NIC accreditation panel recommends probation

An accreditation panel is recommending placing North Idaho College on probation.

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities panel also says the State Board of Education should assume “supervisory oversight” of NIC’s administrative and trustee actions, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported Friday.

North Idaho College interim President Michael Sebaaly

The report, issued Thursday, comes after months of turbulence at NIC: the firing of former president Rick MacLennan, the departure of several other top administrators, and a deep split on the four-member board of trustees.

An accreditation panel visited the campus in January.

The panel’s 27-page report lists numerous concerns, according to the Press. Among them:

  • A conflict with board chairman Todd Banducci played a role in MacLennan’s September ouster, and subsequent high-level resignations.
  • Banducci has questioned NIC’s curricular content, and this has had a chilling effect on academic freedom.
  • The board of trustees is dysfunctional, deadlocked in two camps of two trustees apiece.
  • Faculty and staff fear they could lose tenure or be subject to public ridicule.

NIC has 10 days to formally respond before meeting with accreditors, the Press reported.

Meanwhile, the Press quoted from a Thursday email from interim President Michael Sebaaly to the NIC community.

“We have been through a turbulent time and reading the peer panel report will likely stir emotions for you. It did for me. Keep working hard for our students. We will get through this together.”


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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