City Colleges Faculty Council – Complaint to Higher Learning Commission

Faculty Council of the City Colleges of Chicago, representing the seven independently-accredited City Colleges of Chicago (District 508), submits the following complaint to the Higher Learning Commission directed against District Office.

[Summary below. Read full complaint here.]

Summary of District Office’s violations of Higher Learning Commission policies and standards.

District Office has systematically taken control over all academic planning and decisions concerning the City Colleges of Chicago. This transfer of academic control from the seven colleges to District Office is not legitimate. An institutional change of this magnitude involving a transfer of “substantial academic and operational control” requires prior HLC approval, and none of the City Colleges has sought approval for such a transaction.

City Colleges’ faculty are fully committed to positive and thoughtful change to strengthen all our Colleges’ academic programs and thereby best fulfill our public obligation to City Colleges’ students and communities. We believe, however, that many of the changes enacted by District Office under the “Reinvention” initiative are not in the best interest of our students or our mission, and many District Office decisions are diverting the City Colleges from their primary responsibility to provide education and promote the public good.

As a direct result of this assumption of control, District Office is jeopardizing our colleges’ individual HLC accreditations by disregarding: 1) “assumed practices” considered “foundational” in that they are necessary (though not sufficient) conditions to any granting of HLC accreditation; and 2) expectations embodied in Accreditation Criteria One, Two, and Five.

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