North Idaho College is going through an accreditation status review with our institutional accrediting body, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The review, which is a special review outside the NWCCU’s typical sever-year cycle, has been ongoing since 2021, though concerns related to accreditation eligibility requirements and standards go back several years.
In this review, the NWCCU is reviewing the college to ensure compliance with NWCCU Eligibility Requirements and Standards.
NIC will post any official communications to or from the NWCCU, as well as any other programmatic accreditors through which NIC programs have field-specific accreditation, below.
North Idaho College is a member institution with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). NIC’s accreditation status is Extension of Show Cause.
NWCCU’s most recent notification on the institution’s accreditation status on July 7, 2023 to extend the show cause sanction.
NWCCU is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
The college's show cause sanction has been continued. NIC remains accredited.
NIC’s Radiography Technology program received a probation sanction from its programmatic accreditor, the Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT), as the result of the NIC’s institutional accreditation review with the college’s institutional accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). JRCERT discussed the program’s accreditation status during a June 13 meeting after conducting an unannounced site visit to NIC Feb. 27-28. The college received notification of the program’s probation status June 20.
Consultants with the Association of Community College Trustees have shared correspondence they’ve sent to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) regarding their work with the NIC Board of Trustees on board development and training.
ACCT consultants Ken Burke and Debbie DiThomas sent the NWCCU a June 16 letter updating the accrediting commission on progress the board has made in 11 areas, as well as five areas of concern. Burke and DiThomas also shared a previous update they sent on March 27 to the NWCCU for public release.
North Idaho College submitted its last official report to its accrediting body, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), in advance of the college’s June 23 hearing regarding its accreditation status. NIC’s May 30 report is the college’s response to a May 17 site visit report submitted by a peer evaluation team from the NWCCU regarding the college’s show cause review. The peer evaluation team visited the NIC campus April 26-27 to confirm information in NIC’s March 30 show cause response.
The May 30 report details improvements made by the college and the NIC Board of Trustees toward compliance with NWCCU Eligibility Requirements and Standards in recent months, as well as the college’s concerns about “ambiguous ‘potential inaccuracies’” noted by the peer evaluation team in their site visit report. Trustee Greg McKenzie provided an appendix titled “Input from the Board Chair” that was submitted to the NWCCU in addition to the college’s report.
NIC received the final Peer-Evaluation Report on May 17 from the peer team representing the NWCCU, who conducted a site visit, April 26-27. Receipt of the report is the next step in NIC’s accreditation review process. Next month, the NWCCU will deliberate at their June 20-23 meeting. A team of NIC leadership will have the opportunity to attend and meet with the commission to discuss not only the Peer-Evaluation Report but other progress NIC and the Board of Trustees are making to address issues raised in the Show-Cause report.
The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) continued the programmatic accreditation of the NIC Nursing program after a regular eight-year cycle review. In a May 5 letter, the ACEN notified the college of continued programmatic accreditation through 2030; however, if the college’s institutional accreditation through the NWCCU is withdrawn, the NIC Nursing program would be ineligible for programmatic accreditation through the ACEN.
The NWCCU released a statement regarding the April 26-27 onsite visit by a peer evaluation team. The statement includes general information about the visit, as well as information about the next steps in the review process (peer evaluation team report; deliberation by the NWCCU at their June 20-23 meeting; notice to NIC of the NWCCU's decision by late July).
North Idaho College submitted a response to the NWCCU’s show cause sanction on Thursday, March 30. The college’s response addresses eight areas of risk identified by the NWCCU in its Feb. 9 show cause sanction. NIC was required to include an overarching teach-out plan – not a formal teach-out agreement – with its show cause response. NIC's teach-out plan was submitted as a separate document with the show cause response but has not been made public as it contains student information protected under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Read NIC’s response below:
The Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) conducted an unannounced site visit to NIC Feb. 27-28, 2023. The JRCERT policies and procedures required the unannounced visit after the issuance of the show cause sanction by NWCCU. On March 14, JCERT issued NIC a report of that visit.
Interim President Greg South provided an ad hoc report to the NWCCU following the NIC Board of Trustees’ Feb 22 meeting. The letter provides an update on board development. The letter and report can be viewed in full below:
The NWCCU sent NIC a letter February 16 to reschedule upcoming dates. The date for NIC to submit its response to the show cause letter is now March 31, and the NWCCU’s on-site visit has been rescheduled to April 26 and 27. The letter can be viewed below:
The NWCCU sent a letter to North Idaho College at the end of the day on Thursday, February 9, 2023 at 4:42 p.m. PST. This letter recognizes that the NWCCU reviewed the college’s response letter sent in early January and the Commission’s continued watch of recent actions of the NIC Board of Trustees.
The letter issues NIC a Sanction of Show Cause and requires the college to submit a Show Cause Report, due March 13, 2023. The letter sent may be viewed below:
- NWCCU February 9 Letter to NIC
(The NWCCU changed the due date for NIC's show cause response to March 31, 2023.)
Interim President Greg South sent the NWCCU two letters in early February updating the commission on recent opportunities in which the NIC Board of Trustees participated in constructive, meaningful training in an effort to fulfill its governance responsibilities outlined by the NWCCU Standards and Eligibility Requirements. The letters can be viewed below:
North Idaho College responded to the NWCCU’s letter from Dec. 17 in a report dated Jan. 4.
The report included recommendations to the NIC Board of Trustees from college administrators to address the NWCCU’s concerns.
NIC’s response also asked for the opportunity to host a site visit before the NWCCU considers any decision about the college’s accreditation status.
The Jan. 4 letter was amended Jan. 12 by the college due to a meeting date error.
The NWCCU Executive Committee met on Dec. 16 to discuss recent actions of NIC’s Board of Trustees while the college was under a sanction of warning.
The NWCCU sent NIC a letter on Dec. 17 regarding the executive committee’s concern that recent actions “appear to place the institution at significant risk of being out of compliance with a number of NWCCU Eligibility Requirements and Standards.”
The letter also required NIC to submit a response by Jan. 4.
In the spirit of transparency regarding the process for the Idaho State Board of Education to appoint trustees for Zones, 1, 2 and 5, NIC Interim President Michael Sebaaly shared the SBOE’s release of candidate names, as well as interview and selection information.
The Idaho State Board of Education released a message to Region 1 high school counselors and advisors on April 20 regarding NIC’s accreditation status and review.
The release confirmed that the NWCCU’s warning sanction does not impact NIC’s ability to grant legitimate and valid credits, certificates and degrees.
The NWCCU gave NIC an official warning with an action letter on April 1. The letter notifies NIC of several areas of non-compliance, particularly in governance and institutional integrity, and gave recommendations and requirements for the college to meet during a monitoring period.
NIC responded to the NWCCU’s external peer panel’s special evaluation visit report that responded to six areas of concerns related to the college’s compliance with NWCCU Eligibility Requirements and Standards.
The college’s response emphasizes that “operations at NIC continue to thrive through ongoing governance concerns.”
On March 2, the NWCCU notified NIC of an external peer panel’s report of their virtual visit to the college on Jan. 18 and required the college to submit a response by March 12.
The letter also notified the college of the NWCCU’s plans to hold a virtual special meeting that would include a Q&A session with NIC representatives.
An external peer panel of experts in higher education virtually visited NIC to review the college’s compliance with NWCCU’s Eligibility Requirements and Standards.
The Idaho State Board of Education notified the NIC Board of Trustees of “deep concern about the trajectory of NIC” after the NWCCU’s receipt of complaints and an exodus of top-level college leadership.
The SBOE encouraged NIC to complete an accreditation response action plan and discussed the potential impacts of losing accreditation.
The NWCCU appointed a panel of experts to review the college’s accreditation status and notified NIC of a site visit requirement for the panel to review NIC’s compliance with Eligibility Requirements and Standards. The letter asked for NIC to arrange the site visit in January 2022.
In a Nov. 1 letter to the college, the NWCCU notified the college of a second complaint from regional human rights tasks forces concerning college leadership after the NIC Board of Trustees terminated NIC President Rick MacLennan without cause in late August and appointed Michael Sebaaly as interim president in October.
The complaint was filed by the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations and human rights task forces from Spokane County, Bonner County and Boundary County.
The NWCCU accepted NIC’s response to the complaint filed against the college by regional human rights task forces and required the college to submit an ad hoc report regarding its governing board in addition to its 2022 Annual Report by August 1, 2022.
In a June 10 report, NIC responded to the NWCCU’s inquiry about a complaint filed by regional human rights tasks force regarding the college’s compliance with accreditation eligibility requirements and standards.
The college’s response addressed complaints regarding three specific eligibility requirements – non-discrimination, governance and academic freedom – and provided evidence to show “that from an operational standpoint, NIC meets or exceeds the standards affiliated with the three aforementioned eligibility requirements.”
Members of the NIC Board of Trustees – Todd Banducci, Michael Barnes, Ken Howard, Greg McKenzie and Christie Wood – each signed and jointly submitted a statement to the NWCCU regarding concerns about non-discrimination, governance and academic freedom after their May 26 meeting.
The statement addressed board authority and delegation to the president; board training; reinstatement of a board conduct policy; consideration of the views of constituent groups; and board leadership.
The NWCCU sent NIC notification of their receipt of the formal complaint from regional human rights task forces regarding the college, the NIC Board of Trustees and alleged violations of NWCCU Eligibility Requirements and Standards for accreditation.
The NWCCU’s letter required an institutional response to three Eligibility Requirements – non-discrimination, governance and academic freedom – by June 10.
The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations sent a letter to the NWCCU and the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department with an official complaint of civil right and liberties violations at NIC.
The complaint was also signed by human rights task forces from Spokane County, Bonner County and Boundary County. It outlined concerns regarding board governance and individual trustee actions from September 2020 to February 2021.