Public to play role in OTC accreditation

Public to play role in OTC accreditation

Friday, September 24, 2010

Contact

College Director of Communications
417.447.2655 publicinfo@otc.edu
Steve Koehler
Coordinator of Publications (417) 447-2666 koehlers@otc.edu

Many people might think the accreditation process that will occur soon at Ozarks Technical Community College is strictly an internal affair.

Far from it.

As OTC goes through regional accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and School in February, a key component of the process will be input from community stakeholders who have a vested interest in what OTC offers them.

OTC Online College Director Witt Salley, who is co-coordinator of OTC’s self-study process along with Katherine Perkins, dean of academic services, said it is important that the community care about OTC’s accreditation.

“Without accreditation, OTC and all the benefits we provide could not exist. Our students could not take advantage of federal financial aid, and there would be no guarantee that OTC classes would transfer to other accredited institutions,” Salley said.

The comprehensive accreditation site visit will be Feb. 7-9, 2011, as the commission seeks to determine if OTC is meeting established quality education standards.

“Accreditation is one way the College demonstrates, publicly, its commitment to quality and its willingness to be held externally accountable to those we serve,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, president of Ozarks Technical Community College.

While the commission will spend time on campus talking to students, faculty, staff, administrators and the Board of Trustees, the commission also will be soliciting comments from the general public along with various community, business and education groups.

In November, area residents will be notified with details about how to get those comments to the commission.

Perkins said OTC officials won’t see the comments until just before the commission’s site visit and will have the opportunity to review them during the commission’s visit.

“This process promotes transparency and accountability. People will be able to give positive comments or express their concerns,” Perkins said.

To learn more about OTC’s self-study and accreditation process, go to www.otc.edu/selfstudy.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications for Ozarks Technical Community College. Contact him at koehlers@otc.edu.