A&F Newsletter

Summer 2007


Cowley receives praise from team representing The Higher Learning Commission

Two members from The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools spoke to Cowley College employees and members of the Arkansas City community April 27 in the college’s Earle N. Wright Community Room located inside the Brown Center.

Ms. Janice Hart, director of the Division of Educational and Career Advancement at Central New Mexico Community College and Dr. Mark Kretovics, assistant professor, Higher Education Administration and Student Personnel at Kent State University, represented The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools during its AQIP Quality Check Up visit. Ms. Hart and Dr. Kretovics spent three days meeting with individuals at Cowley College’s Arkansas City campus.

“This is a chance for The Higher Learning Commission to come in and look at an institution through a quality lense and see what it is the institution sees in itself and where it wants to go,” Dr. Kretovics said. “We also look at what challenges an institution may face in the future and how The Higher Learning Commission can help you take on those challenges.”

Cowley submitted a portfolio to the Higher Learning Commission on June 1, 2006 and received a feedback report from the Higher Learning Commission on Sept. 29, 2006. In the report, there were six to eight strategic issues that were mentioned for Cowley to work on and plan for the future.

“We are happy to see you have addressed each and every one of those strategic issues, that is quite an accomplishment,” Hart said. “We feel so impressed by Cowley and so positive about what is happening here.”

Hart also commended the college for the time they devote to in-service activities and its work in the job target process. Also, its increased use in data and the school’s partnerships it has established.

“Cowley is very strong on those collaborations and that is something that will help take them further into the future,” Hart said.

The Board of Trustees has continuously authorized Cowley’s affiliation with NCA/HLC since the College was granted correspondent status by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education in 1967.

In 2002, the College became a member of AQIP. This focus on quality has led Cowley College to apply for and receive a 1999 Kansas Excellence Award Level III (the highest level) from the Kansas Award for Excellence Foundation, a quality award program based on the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Criteria.

In 2000, the College applied for the Pacesetter Award through CQIN (Continuous Quality Improvement Network). Continued training in AQIP principals and categories reinforces Cowley’s focus on the quality movement in higher education.

Along with the positive things the college is doing, Dr. Kretovics also spoke of the challenges the college will face in the future and what the college will need to do to face those challenges.

Sheree Utash, Cowley College vice president of student and academic affairs, was happy with the outcome of the AQIP Quality Check Up visit.

“We use this as a way to get the validation and reaffirmation of some of the things we are doing, but also to help us identify where we have opportunities to do better,” Utash said.

Dr. Kretovics spoke highly of his findings during the three days spent at the college.

“Overall, the college is doing a tremendous job,” Dr. Kretovics said. “What we are going to be reporting back to The (Higher) Learning Commission is this is an institution with great potential and an institution that is doing some great things.”

Cowley College president Dr. Patrick J. McAtee was pleased with the work done by Ms. Hart and Dr. Kretovics.

“I want to thank you for reaffirming our decision to be a part of AQIP was a good one,” Dr. McAtee said. “The opportunities for improvement were always presented in a positive way and we will work on the things we were told about.”