Assessment Plan/Organization

Additional Information

Helpful Links

Research Department

Contact info

Cynthia Sexton Proctor, M.S.,
DACC Chair
Phone 816.604.3455

Kristy Bishop, Ph.D.,
Director of Research and Assessment
Phone 816.604.1165

Melissa Giese, M.A.,
Senior Research Analyst
Phone 816.604.1492



HLC-Open Pathways Project

In 2010-11, Metropolitan Community College became one of several institutions selected by the Higher Learning Commission to participate in the Open Pathways Project. The Pathways project is a proposed new model for continued accreditation.

According to HLC, the Open Pathway has the following goals:

  • To enhance institutional value by opening the Improvement Process for stable, healthy institutions so that they may choose Quality Initiatives to suit their current circumstances.
  • To reduce the reporting burden on institutions by utilizing as much information and data as possible from existing reports and collecting them in electronic for as they naturally occur over time.
  • To enhance rigor by using a system that checks institutional data annually, allows for additional assurance review as needed, and looks in depth twice in the 10-year cycle.
  • To integrate as much as possible all HLC processes and Commission requests for data into the Assurance Process and continued accreditation cycle.
  • To be as cost efficient as possible.


The project consists of two complementary components: (1) the Assurance Process, and (2) the Improvement Process.

  1. Assurance Process
    The Assurance Process consists of ongoing review and monitoring. Each year, the College submits an Annual Institutional Data Update (AIDU) which allows the HLC to review financial and non-financial indicators and follow up as needed. The process also consists of a more formal review, occurring in years four and ten of the accreditation cycle. The Assurance is based on evidence that is compiled and stored electronically. The fourth-year review consists of analysis of the electronic evidence file and a telephone or video conference, if needed. The tenth-year review adds a campus visit.

  1. Improvement Process (Quality Initiative)
    To complete the Improvement Process, the institution designs a Quality Initiative based on its own needs. The Quality Initiative includes a proposal that outlines the project and details the expected outcomes. The proposal is reviewed by a set of peer reviewers. Once approval occurs, the initiative is implemented. In general, initiatives may begin in years 5 or 7 and must conclude by year 9 of the 10-year accreditation cycle. Because MCC is serving as a pioneer institution, and thus the time frame is significantly shortened, the MCC’s Quality Initiative does not need to be completed by 2012.

    The Quality Initiative also includes a report, prepared by the institution at the conclusion of the project. The report is reviewed, typically at a distance, by a peer review team. A campus visit may be requested by the institution. The peer review team writes a report and recommendations. It should be noted that no sanctions can arise from the Quality Initiative.

Pathways at MCC

MCC’s reaccreditation date is scheduled for 2014-2015. As a result, our participation as a pioneer institution in the Pathways project means that our Assurance and Improvement Processes must be ready for review in 2013-2014.

MCC has made great strides toward meeting these new goals. To learn more about MCC’s current assessment efforts and its response to the Pathways Project for Reaccreditation, see the MCC Assessment newsletter and DACC minutes for updates.

Last Modified: 8/14/13