College recommended for accreditation status
11/12/2002 12:00:00 AM
The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College is one step closer to receiving accreditation status following a recent three-day site visit by a team of evaluators.
Members from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools recommended accreditation of initial candidacy after they conducted a comprehensive evaluation visit of the college from Nov. 4-6.
"The recommendation still needs to be approved by the group's board of trustees, but it is likely that the team's recommendation will be accepted," stated Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College President Jeffrey Hamley.
Official notification will come sometime in February, according to Hamley. Since January, the college has been engaged in a process of self-study-addressing the commission's requirements and criteria for accreditation.
"Receiving accreditation status means that our credits are good at any other college or university," explained Hamley. "It also means we're operating at the same level of academic excellence and that we're eligible for federal financial aid and grants."
The Higher Learning Commission is one of six regional accrediting agencies in the United States. The commission accredits almost 1,000 higher education institutions in a 19-state region, including Michigan.
"The attainment of initial candidacy has been a long-standing goal of the Tribal college and we have finally met that objective," added Hamley. "The attainment of initial candidacy is the most significant event thus far in the history of the college."
Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College Board of Regents Chairperson Paul Johnson echoed those sentiments.
"It puts us in a whole new learning phase and levels the playing field," said Johnson. "It enhances our program tremendously and allows us to compete with Mid-Michigan Community College and Central Michigan University.
"Students will reap great benefits from our accreditation as they complete programs at the Tribal college and move on. We're a legitimate tool for improving their professional development."
The Saginaw Chippewa Tribal College also joined the American Indian Higher Education Consortium as an applicant member during the Nov. 1 membership meeting in Albuquerque, N.M.
"We are now formally part of the Tribal college family as we join this 30-year-old organization," Hamley also stated. "Now that initial candidacy has been achieved, the way is clear for the college to become a regular member of the consortium at the spring meeting to take place in Fargo, N.D."