Ilisagvik College Earns Accreditation Again

Nov 15th, 2008 | By | Category: 20-2: Native Green, Tribal College News

Ilisagvik College (Barrow, AK) received word on July 28, 2008, that its application for regional accreditation has been re-affirmed by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. The letter followed an 18-month comprehensive review, both internal and external.  The college was first accredited in 2003.

“Gaining accreditation has been a long journey for the Iñupiat on the North Slope. It was a goal identified by our leaders back in the 1970s as a way to attain Iñupiaq self-determination and local control,” says Beverly Patkotak Grinage (Iñupiaq Eskimo), president of Ilisagvik College.

“This means that our students can continue to have their credits transferred to other accredited colleges; they can obtain federal student aid grants; and the college can continue to receive and apply for our much-needed grants and donations,” adds Grinage.

“Achieving this status is something that all North Slope residents can be proud of together. Without the support of our leaders, past and present, we could not have achieved this important distinction,” she says.

The evaluation committee commended the college for using its self study to significantly improve programs and services, for diversifying its funding sources through long-term planning, and for including Iñupiat cultural values throughout all its aspects.

The committee made two recommendations: assess outcomes for student graduates and leavers, including transfer and job placement rates, and regularly assess both adjunct and fulltime faculty. The resulting data is to be reviewed and used for ongoing improvements.

A follow-up visit on the recommendations will occur within two years. If the outcome is satisfactory, an interim visit with take place within five years, followed by a full scale visit in ten years.

Ilisagvik College Board of Trustees Chairman Jack Smith, upon hearing of the re-affirmation of accreditation, said, “Reaffirmation of accreditation serves to provide an independent evaluation of Ilisagvik’s efforts towards meeting workforce development and postsecondary needs of the North Slope, while maintaining academic standards. Being an accredited college means we are doing the job. Since joining the board nearly 10 years ago, accreditation was one of my highest priorities.”

The milestone for Ilisagvik College came just as staff and faculty were preparing for the fall 2008 semester. The college has many new programs and course offerings and more classes in the villages. Tribal colleges and universities are accredited by the same agencies using the same criteria as other colleges and universities in the United States.

For information, call (907) 852-3333 or (800) 478-7337.

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