HLC team visits campus, speaks with students

Four representatives from the Higher Learning Commission visited campus Monday and Tuesday as the final step in CSC’s accreditation renewal.
The visitors toured the academic and administration buildings and spoke with numerous groups including the president’s cabinet, faculty, and students. The purpose of their tour was to validate the claims CSC made in their assurance argument, sent to HLC March 23.
Dean of the School of E.H.P.C.P.S.W. James Powell said due to effective planning, everyone on campus was comfortable with the visit.
“The thing that impressed me was the depth and level of participation here,” Powell said.
The lead member of the HLC review team, Henry Smith, mirrored Powell’s comment.
“Chadron has been very open and receptive,” Smith said. “They have accommodated any request.”
Smith added that CSC did an excellent job preparing for the visit.
Smith, a communications professor at Indiana Wesleyan University, Indianapolis, and another of the HLC team, Karen Vittengl, a psychology professor at Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, hosted a student open forum Monday night in the Student Center. They wanted to gain a student’s view of the positive and negative aspects of CSC.
They first asked the students why they chose CSC. A few responses were the number of clubs, a friendly campus, name recognition and more individual opportunities than larger schools, welcoming staff and faculty, and a supportive community.
Next they asked if there were any areas for improvement. Students replied with some issues about online classes, including slow response rates and lack of personal connections with the online professors.
Another student noted that some faculty on campus are not always helpful in giving guidance or putting students first.
The HLC team was also curious about the campus and community connection. The overall response was that the two groups are co-dependent, both need each other to survive. A few students offered examples: Spring Daze, The Big Event, sporting events, and theater productions, where community members mix with college students and support each other.
Another response was that the more effort a student puts into going out into the community and meeting community members, the more they feel connected with the town.
After the forum, Smith said from what he had seen and heard throughout the day, the feedback was generally affirmative.
The review team will now write a report of its findings and recommendation to the HLC board, who will determine if CSC’s accreditation will be renewed.
“I am cautiously optimistic,” Vice President of Academic Affairs Charles Snare said.
Snare said it usually takes three to four weeks to receive the HLC’s recommendation, but could take up to two months.

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