During the November East Central College Board of Trustees meeting Vice President of Instruction Jean McCann updated trustees on the recent visit by an independent accreditation team from the National Association of Schools of Music.

NASM is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities that establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials.

“We submitted a self-study in September and the team met with students, faculty and staff during their visit,” McCann said Monday, Nov. 5.

She said a preliminary report from the association is expected in December and the school’s status as NASM accredited will be decided next fall.

During that time students and faculty will have an opportunity to work with the feedback left by the NASM commissioners.

“The team members discussed some of their concerns regarding facilities and offered suggestions on how we can address those,” McCann said.

A number of other programs including health information management, early childhood education, art/graphic design, nursing and the Learning Center, are in various stages in the pursuit of voluntary external accreditation.

“These accreditations are important  — it really speaks to students. It helps them when the look to transfer on or find work,” said College president Dr. Jon Bauer. “It also gives us a chance for a third party to look at areas where we can improve”

Additonally, Bauer reported to trustees Monday night that a 117-page portfolio was submitted last week to the Academic Quality Improvement Program to fulfill the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process.

Every four years, East Central College and other community colleges are required to complete an accreditation evaluation.

Through AQIP, ECC integrates principles of improvement to advance the quality of the education it offers.

These principles help the college demonstrate it consistently meets the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools criteria for accreditation.

“Accreditation is important to our students because it reinforces that these are quality programs and also determines our eligibility for participation in federal and state financial aid programs,” Bauer said.