Updates on NIC Accreditation
by Charity Joy
NIC Meeting Overview:
During the lengthy NIC Board of Trustee Business Meeting on February 22nd, there were a lot of details shared about pertinent matters regarding accreditation.
It is imperative that our community watch/listen to the full meeting (especially the last hour) as getting your information straight from the source is the only way to fully grasp the details and complexities.
No one’s overview of the meeting will do it justice, including mine and most certainly not the reporter’s from the Cd’A Press.
For those who simply do not have the time, here are some of the important details.
Bottom line: it is clear that NIC will NOT lose accreditation unless the few actors who want to spread half-truths and drama over securing NIC success continue to spread divisive and hateful rhetoric. Those individuals will destroy all the efforts and progress being made by the trustees and administration.
I sincerely hope the NWCCU evaluators will see beyond the optics of the chaos agents and give NIC the time needed to comply with all accreditation standards.
Disclaimer: This overview is objective, but not unbiased, as I want NIC to succeed in retaining full accreditation and I believe it is possible. This does not cover the entire meeting, nor is it chronological. Here’s a sample of the meeting:
5-0 vote in support of a board statement that acknowledges the critical importance of fulfilling all NWCCU requirements for accreditation and the board’s unified commitment to working together for a successful resolution.
This vote was very important. It violates the board policy for anyone to take sides in the relationship between the president and the trustees. So publicly responding to the resolutions of “no confidence” would be a serious breach of board policy that the NWCCU would not approve of and would be counterproductive to retaining accreditation.
The staff, faculty and student executive boards know this, yet they persist in demanding a response at every meeting.
I viewed this 5-0 vote for a board statement as a necessary measure to assure the public, staff, faculty, students and NWCCU that preserving accreditation is THE priority of each trustee and they are working together to achieve a successful resolution. You can read the board’s statement here.
4-1 vote in support of board authorizing their attorney of record on the lawsuits to enter into negotiations for a settlement.
The attorney of record for the lawsuits is no longer Art Macomber. This vote was very important as these lawsuits must be resolved as they are a relevant matter for accreditation. Therefore, this 4-1 board decision (with only Zimmerman dissenting) shows they are starting to work together to fulfill the necessary standards for retaining accreditation.
The 3-2 vote not to immediately reinstate Swayne was the only proper decision (honestly, the motion should not have been seconded) as the lawsuits must be resolved before this can take place.
Swayne may or may not be reinstated. I do not have a for or against stance on Swayne. Right now the more important issue for accreditation purposes is resolving the lawsuits.
Will students lose the ability to transfer their credits? NO!
Even if accreditation was withdrawn by NWCCU, all students will retain their credits AND will be provided every measure of assistance in finishing their studies. No student will see their education derailed.
Again, it is my sincere belief that NIC will not lose accreditation, but it is reassuring to know that students will be fully supported and aided in completing their education.
A search for a legal firm to represent the college is currently underway …
and has been active since the beginning of January. Art Macomber is temporary legal representation until the best firm can be contracted to handle NIC business. The motion to immediately remove Art as council did not receive a second, so did not get a vote. The majority of the board recognized that having no council will significantly hinder compliance with NWCCU requirements, this detail is critical to understand.
Personally, I want to see a firm that has an excellent team who can secure the future of NIC in all its business dealings, especially real estate deals, property management and legal compliance. The legal firm should not be a buddy of the administration. They should be a professional and competent team who stick to the letter of the law in advising the board and the administration.
It was good to hear Dr. South assure everyone that they will not settle for the first or second applicant, but for the best applicant and they are actively searching with urgency.
Please remember that Marc Lyons resigned, without notice, leaving NIC in a precarious position during the critical accreditation time. His decision and action did our community no favors and certainly did not appeal to the good graces of the NWCCU.
Dr South and the liaison with NWCCU shared details about several meetings.
There were multiple meetings which involved the head of the NWCCU, the IBOE, Idaho’s Attorney General, Idaho’s Governor, Dr. South, administration, Chairman McKenzie and Trustee Corkill. All participants want NIC to be successful in retaining accreditation. All parties understand what is needed to do so. Dr. South shared quite a few details of these meetings, please watch the recorded meeting when it is posted.
Everyone asks “what’s the endgame or what’s the plan?”
Well, the plan can be found here on NIC’s website, this is the overall vision of the college, which has always been in effect. Here is their 9 point agreement. Here are their most recent facts and information.
As to “what’s the plan” in regards to accreditation? It is simple: they want to keep it and are going to do everything the NWCCU requires of them to make it possible.
Dr. South and his team have already begun the process, are taking the steps and gathering the necessary data to respond to the “Show Cause” from NWCCU. They have until the end of March to submit the written response. Between now and the end of March, all parties will be working diligently to achieve the best for NIC.
Dr. South has Trustee Zimmerman and Trustee Waggoner working together to become experts on board policy. All trustees are undergoing professional training for board governance. The entire community will be well served at the end of this preservation of accreditation as we will have a professional, well trained, cohesive board, an excellent legal firm, a stable administration and updated policies.
Note: Some of NIC policies have not been updated for 30 years and Dr. South said that alone was concerning enough he would have “dinged” the college if he was the NWCCU evaluator.