The Higher Colleges of Technology is embarking on another phase of its growth as a leading higher education provider in the United Arab Emirates when it hosts next week representatives from a leading North American accrediting commission.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), headed by its President Dr. Sandra Elman and Commissioner Dr. James E. Seidelman, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Westminster College, Salt Lake City, Utah will visit HCT campuses from May 11-13 as part of a pre-accreditation candidacy inspection.
HCT Dean for Academic Advancement and Accreditation Peter Scanlan said the pre-candidacy visit was part of forward-planning actions under the HCT’s The Way Forward Institutional Development Plan for 2009-2010.
“We are proceeding with the next stage of seeking institutional accreditation with a North American accrediting commission. Accreditation recognizes higher education institutions for performance, integrity, and quality to merit the confidence of the national leadership, the educational community and the public,” Mr Scanlan said.
“The purpose of their visit is to meet with the Vice Chancellor, Provost and senior management of HCT, talk with faculty, staff and students at two campuses and also visit classes to observe a typical classroom environment.”
The NWCCU team will visit Abu Dhabi Men’s College and Al Ain Women’s College and will also meet with Ministry officials.
The NWCCU has recently decided to consider international applications for accreditation and has a strong reputation for accrediting a diversity of institutions. It accredits in several different states including rural and populous states and including small and large colleges and traditional and non-traditional campuses.
Mr Scanlan said the NWCCU team will be keen to learn as much as possible about HCT and the context in which it operates so that they are well informed to share their observations with the NWCCU Board of Commissioners at the Commission’s July 2010 meeting when the HCT’s Application for Consideration for Candidacy will be reviewed.
“They wish to see the similarities and differences with a typical U.S. College and to understand the UAE education system,” he said.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) is one of six regional accreditation agencies operating in the United States of America. In the US higher education, regional accreditation performs a number of important functions including the encouragement of efforts towards maximum educational effectiveness.
The accreditation process offers an opportunity for all members of the institution: faculty, administrators, staff, students, alumni, and board members to participate in a focused process that results in ongoing institutional improvement. Following this institutional review or self-study, a committee of peers conducts a comprehensive onsite evaluation.
NWCCU is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. It fulfills its mission by establishing accreditation criteria and evaluation procedures by which institutions are reviewed.
The Commission oversees regional accreditation for 162 institutions. Its decision-making body consists of up to twenty-six Commissioners who represent the public and the diversity of higher education institutions within the Northwest region.