ST. MARTIN — The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has changed the status of Chatfield College in northern Brown County to that of an accredited institution on probation.
During the two-year probationary period, Chatfield remains accredited and there is no impact on students’ eligibility for financial aid. The probationary period provides an opportunity for the college to remedy the underlying reasons for the sanction.
The HLC will consider whether to remove probationary status or take other action in June 2019.
One HLC finding is the college has “insufficient human resources in several areas including instruction, advising, and tutoring.”
Another finding is the absence of a documented process for faculty evaluation and promotion/termination.
The HLC stated it found there are no minimum academic requirements or training for tutors, and no process to evaluate the success of the tutoring program.
Regarding the HLC’s accreditation requirement that an institution demonstrate an “ongoing assessment of student learning,” the Commission found “in the limited examples the college provided to demonstrate assessment, indirect measures such as course grades and student satisfaction surveys were utilized.”
Another HLC finding: “Tutors are unpaid volunteers and tutoring is not available for all subjects and at critical times. In addition, department chairs advise on average 37 students in addition to carrying a full teaching load.”
Chatfield College President John P. Tafaro has released a message concerning the change in the college’s status.
Tafaro stated Chatfield met all of HLC’s criteria and core components in an HLC reaffirmation visit and review in 2011, but did not do so after the Commission’s comprehensive evaluation held in fall 2016.
“Our entire Chatfield community, from the board to faculty to staff and other constituencies, have already been working diligently to address the deficiencies identified by HLC as part of its [announced in summer 2017] decision.
“We are committed to devoting the time and resources necessary to hire additional and engaged faculty and support a culture of professional development and assessment, so we can demonstrate institutional effectiveness and fully meet and demonstrate compliance with all HLC criteria and core components before our next comprehensive review in the fall of 2018,” Tafaro stated.
Founded by the Ursulines of Brown County, Chatfield College is a private liberal arts college offering the Associate of Arts degree. It includes the St. Martin campus in rural Brown County, and a Cincinnati location in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
The mission of Chatfield College is “to empower students who might best succeed within our supportive, small college experience.”
Prospective students need only to have a high school diploma or a GED (General Educational Development) certificate to attend. This is called open admissions or open enrollment, which is a type of noncompetitive college admissions process.
HLC accredits colleges and universities in 19 states.