Higher Learning Commission


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Programs and Events

HLC offers an array of programs and events that help member institutions advance their quality of education.


HLC’s Academies are four-year, mentor-facilitated programs that help HLC-accredited institutions define, develop and implement comprehensive strategies for institutional improvement. Institutions taking part in one of HLC’s Academies are grouped into cohorts, allowing them to work collaboratively and share ideas throughout the Academy cycle.

Each participating institution is assigned a mentor and a Scholar who provide regular advice and critique on the institution’s Academy Project biannually for the duration of the four-year program. Select mentors and Scholars also attend Academy events as event facilitators to assist institutional teams in developing and implementing customized projects that lead to the achievement of each institution’s goals.

Assessment Academy

The Assessment Academy is tailored for institutions interested in developing an ongoing commitment to assessing and improving student learning. The Academy offers each institution personalized guidance in developing, documenting and implementing a systematic approach to institutional assessment. Institutions participating in the Assessment Academy are presented with new ideas and techniques for influencing institutional culture, increasing capacity to assess student learning and using assessment data to improve student learning.

Persistence and Completion Academy

The Persistence and Completion Academy is designed for institutions wishing to build institutional capacity for the improvement of student persistence and completion. The Academy offers a structured program that aims to help institutions, with the guidance of a dedicated mentor, establish clear goals and strategies for specific student population groups and implement initiatives to support attainment of those goals. Participating institutions also learn how to collect and analyze data to identify patterns that lead to data-informed decisions.


Annual Conference

HLC’s Annual Conference is one of the largest events of its kind in higher education, with approximately 4,000 administrators and faculty members attending each year. The five days of programming cover a broad range of topics, including institutional experience with accreditation processes, assessment of student learning, quality improvement, institutional effectiveness, and more.

2017 Annual Conference: Navigating the Future

At the 2017 annual conference, HLC will include a special focus on the role of accreditation in “navigating the future” of higher education related to innovation and student success. The conference, taking place March 31–April 4 in Chicago, will be built on the framework that higher education can be agile and responsive, and will be constructed to provide resources for member institutions navigating the road ahead.

Professional Development Week

HLC’s Professional Development Week, held twice annually, offers key information and strategies designed to spur institutional improvement in the areas of assessment of student learning and student success, persistence and completion. Through informational and interactive workshops, participants receive:

  • New insights from experts and accomplished practitioners.
  • Guided discussions about promising practices and strategies.
  • Opportunities to network with other higher education professionals.

Standard Pathway Seminars

HLC hosts seminars on addressing improvement in the Assurance Argument for institutions on the Standard Pathway that are within two years of a comprehensive evaluation. Attendees develop strategies to demonstrate improvement within the Criteria for Accreditation and receive assistance in formulating improvement plans or feedback on plans that have been drafted.



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