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  • Writer's pictureErin B.

North Idaho College Accredited, NWCCU Confirms

On Friday, North Idaho College leadership received a letter from the NWCCU confirming that the college is still accredited. After much deliberation and an in-person meeting with President Swayne and NIC board leadership, the NWCCU came to the decision that NIC remains accredited through a continuation of the show-cause sanction.

President Swayne addressed students in an email sent out Friday morning:

We received the NWCCU’s decision this morning, and NIC remains accredited through a continuation of the show-cause sanction.

The NWCCU acknowledged significant improvement by NIC since the Commission’s February 9, 2023 letter. There were 18 areas identified in that February letter, and six of those have been fully addressed. Of the 12 recommendations identified in today's letter, three have been noted as in substantial compliance. The remaining nine will require significant work. The college remains committed to addressing all concerns.

We are relying on our community for continued support as we make forward progress in the challenging work ahead.

NIC remains accredited. All courses are accredited, and all credits are transferable.

Enroll today, and join us on August 10 for our 90th anniversary celebration as we continue a legacy of lifelong learning for the North Idaho community.

I look forward to seeing you in Fall Semester.

Nick Swayne

NIC updated the Accreditation Key Points page after the email to students going into detail about the identified areas that still require work:

NIC remains under review with the NWCCU and must demonstrate compliance with specific recommendations.

The NWCCU noted three areas in which the college is substantially compliant but needs to improve:

  • Procedures for Presidential evaluation and policies for retention of Presidential evaluation records need to be developed and executed.

  • The Board must understand, embrace, and adhere to existing shared governance structures in place at North Idaho College and comply with them.

  • The college must ensure transparency regarding financial resources by ensuring that processes to inform faculty and staff are consistent from year to year and processes to inform Board members regarding financial decisions are applied equitably.

The show cause extension also lists 9 recommendations that the college needs to address:

  • The Board and College President should continue training and development activities to improve governance, ensure that policies on ethics and general conduct are followed, and demonstrate a sustained commitment to the requirements and standards of NWCCU member institutions manifested through concrete actions over time.

  • The Board must resolve the issues underpinning all "No Confidence" resolutions and demonstrate a willingness to work with and support faculty, staff, and students when their concerns are communicated.

  • The college and its Board must take action to resolve the uncertainties regarding both the leadership and accreditation status of the institution in order to improve retention of existing employees and fill current vacancies.

  • The Board must advance specific policies, procedures, and take timely and definitive action to mitigate or eliminate the risks identified in the NWCCU Show Cause letter, dated February 9, 2023.

  • Through its governance system, North Idaho College should work to achieve consensus between the Board and college leadership to identify internal and external strategic initiatives and to jointly create and execute plans to address them.

  • The Board and College President should ensure that they adhere to the inclusivity articulated in the college's planning and decision-making processes. The Board and College President should demonstrate a commitment to an environment respectful of meaningful discourse, in their official capacities and when interacting with each other

  • As per North Idaho College policy, the President should create a strong new board member on-boarding program as well as ongoing development related to board governance, roles and responsibilities, effective participation, conflict of interest identification and ethics.

  • The Board must act to unequivocally identify one CEO/President for the institution and ensure that individual has a valid contract and ensure that the President has a clear understanding of their conditions of employment, rights, responsibilities, and criteria and procedures for evaluation, retention, and termination.

  • The college should resolve current litigation, governance, and accreditation issues that have had a current and immediate impact on actual, current, and budgeted expenditures and which, if unresolved, will impact long-term financial stability of the institution.

The college will be under heightened monitoring through the extension.

As NIC is still under a show-cause sanction, the NWCCU will be back multiple times over the next few years as they have until April 1, 2025 to return to good standing.

  • Special report and site visit in Fall 2023

  • Special report and site visit in Spring 2024

  • Mid-Cycle Review in Fall 2024

  • Typical Year 6 Review of NWCCU Standard 2 in Spring 2026

  • Typical Year 7 Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness in Spring 2027

If the college has not received a status of good standing by then, the NWCCU must withdraw the college's accreditation, per NWCCU policy and federal requirements.

No word on if Christie Wood’s Human Rights Task Force will be filing another complaint because they don’t like this outcome.

Read the full letter from the NWCCU here.

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