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NCA Reaccreditation
28 January 2010

BISMARCK (UTN) - United Tribes Technical College is preparing for its NCA reaccreditation visit April 18-20, 2011. You are important to this process. The Self-Study Committee wants you to know more about the visit so that you may prepare yourself. Here is some general information for you to become familiar with.

      Who is NCA? NCA is a nongovernmental organization that reviews the quality of our programs and decides our accreditation status based on what they learn from us.

Russell Swagger

      What is accreditation? Accreditation is a process of reviewing an organization based on its mission and criteria established by NCA.

      What are the criteria? 1. Mission and Integrity; 2. Preparing for the Future; 3. Student Learning and Effective Teaching; 4. Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge; and 5. Engagement and Service.

      How does NCA accomplish this review? They send a team of experts to our school to review our key self study document, other documents, processes and policies, and they visit with everyone including our board of directors, students, administration, staff and faculty. Their goal is to gather as much evidence as they can to make a recommendation for accreditation.

      What are we asking NCA to accredit? To grant us the continued authority to offer any and all certificate and degree programs, authority to offer any and all degree programs on-line, and authority to offer bachelor’s degrees for business administration, criminal justice, and elementary education.

      Why are we asking for accreditation? Our current 10-year accreditation runs out in 2011 and we want to expand our educational offerings.

      Where does the site visit take place? The NCA review team conducts their visit on our campus.

      As we prepare ourselves, it is important to understand what accreditation is, why it is important to us, and what our role is in the process. In preparation, UTTC created a self study committee responsible for gathering information, writing the document, and sharing our story. As Indian people, the committee believes it needs to effectively communicate what it is doing in a way that recognizes and respects tribal culture while at the same time promoting and encouraging self-discovery through learning. It also believes the entire community must be involved and so it needs a way to attract and engage people while keeping them interested and involved. The committee decided to use animated Native American characters to express and convey meaning to its audience to excite and involve people of all ages, races, and walks of life using values inherent in tribal communities and shared by individual tribal citizens.

      We asked Mark Mindt (Spirit Lake Tribe) to bring meaning to our story by creating characters that connect the five NCA criteria to real life in our tribal college community. We also value the diversity of our many tribal nations and other populations represented in our learning community. We believe that this connection between the criteria and our way of life will more accurately reflect those aspects of our life that are less tangible and obvious while engaging more people in the process that normally aren’t involved. This expression will more accurately articulate to NCA what it is like qualitatively to be a part of the UTTC family while conveying how we are different and why this diversity is an important part of our existence.

      So, this introduces you to our characters and the reaccreditation process. As you read future articles, look for ways that you can give voice to the accreditation process, ways that you can become involved, and witness the characters come to life as they tell our story through your voices.