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COD Releases HLC Letter and Report

College of DuPage today released an Oct. 15 letter and accompanying 45-page report from the Higher Learning Commission, its accreditation agency, which says COD does not meet two core components of the Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation, and that the Higher Learning Commission has concerns about how COD meets four other core components of the Criteria.

The HLC’s letter says the finding that COD does not meet two criteria could lead to sanctions, including possibly probation, or the lesser sanction of “notice.”

Nothing in the HLC’s letter implicates COD’s accreditation in the foreseeable future.

“HLC’s team has put considerable effort into its review of COD and its campus visits in May 2014 and July 2015. We appreciate its report and take very seriously its stated views,” said COD’s Acting Interim president Dr. Joseph Collins. “To report comprehensively on COD’s remediation and progress against the very issues identified by HLC, and other advances at the College, we are requesting a 60-day extension for our formal response."

HLC identified serious concerns over well-known issues at College of DuPage, such as credit assignments at the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy, linkages between College of DuPage Foundation board members and more than $200 million in non-competed construction contracts on campus, spending and lack of financial controls at the (now closed) Waterleaf Restaurant, irregularities regarding COD internal audits, a string of thefts from the College’s radio station, and the investment of more than $160 million of College funds contrary to Board policy, resulting in the loss of more than $2 million in taxpayer funds.

“COD’s academics are even better today than when Higher Learning Commission gave them comprehensive approval after its May 2014 visit. COD’s new leadership has made considerable strides in repairing damage it inherited, and returning COD to full compliance. Speaking for the Faculty Association, we are committed partners in that effort,” said Professor Glenn Hansen, president of the College of DuPage Faculty Association.

The HLC’s May 2014 visit and subsequent report found COD compliant in all 21 “core components” of accreditation. The HLC’s July 2015 visit, which was noticed up in a May 4 letter to COD, found non-compliance on two of those 21, and concerns about COD’s performance on four of them.

“We are looking very closely at the HLC’s points on those changes.  As we continue to improve we know we are building on a strong foundation,” Collins said.

“COD will take every necessary step to answer the HLC’s concerns.  We are accountable for effectively delivering world class adult education so our students can compete successfully in the globalized economy.  We will do so in full compliance with the HLC’s criteria,” said Kathy Hamilton, COD Board of Trustees Chairman.

HLC found COD non-compliant in the area of institutional integrity and in the area of effectiveness of administration and governance. The areas in which HLC found COD compliant, but about which it expressed concerns, were institutional mission, autonomous governance, degree programs and educational quality.

Released with statement:

Contact Randy Samborn: (312) 214-2300 or cell (312) 343-1142.

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