Clovis Community College recently received its second 10-year independent accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission.
According to CCC President Becky Rowley, this continuation of accreditation primarily enables CCC to accept and disperse federal financial aid and makes the school eligible for various federal grants. Rowley said if CCC were not an accredited institution, it would not be able to serve nearly as many students.
Rowley said accreditation signifies CCC has demonstrated to its peers and different stakeholder and constituent groups it is a quality institution. High benchmarks were met and CCC is fulfilling its role as a community college, she said.
"It kind of gives us a chance to really demonstrate what our strengths are," Rowley said.
"What I think is kind of fun about it is that when they bring in a team that are basically our peers, we get to learn about what other colleges do and get ideas from other colleges."
Rowley said she was excited about looking at some of the suggestions by the Higher Learning Commission to improve the school.
Clovis Community College prepares for accreditation for about two years. During this time, a steering committee comprised of CCC faculty and staff is required to write a 200-page self-study that proves the school is doing what it says it is doing.
Becky Carruthers, CCC chair of division of business administration and technology, served on the steering committee. Carruthers said preparation consisted of numerous meetings and interviews with CCC staff and faculty and researching prior documents and data for hours.
She said the work is productive because it forces faculty and staff to closely examine the school's processes and ensure everything adds up.
"I think it is very important because it tells students that we (CCC) are of quality," Carruthers said.
"Students can be assured when they get an education here, it is worth their time, energy and money."
According to Rowley, the HLC studied the school's academic programs more carefully than other areas. The accreditation committee also looked at finances, faculty qualifications, hiring practices, maintenance of facilities and student life. Rowley said various students and nearly every CCC employee were interviewed in some capacity.
"I think the team that evaluated us wasn't nit picky," Rowley said.
"I think they really looked at us carefully and really tried to understand us and the students we serve and what we do and really gave us some good advice."
Clovis Community College received its first independent accreditation in 1987.