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Accreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)

Northern Essex Community College will undergo a comprehensive evaluation April 11-14, 2021, by a team representing the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, NEASC).

The New England Commission of Higher Education is one of seven accrediting commissions in the United States that provide institutional accreditation on a regional basis. Accreditation is voluntary and applies to the institution as a whole. The Commission, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, accredits approximately 220 institutions in the six-state New England region as well as several American-style institutions overseas.

Northern Essex Community College has been accredited by the Commission since 1970 and was last reviewed in 2010. Its accreditation by the Commission encompasses the entire institution.

For the past two years, Northern Essex Community College has been engaged in a process of self-study, addressing the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation. An evaluation team will visit the institution to gather evidence that the self-study is thorough and accurate. The team will recommend to the Commission a continuing status for the institution. Following a review process, the Commission itself will take the final action.

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the institution to:

Public Comment on Northern Essex Community College
New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01803-4514
E-mail: info@neche.org

Public Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution. The Commission cannot settle disputes between individuals and institutions, whether those involve faculty, students, administrators, or members of other groups. Comments will not be treated as confidential and must include the name, address, and telephone number of the person providing the comments.

Public Comments must be received by April 14, 2021. The Commission cannot guarantee that comments received after that date will be considered.

Current Accreditation

Northern Essex Community College is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and College, Inc.).

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Commission indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied through a peer review process. An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.

Accreditation by the Commission is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding the accreditation by the Commission status should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01803-4514
781-425-7785 | E-Mail: info@neche.org

The Process

In March of 2011, Northern Essex Community College received a notification letter from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. indicating that its accreditation would be continued for the next 10 years with a fifth-year interim report for consideration in the fall of 2015. NECC has been accredited since 1970.

The accreditation process included a self-study by NECC, an onsite visit by NEASC, and an opportunity for input by the public.

Northern Essex Community College began the recent self-study process in the summer of 2008. The college wanted to create an self-study that would offer a vital opportunity to explore its practice in all areas of the college, analyze data, and create a process of discovery and professional development for those who elected to work on the standards.

The work began by appointing co-chairs of the self-study and a committee comprised of NECC faculty, staff, and students. An open invitation was extended to the entire campus community to engage in the self-study, and co-chairs were selected for each of the 10 standards. The initiative was launched with a two-day retreat for all participants.

Throughout the spring semester and summer of 2009, the teams began their work in earnest. In the fall of 2009, the academic vice president and co-chairs met regularly with the chairs of the standards as they and their teams developed drafts, which the college community was invited to comment on and review. The second draft was reviewed and approved by the core team and by the president in March 2010. It was then shared publicly on the college website, and with NEASC staff for feedback.

The NEASC visiting team was on campus October 21 through November 3, 2010, meeting with students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, and community members to find out if what the college reported in its self-study is accurate. The team report was submitted in December of 2010 and the college received word of its continued accreditation in March of 2011.

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