Audit: Hocking College Awarded Degrees Without Appropriate Credits

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An internal audit at Hocking College led to the discovery that degrees had been awarded to students, including two former faculty members, who did not earn the credits they needed to obtain the degrees.

The audit identified 13 degrees awarded between 2010 and 2014 were given “without the students earning the appropriate credits for the degree,” according to a press release from Hocking College.

“The issue is limited to the 13 individual degrees, including two full-time faculty members no longer employed by the college,” the release, signed “Hocking College,” stated.

College President Dr. Betty Young said “corrective action” has been taken and more solutions are being utilized to prevent the problem in the future.

“The corrective action includes working with the individuals involved in earning the credits necessary in awarding a degree at no cost to them and implementing a new graduation application process to ensure that this error will not be made in the future,” Young said in an email to WOUB.

The same language was used in the college’s press release.

The degrees were found during “an internal audit, part of newly-established procedures put in place last year by incoming President Dr. Betty Young to validate faculty credentials,” the release stated.

The college has a “faculty credentialing committee” of academic leaders and faculty, according to the release, and has “created a system of checks and balances in the graduation application process to review student credits to assure they have met the standards for awarding a degree from Hocking College.”

Young also wrote that a “technology-based solution” will be implemented in the next fiscal year. She did not provide any other details on the solution.

The release stated that the Higher Learning Commission, which administers accreditation for the college, was contacted after the completion of the audit.

“The college has made the HLC aware of the errors and processes in place to assure that all future degrees awarded by Hocking College meet the graduation standards,” according to the release.

A representative for the commission confirmed that the HLC is “aware of the situation.”

The college’s news release stated that a “focus visit is set be conducted by the HLC this year. The HLC, however, currently has not visit scheduled, Hausaman said.

“A focused visit is a form of monitoring that occurs when it has been determined by HLC that there are concerns relating to a college or universities compliance with our accreditation standards,” said John Hausaman, of the HLC. “There is currently no focused visit scheduled for Hocking College. “

The release quotes college president Young as saying “the academic integrity of this college is my number one priority.”