Southwestern Michigan College’s accreditation reaffirmed through 2031

Published 9:48 am Thursday, July 29, 2021

DOWAGIAC — After a thorough review and evaluation process conducted regularly for most colleges and universities throughout the United States, the Higher Learning Commission has reaffirmed its accreditation of Southwestern Michigan College through the 2030-2031 academic year.

“We’re very pleased with the final report,” said Dr. David Fleming, provost. “As expected, the college is in great shape overall. The HLC team was impressed by our faculty and staff’s commitment to student success, our high levels of student satisfaction and our effective and efficient use of financial resources, which are perennial strengths of ours, among many other noted strengths. They did point out a couple of areas that we can improve, and we had already identified and started to address those, frankly. That’s the nature of continuous improvement in any field – the work is never really done.”

The HLC is one of five regional organizations designated by the U.S. Department of Education to periodically review the operations, policies and procedures of all colleges and universities in a “peer review”-type process. An extensive written document submitted by the institution is thoroughly examined by a team of professionals from other colleges and then followed up with an on-site visit consisting of campus tours, audits of certain records and several days of meetings with administration, faculty, staff and the entire Board of Trustees itself. SMC began work on reaffirmation in 2019 and submitted its official written argument for reaccreditation on March 19 of this year.

“Students and families can be confident that SMC is providing a quality education recognized for meeting high standards of academic rigor that will serve them well throughout their lives,” said SMC President Joe Odenwald. “The taxpayers can be sure that their college is being governed and managed well. I am especially grateful to all the faculty and staff involved in this accreditation review, particularly its chief steward and our provost, Dr. David Fleming.”

SMC administration owes the HLC several Interim Reports on student outcomes and institutional learning competencies over the next few years, and the college has chosen the Open Pathway as its guide towards the next reaffirmation in spring 2031.

A summary of the report can be viewed on the College’s website at