On December 2 and 3, 2019, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation team of Dr. Sandra Bowles, Director of Special Projects at University of Charleston and Dr. Casmir Agbaraji, Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Navajo Technical University, performed an on-site visit to assess Central Wyoming College’s readiness and capacity to provide bachelor’s level education, as well as details on stakeholder input, required approvals, and the extent to which college faculty and staff were involved in the process of preparing to offer the new degree program.
The Higher Learning Commission has specific criteria for accreditation that they utilize in their evaluation, with respect to an institution’s mission (does the proposed degree serve the mission); integrity (has the college conducted itself ethically and responsibly in the process); resources, planning, and institutional effectiveness (proper planning and resources for the new program have been effectively and adequately prepared); and teaching and learning (the bachelor’s level of credentialing and rigor in instruction and assessment are in place for the new degree) to name just a few.
The two reviewers spent time prior to the visit reading through CWC’s application submitted by Vice President of Academic Affairs Kathy Wells which was more than 158 pages of supporting information regarding the proposed Bachelor of Applied Science in Organizational Management and Leadership, with options in Tribal Leadership and Business-Entrepreneurship Leadership.
The site visit is the seventh and final step in the approval process for Central Wyoming College. The college anticipates a final decision by the HLC some time at the end of March or early April. CWC is prepared to offer the degree to students in fall 2020 if approved by HLC.
“I’m so tremendously grateful for our communities and the amount of support we’ve received in this endeavor. The legislators in our communities really made all this possible. They need to be recognized for the important legislation they passed to make this degree application possible. I’m especially thankful for the critical support we got from both the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho business councils. Their official resolutions and their letters of support to legislators were very important. Members of both tribes met with the HLC officials and made a strong case for the BAS,” CWC President Brad Tyndall explained.