2019 Higher Learning Commission Site Visit

SSC Assurance Argument HLC Executive Summary Public Meetings

SSC has been continuously accredited since January 1, 1933. Every ten years, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) conducts a comprehensive review of the College.

On March 25-26, 2019, a team of four peer review evaluators from the Higher Learning Commission will visit South Suburban College for a comprehensive evaluation visit. The goal for this visit is full reaffirmation of the college’s accreditation. The visit will provide SSC the opportunity to tell our story, to discuss the many accomplishments we have achieved, and to share areas that the college is focused on improving. The evaluation team visit will feature a combination of individual meetings, topical meetings with specific focus, and open forums. Our Assurance Argument and other supportive evidence will be submitted to the HLC prior to the visit.

Please direct questions about the upcoming visit to Dr. Ronald Kawanna Jr.,  Associate Vice President of Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness.

The HLC is a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit degree granting colleges and universities. There are six regions of the U.S. in which regional agencies operate. These regional accreditation agencies have similar standards for accrediting colleges and universities. Regional accreditation validates the quality of an institution as a whole and evaluates multiple aspects of an institution ranging from its academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources.

As a regional accreditation agency, the Higher Learning Commission accredits degree granting institutions of higher education that are based in the 19-state North Central region of the United States. Institutions that HLC accredits are evaluated against HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and/or maintain accredited status.

Accreditation is the primary means of assuring accountability and improving the quality of higher education institutions. It is required to receive federal and state funding and is essential for private-sector financial support. Accreditation is a designation and a process. As a designation, it serves as public recognition that an institution has met accepted standards of quality. As a process, it demonstrates an ongoing commitment to self-study and external peer review. These assessments affirm that quality standards are being met and provide opportunities to enhance student outcomes.

HLC accreditation assures quality by verifying that an institution (1) meets standards and (2) is engaged in continuous improvement.

South Suburban College is preparing an evidence-based document that is the basis for reaffirmation of our accreditation. The reaffirmation process will culminate in a site visit by a team of HLC peer reviewers made up of faculty and staff from other universities with similar missions.

The College will be assessed on five criteria:

  1. Mission: The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
  2. Integrity—Ethical and Responsible Conduct: The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
  3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support: The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
  4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement: The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
  5. Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness: The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.

Higher Learning Commission Criterion Standards
Higher Learn Commission Assumed Practices


Dr. Carleen M. Vande Zande
Associate Vice President
University of Wisconsin System Administration

Educational Experience:

  • Spanish Education, Daemen College, B.A., 1978
  • Curriculum & Instruction/Spanish, University of Wisconsin – Madison, M.A., 1980
  • Curriculum & Policy, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Ph.D., 1985

Expertise Subject Area:

  • Curriculum and Instruction
  • Program Review/Evaluation
  • Assessment of Student Learning


Dr. Angela Sivadon
Associate Dean- Nursing
Tulsa Community College

Educational Experience:

  • Nursing, Tulsa Junior College, A.D.N., 1984
  • Nursing, University of Phoenix, B.S.N., 2007
  • Nursing, University of Phoenix, M.S.N, 2008
  • Nursing Research, University of Missouri – Kansas City, Ph.D., 2017

Expertise Subject Area:

  • Faculty Evaluation
  • Development
  • Promotion/Personnel
  • Review/Evaluation
  • Program/Curriculum
  • Design and Development
  • Enrollment
  • Management/Retention/Completion
  • Group Facilitation/Mentoring/Coaching Professional


Dr. Arthur A. Rich
Vice President for Student Affairs (Retired)
Metropolitan Community College

Educational Experience:

  • English, Northeastern University, B.A., 1972
  • Higher Education, Florida State University, M.S., 1985
  • Higher Education, Florida State University, Ph.D., 2002

Expertise Subject Area:

  • Athletics
  • Graduate Education
  • Student Affairs/Life/Services
  • Enrollment Management/Retention/Completion


Ms. Carolyn Kasdorf
Vice President of Business Affairs
Colby Community College

Educational Experience:

  • Business, Christopher Newport University, B.S.B.A., 1992
  • Business, Colorado State University, M.B.A., 2009

Expertise Subject Area:

  • Business/Finance
  • Budgeting/Finance

South Suburban College is seeking comments from the public about the college in preparation for its periodic evaluation by its regional accrediting agency. The college will host a visit on March 25-26, 2019, from a team of peer reviewers representing the Higher Learning Commission. The team will review the institution’s ongoing ability to meet HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. SSC has been accredited by HLC since 1933.

Comments must be in writing and must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs.

Submit comments to HLC at hlcommission.org/comment or mail them to the address below.

All comments must be received by February 25, 2019.

Public Comment on South Suburban College
Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604-1411

What do you know about accreditation?

  • What do you know about the Higher Learning Commission?
  • How would you describe SSC’s mission?
  • Do you know where you would find the official mission statement?
  • Review and understand our mission, vision, and core value statements.
  • How does your department contribute to South Suburban College’s mission?
  • How do you personally contribute to South Suburban College’s mission?
  • What are South Suburban College Strategic Plan priorities?
  • Review and understand our Strategic Plan.
  • What are South Suburban College’s greatest strengths? Weaknesses?
  • What makes South Suburban College unique?
  • How would you describe the campus climate for diversity and inclusion?
  • What is it like to work at South Suburban College? How is morale on campus?
  • What are the biggest challenges facing South Suburban College?
  • How about challenges specific to your department or unit?
  • Do you think that academics are the top priority at South Suburban College? Why or why not?
  • Describe any campus processes that could be improved or made more efficient.
  • What kind of changes are taking place at South Suburban College? Do you see these as positive or not?
  • Do you have a voice in the direction and priorities of the College? If so, how?