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

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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