Gila Community College Receives Passing Grade From Higher Learning Commission

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Gila County Community College campuses, located in Globe, Payson and San Carlos, faced a role reversal when they were tested by a private higher education accrediting agency.

They passed.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges observed and evaluated Gila Community College in January and said that the "college conforms to the institution's description," according to the commission's visit report.

Karen Solinski, assistant director for legal and governmental affairs with the Higher Learning Commission, said that the college was observed and evaluated as part of a re-evaluation process that accredited schools usually undergo every 10 years.

Solinski said that Gila Community College is already an accredited school, and accreditation is important to receive government funding.

The report, given by evaluator Laurie Pemberton, which explained the evaluation of the faculty, facilities, educational resources and financial resources, gives "yes" marks to all aspects of the college.

The only suggestion given by Pemberton at the conclusion of the report was for the colleges to hire more full-time faculty.

"A large number of adjunct faculty deliver instruction ... as programs are expanded, consideration should be given to funding more full-time faculty positions," she said in the report.

The report was discussed at the governing board meeting for the college on Friday. Chairman Robert Ashford seemed pleased with the results of the evaluation.

He pointed out to the board that the report "complimented the staff and college as being student-centered."

While Ashford was content with the passing grade and predominantly positive comments that Pemberton made, member Larry Stephenson pointed out to the board that he and member Don Crowley were concerned with the disparity between northern and southern Gila County, as noted in the report.

"We talked about the good part, now we can talk about the bad," Stephenson said.

According to the report, "Two members of the GCC board (representing the Payson area) are concerned that there may be unmet needs of the northern Gila area."

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