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West Shore Community College participates in the Open Pathway model of accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Open Pathways is one of three options institutions have for maintaining accreditation. Open Pathways follows a ten-year cycle and is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement.

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Periodic reviews are part of the Open Pathway cycle:

  • Annually – Open Pathway institutions submit an Institutional Update which is reviewed by HLC to monitor organizational health, compliance with certain federal requirements, and identify any changes that may require HLC follow up.
  • Year 4 – Institutions complete an Assurance Review at the fourth year. The institution provides documentation demonstrating how it fulfills each HLC criterion and core component. The documentation is reviewed by an evaluation team and recommends to the HLC’s Institutional Actions Council whether the institution should continue in the Open Pathway cycle or whether additional monitoring is required.
  • Years 5-9 – Institutions undertake a quality initiative project. HLC peer reviewers approve the project proposal as well as the final report of the project outcomes.
  • Year 10 – Institutions undergo a Comprehensive Evaluation to ensure compliance with HLC Criteria for Accreditation and U.S. Department of Education requirements. This review ultimately supports the institutions reaffirmation of accreditation.

If you have any questions regarding this report or its contents, contact Kathi Doan at 231-843-5824 or kdoan1@westshore.edu.

If you would like to contact the HLC directly, their contact information is below:

Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604

Accreditation Activities

HLC Correspondence

In 2016 West Shore Community College selected the Open Pathways model of accreditation through The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

Prior to 2016, West Shore participated in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) model of accreditation. Every college or university participating in AQIP creates and maintains a Systems Portfolio, a concise description of the organization’s fundamental systems for getting its work done and its goals accomplished.

The Systems Portfolio is organized around the nine AQIP categories. Within each category is a set of questions for each system or group of processes common to all higher education institutions.

HLC Correspondence:


Contact: Kathi Doan at kdoan1@westshore.edu or 231-843-5824

To contact the HLC directly:

Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604