The 43rd annual spring commencement at East Central College will be different than any previous ceremony. For the first time, the event will be held during the day.
ECC President Jon Bauer informed college trustees at their Nov. 5 meeting that the ceremony will take place Saturday, May 18, at 11 a.m. Previous commencements have been held on Thursday or Friday nights.
“We always seem to conflict with area high school graduations, so by moving to a Saturday we can avoid the scheduling problems that often occur for families who have loved ones completing high school and college,” Bauer said. “The ceremony will also take place after final exams which is a more logical order. We plan to hold the nursing department pinning ceremony earlier in the morning and in the afternoon host a ceremony for students who complete their GED.”
Bauer also noted that a 117-page systems portfolio was submitted to the Higher Learning Commission through the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP), the accreditation process through which ECC maintains its accredited status with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Through AQIP, ECC demonstrates that it meets the Higher Learning Commission’s criteria for accreditation while integrating the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of the college to assure and advance the quality of higher education.
“Accreditation is important to our students because it reinforces that these are quality programs and also determines our eligibility for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial aid programs,” said Bauer.
“Institutional accreditation is also important for the acceptance and transfer of college credit to four-year colleges and universities. It also gives us a chance for a third party to look at areas where we can improve, Bauer added.
Jean McCann, vice president of instruction, updated trustees on the recent visit by an accreditation team from the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
“We submitted a self-study in September and the team met with students, faculty and staff during their visit,” McCann said. “We won’t hear about our status until next fall, but the team members discussed some of their concerns regarding facilities and offered suggestions on how we can address those.”
NASM is an organization of schools, conservatories, colleges and universities that establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials.
McCann noted that a number of other programs – health information management, early childhood education, art/graphic design, nursing and the Learning Center – are in various stages in their pursuit of voluntary external program accreditation.