Higher Learning Commission

Policy Title: Staff Role and Responsibility

Number: COMM.B.10.010

The staff of the Commission shall be responsible to the President of the Commission, or to any intermediate supervisor who reports to the President, who in turn shall be responsible to the Board of Trustees. The staff shall assist institutions in the accreditation processes, implement Commission policy, and carry out other responsibilities given it by the President and by Commission policy but shall not serve as an advocate for any institution. The Commission staff shall have the discretion to establish and modify Commission procedures in keeping with the intention and spirit of Commission policy.

Institutional Liaison

A staff member of the Commission shall be assigned to each affiliated institution to serve as the primary liaison between the Commission and the institution, and to ensure that the institution receives effective service on behalf of the Commission.

Commission Staff on Evaluation Visits

The Commission staff liaison or other Commission staff member may accompany the evaluation team on certain visits. These visits include:

  • Advisory Visits
  • Visits for Removal of Sanction or Show-Cause
  • Visits for Candidacy or initial accreditation

The President of the Commission shall determine whether the liaison or other Commission staff member will accompany a specific evaluation visit. The Commission President also has the discretion to determine that circumstances warrant having a Commission staff liaison or other Commission staff member accompany evaluation visits other than those visits expressly noted above.

The role of the Commission staff member accompanying an evaluation visit shall be (1) to support the team as needed with guidance on Commission policy and procedure; (2) to answer questions from the public or institutional representatives about Commission processes related to the visit; and (3) to observe the visit. When preparing to take action regarding the institution, the Board of Trustees or Institutional Actions Council may ask the Commission staff member to discuss the evaluation visit, but the staff member will not prepare a written report separate from the report prepared by the evaluation team.

In addition, Commission staff shall participate as a team member in any Fact-Finding Team related to Change of Control, Structure or Organization or in any on-site investigation of any serious complaint or legal, ethical or other related issue at an institution.

Staff Conflict of Interest

The President will remove any liaison activities with an institution from a member of the professional staff when it appears that a conflict of interest might be present. It shall be a matter of staff responsibility for staff to inform the President when a potential conflict of interest might exist. In determining conflict of interest, staff shall weigh such things as past attendance, previous and/or prospective employment, the status at an institution of close personal friends or family members, or the holding of privileged information not available to others involved in the evaluation process.


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Policy History

Last Revised: November 2012
First Adopted: January 1983, November 1991
Revision History: November 2012
Notes: Policies combined in November 2012 – 14.1, 14.2, 15.1

Policy Number Key

Section COMM: Commission Policies

Chapter B: Commission Staff

Part 10: General

Related Procedures


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