The Council on Occupational Education has reaffirmed accreditation for the Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (LCCTC) for the next six years. Such accreditation demonstrates that a facility is working toward continuous improvement in fields including institutional mission, educational programs, strategic planning, student services, and more. The LCCTC was informed about the continuing accreditation on March 6.
The Council on Occupational Education (COE) is recognized as an authority to determine educational quality among postsecondary occupational education institutions. Accreditation from a national accreditation agency like COE is one of the eligibility requirements necessary to offer Title IV federal student financial aid.
The LCCTC Re-accreditation Team, led by Supervisor of Curriculum, Mike Moeller, and aided by Curriculum Assistant, Cheyenne Smith, included campus principals, counselors, department heads, program instructors, and others. This group was clearly the driving force responsible for the CTC’s successful re-accreditation.
Moeller explained that re-accreditation is a lengthy, 12- to 24-month process that includes a systemic self-study, evidence collection, and a COE team visit.
“The LCCTC’s official start to the 2020 re-accreditation process began back in January, 2019,” Moeller said; but he added that the process really began with the last re-accreditation cycle in 2014. He said that after that process, the LCCTC enacted several procedural and record-keeping changes that shifted reporting from paper forms to online ones. That paradigm shift allowed the preparation process for this round of re-accreditation to take place faster and more smoothly than previous iterations.
“Cheyenne [Smith] was able to create a system of forms and online reporting that vastly streamlined the process. A huge part of the process was compiling evidence and support materials to demonstrate that we were meeting specific criteria within the process, and we had to do that for 293 different criteria,” Moeller said. With the online forms, he added, program instructors and department heads were able to submit evidence faster. He said that they could also compile it easier and with fewer human errors.
The re-accreditation culminated in a site visit by the COE’s evaluation team between September 16-19, 2019. For about a week, the evaluation team reviewed evidence, pulled random samples, interviewed staff, and conducted other oversight to determine the LCCTC’s status. Several weeks later, the LCCTC received a report that included several items to address prior to conferring re-accreditation. The LCCTC team reviewed and addressed the points in question and resubmitted to the Council in November, 2019. Ultimately, the Council was satisfied and conferred re-accreditation on the LCCTC for another six years.
Moeller specifically pointed out that the successful re-accreditation was a culmination of effort from all of the faculty and staff.
“We couldn’t have done it without everyone’s cooperation, effort, and buy in,” Moeller said. “I really appreciate everything that everyone did to support this.”