UACCB vice chancellor named to Institutional Actions Council

A photo of Anne Austin

Dr. Anne Austin’s colleagues in the Higher Learning Commission have honored her hard work and dedication to the organization by nominating her to serve on the HLC’s Institutional Actions Council. Austin is the vice chancellor for research, planning, and assessment at the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville.

“I was notified on March 8 with a letter asking if I would serve on the council. I was very excited. HLC is a peer organization. Members of the IAC are nominated by HLC staff and are then approved by the HLC board of trustees. It’s an honor to be asked to serve on the council,” Austin said.

Austin has been a member of the HLC Peer Review Corps since 2014.  As such, she serves as a peer reviewer for institutions across the nation. “Every institution of higher education goes through the peer review process. Institutions submit assurance arguments for review to show they are complying with the criteria necessary for accreditation. Peer review teams can conduct these reviews online or on site,” she said. “Being on the Peer Review Corps has been phenomenal professional development for me. I’ve had the opportunity to see how other institutions make things work and how they deal with the same challenges we face. Educators as a group are incredibly generous with what they know. They want to share their knowledge.”

Austin will attend an IAC training session April 5 at the HLC annual conference in Chicago. Her four-year term on the council will begin in September. To be eligible to serve on the council, members of the Peer Review Corps must have completed a minimum of five comprehensive evaluations and be trained to conduct other types of reviews, such as those related to institutional change, financial or non-financial indicators, or other topics. Council members are authorized to make decisions concerning accreditation based on reports from the peer review teams. 

“It’s my understanding that for almost all accreditation decisions, the IAC has the final word with some exceptions that must go forward to the board of trustees,” Austin said.

Austin has worked at UACCB since 1995 and has served in various capacities including a business faculty member, assistant academic dean, and dean of learning. She became the vice chancellor of research, planning, and assessment in 2007. Austin has been involved in the college’s accreditation process since she started working there. She also serves as the Title IX coordinator, the accreditation liaison officer, and oversees funding UACCB receives from the Carl D. Perkins grant.