TSAILE, Ariz. - For the first time in its 40-year history, Diné College has been recommended for an unprecedented 10-year accreditation status of its two-year degree programs and to award its first bachelors degree in elementary teacher education by the Self-Study team of the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).
"We made history today by receiving continued accreditation for a 10 year period of our associate degrees as well as approval to officially offer and bestow our own bachelor degrees in elementary teacher education," said President Ferlin Clark.
"We also received approval to offer additional upper level courses in Diné Studies which paves the path towards a BA degree in Diné Studies in the near future," he added.
A team of accreditation reviewers comprised of seven members visited Diné College from April 20-23 as part of an intensive comprehensive visit to review the College's academic programs, credentials, funding, assessment programs, and request to offer its own bachelor degrees.
Accreditation is vital for higher education institutions and allows for course transferability, scholarship funding, tribal, state and federal funds that support the operations, maintenance and development of colleges.
"A 10-year accreditation is the gold standard for colleges and universities throughout the country," said Clark, "This visit re-affirms the quality and integrity of our curricular offerings, services, and our faculty and staff."
A focus visit was also recommended for 2012/2013 as part of the accreditation to include the new bachelor program, as well as areas of consultation in communication and governance.
"We believe that the prayers, songs, ceremonies and good thoughts that were offered many years ago just recently have come to fruition today," said Clark, adding "We are thankful and proud for everyone who has contributed to Diné College."
The recommendation from the self-study team will be made to the Higher Learning Commission Board within three to five months for the concurrence and approval and thereafter a formal report will be sent to the College.
"We are proud of this historic accomplishment as we celebrate our 40 year anniversary and it took the entire college community three years to prepare and to achieve this tremendous milestone," said Diné College Board President Fannie Atcitty.