the study session was the annual faculty contract renewal schedule. Board members reviewed the list of faculty on the expiration track, those who will be granted term with the next contract offer, those who have already expired and those who have not renewed the contract.

Barton’s president said the changes could come when the list comes before the board for formal approval at the next business meeting. Said Carl Heilman. “It looks like this now.”

Eight teachers are on the non-revised list. Carol Murphy and part-time instructor Carol Eriksson retire; James Miller has already left college and will not renew his contract; Brian Forsy, Kristen Hatcock, Shannon Schreiner and Lacy Swain resign. Christine Steele’s faculty contract as a nursing coach will not be renewed due to a position change. She is currently the Simulation Coordinator of the Nursing Program, which is a staff position.

There are 14 faculties on the tender track, four of whom are eligible for maturity this year, and 37 faculties of maturity. This includes two part-time faculty members.

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