Leech Lake Recommended For 5-Year Accreditation

Aug 15th, 2006 | By | Category: 18-1: The Winding Road to Student Success, Tribal College News

A review team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA) announced on April 26 that it is recommending Leech Lake Tribal College (LLTC) for 5 years of accreditation—the longest any educational institution can be granted initial accreditation.

The team’s recommendations will be reported to the Higher Learning Commission in Chicago, IL, where they will be evaluated and a final decision made in September.

The four-member HLC review team members said they were impressed by LLTC’s progress since their last review in 2004, when the college was awarded continuing accreditation candidacy status. They thanked LLTC for “the incredible amount of time spent in preparing for this site visit.”

Dr. Mary Vanis, chair of the HLC review team, especially commended President Leah Carpenter and the college for its improved organizational leadership and for the strength of its external relationships.

Vanis said, “We feel that Leech Lake Tribal College has shown substantial improvements in its organizational management and leadership, especially by impacting the positive perceptions and attitudes about the value of your college to your internal and external constituents.”

“The college embraces its non-Native, as well as its Native community members,” she added. “It is obvious to us that this community loves you.”

Becoming an accredited institution will “bring Leech Lake Tribal College into the status of being an equal with other institutions of higher learning,” Vanis said.

Addressing the faculty and staff after the HLC team’s announcement, Carpenter said, “This is a great day for our college; all the hard work that has been invested in becoming an accredited institution of higher education has now been recognized and awarded.”

Founded in 1990 by the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, the college was accredited in 1991 by NCA as a certificate-granting technical institution. It did not have accreditation as a degree-granting college until now.

“Accreditation is a system for recognizing education institutions for a level of performance, integrity, and quality that entitles them to the confidence of the education community and the public they serve,” according to NCA guidelines. On the most practical level, accreditation signifies that students can easily transfer credits to other higher educational institutions.

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