‘Extremely concerning’: Idaho State Board of Education president urges NIC to address accreditation concerns

North Idaho College
FILE: North Idaho College
Copyright KXLY 4 News Now

BOISE, Idaho — The Idaho State Board of Education is urging the Board of Trustees at North Idaho College to address accreditation concerns.

In a letter addressed to the Board Friday, President Kurt Liebich and Board Executive Director Matt Freeman outlined potential consequences if NIC’s accreditation is put at risk and potentially lost. Without accreditation:

  • The value of a degree from NIC will be significantly reduced, or even negated entirely, for all students
  • Students who complete general education credits, including dual credits, at NIC would not be allowed to transfer these credits to other accredited institutions in Idaho
  • Students would not be eligible for the Opportunity Scholarship
  • Many north Idaho businesses and industries would struggle to meet their workforce needs

“We are writing to express deep concern about the current trajectory of North Idaho College,” the letter stated.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities requested an ad-hoc report from NIC on July 19, in response to formal complaints the accrediting organization had received. NIC was to complete the request by August 1, 2022.

According to the letter, the focus of the report is to address specific questions about the roles and responsibilities of the trustees and college administration.

NIC has gone through major leadership changes in the past year. Rick MacLennan, the school’s previous president, was voted out of his position in late September. A month before he was terminated, MacLennan had instated a mask mandate on-campus. However, that only lasted four days before the Board rescinded it.

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The full Board plans to discuss the accreditation situation at NIC during its December 15 Board meeting in Boise.

President Liebich ended the letter writing, “In short, action or inaction by the College’s Board of Trustees that places accreditation at risk would result in long-term injury to the very students you were elected to serve. It would also significantly impair the College’s ability to recruit and retain students, faculty and staff.  Indeed, the very viability of the College itself could hang in the balance. We respectfully request that you set aside parochial or partisan interests, and urgently focus on the best interests of students and the College before both are irreparably harmed.”

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