Performance Excellence and Accreditation
Western uses a leadership and performance excellence model that integrates the mission, vision, and values; the strategic goals measured through Key Results; the Malcolm Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence; and the Higher Learning Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation. The College incorporates cycles of Plan, Do, Check, Adjust (PDCA) as the foundation for performance excellence efforts. Using the Baldrige framework to increase organizational learning has improved Western’s ability to function more effectively as a system. The Key Results are used to track performance relative to strategic goals. This has strengthened Western’s ability to collect, analyze, and share data to make informed decisions. Identifying key college processes related to the achievement of strategic goals has fostered a college-wide awareness of process management.
Western Technical College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Aligning the re-accreditation process with Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) and performance excellence efforts has enhanced Western’s ability to develop programs and services designed to help students learn and succeed. Western is committed to ongoing organizational learning and improvement to meet the evolving needs of all students. A number of Western’s academic programs also hold accreditations from national professional organizations.
What does it mean to be an accredited college?
- Quality: Accreditation means that a college meets standards of quality for administration, faculty, curriculum, library, financial management, and student services.
- Financial Aid: Students can only obtain federal financial assistance if their college has appropriate accreditation from an organization recognized by the United States Department of Education.
- Transfer Credits: If students want to transfer college credits to continue their education, accreditation is an important factor when a college is deciding whether to accept transfer credits from the student’s previous school.
Western’s current re-accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission Open Pathway will continue through 2022–2023. Additional information regarding the Open Pathway can be found at:
Timeline of Events
- Save the date! An HLC peer review team will visit Western to validate the statements the institution makes in the Assurance Argument as part of the college’s reaffirmation of accreditation. The comprehensive evaluation includes four elements:
- Student Opinion Survey (TBD -2 months prior to visit)
- Assurance Review (1 month prior to visit)
- Federal Compliance Review (1 month prior to visit)
- On-Site Peer Review Visit (October 7-8, 2024)
Campus Visit Information
- Western welcomes the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) on October 7-8, 2024. Their site visit is part of the reaffirmation of accreditation process to continue to offer credentials, financial aid, and college transfer credits to another college.
- Open Session Information - Coworkers and students are encouraged to attend open sessions with the peer reviewers. More information to follow.
- Student Open Session: TBD
- Faculty Open Session: TBD
- Staff Open Session: TBD
Core Team Members
- Eric Jacobson – Public Affairs Specialist, Marketing, Communications, and Legislative Advocacy
- Wade Hackbarth – Vice President, Finance and Operations
- Rebecca Hopkins – Dean, Academic Excellence, Education, and Human Services
- Denise Carr – Associate Dean, Business Education
- Nicole Cooksey – Curriculum Coordinator, Academic Excellence, Education, and Human Services
- Peggy Vogel – Teaching and Learning Coordinator, Academic Excellence, Education, and Human Services
- Amanda Misch – Employment Coordinator, Human Resources
- Sheila Rhodes – Scheduler, Institutional Effectiveness
- Sarah Lennon – Business Intelligence Analyst, Institutional Effectiveness
- Kira Guetschow – Research Analyst, Institutional Effectiveness
- Katie Mauss – Institutional Effectiveness Specialist, Institutional Effectiveness
- Brianne Shane – Director, Institutional Research, Institutional Effectiveness
- Tracy Dryden – Associate Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness
Criteria for Accreditation
Criterion 1: Mission
The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
Criterion 2: Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
Criterion 3: Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support
The institution provides quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
Criterion 4: Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
Criterion 5: Institutional Effectiveness: Resources and Planning
The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will conduct an Assurance Review of Western to determine if the college continues to meet the Criteria for Accreditation. The review consists of an Assurance Argument and Evidence File. The Assurance Argument is a narrative where the institution explains and confirms how it meets HLC's Criteria for Accreditation. For each of the five criteria, Western’s Assurance Argument will:
- Articulate how each Core Component within every Criterion is met.
- Provide a summary statement on additional ways the college fulfills the Criterion beyond the Core Components.
- Link to materials in the college’s Evidence File for each claim or argument made.
The college’s Evidence File contains supporting information for the Assurance Argument and may include materials, such as mission statements, budget documents, assessment and curriculum reports, meeting minutes from committees, course catalog, class schedules and specialized accreditation information.
Statement of Affiliation
- Accreditation Extension to Additional Sites
- Statement of Affiliation
- The Higher Learning Commission's Documentation of Western's Accreditation Status
- Western's Accreditation Cycle
Reaffirmation of Accreditation
2015 Reaffirmation of Accreditation
2011 AQIP Systems Portfolio – Baldrige Pilot
- 2011 Wisconsin Forward Award Application
- 2012 AQIP Systems Appraisal (Baldrige Option) Feedback Report
2008 Reaffirmation of Accreditation
2007 AQIP Quality Highlights and System Portfolio
Western Technical College is one of 16 Wisconsin technical colleges that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System. Western is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. Western is also a member of the American Association of Community Colleges, the American Technical Education Association, and the American Vocational Association.
Western follows the credentialing requirements set forth by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), and program-specific accrediting bodies. As part of the Faculty Credentialing Process, faculty are hired based on their expertise in the discipline, work-place experience and appropriate educational background and credentials.
Distance Education Authorization
Western Technical College has been approved to participate in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. SARA is an agreement among member states, districts, and territories that establishes comparable national standards for interstate offering of postsecondary distance education courses and programs.
Visit our State Authorization page or www.nc-sara.org to learn more.