Central Wyoming College earns reaccreditation after one-year-long process

(Riverton, Wyo.) - The Higher Learning Commission has notified Central Wyoming College that it has continued its accreditation for the institution through 2026. College President Cris Valdez learned the news in a letter this past week. CWC serves Fremont, Hot Springs and Teton counties. The accreditation process "ensures that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality," according to a news release. The importance of these visits is not only for the college as a checks and balances on the functionality of the institute but for students who need federal student aid from the U.S Department of Education; the institute must be a nationally recognized accredited institute for those students to receive aid. [image: Inline image 1] *Harry Jackson's Sacajawea stands on campus by the Intertribal Center. (Pitchengine Communities) * Chontelle Gray, professor of theater, has been through two accreditation processes at CWC, and she was the leader for the accreditation committee. A report from the college was required based on the HLC’s five criterion of: mission, integrity, teaching and learning: quality, resources and support, teaching and learning: evaluation and improvement, and resources, planning and institutional effectiveness. This report had a word limit and required the college to provide fact-based information which didn’t allow the college to boast on the great programs it offers or resources it has, Gray said. After the report, which took more than year to complete and file, a team of peer reviewers conducted a site visit for an opportunity to see the college and its function but also ask questions directly to faculty, staff and students. [image: Inline image 2] [image: Inline image 3] *Chontelle Gray (CWC) Louisa Hunker (CWC)* “We answer those questions and supply them with evidence,” Gray said. “An accreditation helps legitimize the college and the degrees that students are receiving. Basically, it ensures that we are not running a diploma mill and that we are doing what we say we are doing.” “The process was long but incredibly valuable; it gave us a chance to identify strengths. We have a lot to be proud of! And areas for improvement across every area of CWC," Louisa Hunker, director of institutional effectiveness. “I think the process is an important exercise for an institution to go through, it’s not just for the outside entities to look at and judge,” Gray said. “It gives us a chance to look and see if we are doing the things we need to be doing. It is important and makes us look at areas that we wouldn’t look at otherwise.” "I discovered a lot about CWC through the HLC process. I didn’t realize how much we have going at the college; we are a complex institution. We do a lot of good things at CWC, but we also discovered areas of weakness. We have an opportunity to take this information and improve what we do," Gray said. #county10 #springcity #news