Highland Community College

About HCC

Brief History

Highland Community College began as Highland University in 1858, making it the first college in Kansas.  After eight name changes, the College is now in its 153rd year of providing higher education opportunities to the people of Northeast Kansas in a small rural setting.  The College has traditionally prepared students to continue their studies at baccalaureate institutions.  Studies conducted at the Board of Regents universities in Kansas show that students who begin their college careers at HCC and then transfer do as well or better academically than all other students who transfer to those universities and those who start there.  In addition to the campus in Highland, the College offers face-to-face coursework at over 30 locations coordinated through six Regional Centers and has a growing online student population.  In July of 2008, the region’s technical college merged with the College, allowing HCC to expand its educational services within the nine county service area in Northeast Kansas.


The College is governed by a six-member Board of Trustees comprised of residents of Doniphan County, where the Highland campus is located, who are elected for four-year terms.  Three members are up for re-election every two years.  On the state level, HCC is coordinated by the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR), which governs the state’s six universities. 


The initial appraisal of our first AQIP portfolio (a key part of our Higher Learning Commission accreditation process) resulted in a yearlong strategic planning process.  That experience provided the opportunity for the Board of Trustees to revisit and refine the Mission Statement it adopted in 1997.  New Mission and Vision Statements were adopted in August of 2009.


HCC, the first college in Kansas, provides lifelong learning opportunities and contributes to economic development to enhance the quality of life in the communities we serve.


Highland Community College is recognized as the college of choice in Northeast Kansas.

Strategic Planning

The appraisal of the College’s initial AQIP portfolio-- the College's accreditation process --  recommended a stronger method of strategic planning to assist not only with planning, but with data collection and the integration of continuous improvement principles into the College culture.  Consequently, College officials and personnel contracted with Datatel for a consultant to provide strategic planning training during the 2008-09 academic year.  That planning resulted in the creation of a Strategic Planning Council (SPC) which has developed a Strategic Plan that provides direction and support for standing committees, Individual Action Plans, and AQIP Action Projects.

1.  Goals for Student Learning and Shaping an Academic Climate

As a comprehensive community college, HCC’s goals for student learning are to provide opportunities for associate degree completion, certification completion, and skill enhancement to meet student objectives.

HCC offers five associate degrees:  associate in arts, associate in science, associate in applied science, associate in nursing, and associate in general studies; and nineteen certificate programs. 

HCC Program Information

Associate in Applied Science and Certificate Options – with the intent to seek employment when completed.


Accounting Specialist-AAS/Certificate

Administrative Assistant-AAS/Certificate




Associate in Science (AS)

Associate in Arts (AA)

Associate in Applied Science (AAS)

Associate in General Studies (AGS)

Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN)


Accounting Specialist

Administrative Assistant

Automotive Collision Repair

Automotive Technology

Building Trades

Business Information Systems

Computer Aided Drafting

Computer Support Technology

Diesel Technology

Early Childhood

Electrical Technology


Health Science

HVAC and Plumbing

Industrial Welding Technology


Medical Office Assistant

Practical Nursing




Transfer Programs – with the intent to transfer for a Bachelor’s degree

Associate in Arts

with an emphasis in

Associate in Arts

with an emphasis in


Associate in Science

Agricultural Economics

Agriculture Education


Animal Science

Art Education

Art Therapy

Computer Graphics

Graphic Design

Pre-Interior Design

Studio Art


Business Administration

Business Education






Computer Graphics


Foreign Language


Speech Communication

Criminal Justice


Elementary Education

Physical Education

Secondary Education






Studio Photography


Social Work





      Exercise Science

Pre-Athletic Training


Pre-Dental Hygiene







Pre-Physical Therapy

Pre-Respiratory       Therapy

Pre-Veterinary Medicine



The HCC Key Instructional Programs can be organized under three headings:

General Education  The majority (approx. 70%) of HCC students intend to transfer their coursework to a bachelor degree-granting institution.  Consequently, our primary instructional program is designed to be the initial two years (60+ credit hours) of bachelor degree requirements.

Developmental Courses    Since approximately 40 percent of each incoming class to the campus requires at least one developmental course, we sought and were able to secure another Title III (Student Support Services – SSS) grant to address this student population.  To date, we have addressed these student needs with a variety of instructional techniques, including computer assisted instruction (CAI), staff and student tutors, and faculty/staff workshops on learning styles.  Results of that work show that other techniques are needed; a special semester that includes a second orientation to college life is now being conducted that focuses on skills for future success.

Technical/Workforce Training   HCC has traditionally had some technical coursework designed to prepare students for vocational careers.  With the current emphasis on workforce training and the merger of Northeast Kansas Technical College with HCC, these key programs are receiving even more attention.

Concerning the use of technology within the formal instructional context, delivering educational programs to the College’s entire nine county service area is a priority for HCC.  To that end, we utilize technology in the traditional classroom setting, with telephones and faxing capabilities, with e-mail, online, through the Kansas distance learning systemTELENET-2, Interactive Distance Learning (IDL), with Internet access and multimedia capabilities, a growing number of courses offered completely online, and Smart classrooms.  An earlier Title III initiative allowed us to make nearly every campus classroom into a Smart classroom.  Finally, HCC instructors are supplied with computers, laptops, software, and technical support. 

2.  Key Organizational Services, Other than Instructional Programs, Provided to Students and Other External Stakeholders

In addition to instructional programs, the College provides courses and other opportunities for students to develop and display their talents in art, music, and drama; and provides courses, intramural and intercollegiate athletic competition, and other recreational activities.  The College offers members of the community an opportunity for educational development and cultural enrichment by providing:

a. basic adult education programs and testing for those who have not obtained their high school diploma;

b. credit and non-credit courses, workshops, seminars, customized training, and other organized learning opportunities as needed or requested by the public or by businesses or industries in the College’s service area;

c. art shows, lectures, athletic events, musical and dramatic performances for the cultural enrichment of the community; and

d. facilities that can be available for community use, including a Learning Resource Center and a Wellness Center.

3.  Short- and Long-Term Requirements and Expectations of Student and Key Stakeholder Groups

Students expect to have their needs met, whether with respect to affordable quality higher education opportunities that accommodate their schedules, degree requirements, or transferability. They may expect a supportive staff and faculty, along with other educational or training opportunities such as continuing education and community development, or the opportunity to pursue personal goals.  The expectations and needs of students in these categories can be quite varied, ranging from updated computer skills to a jump start on college transfer hours for high school students taking college-credit courses or complete degree programs. Most class sessions include a mix of students with differing goals. 

On Campus Student Needs/Requirements

  • Effective teaching/Courses/ Programs
  • Financial Aid & Scholarships
  • Academic Advisement
  • Safety on campus
  • Technology/Facilities
  • Housing/Food Service
  • Activities/Entertainment
  • Support Services
  • Clear and Simple Admissions Process
  • Degree Programs
  • Transfer Info/Requirements for Graduation

Off Campus Student Needs/Requirements

  • Effective teaching/Courses/ Programs                     
  • Financial Aid & Scholarships
  • Access to classes/Convenience
  • Tech Support
  • Re-training programs

Non-Traditional Student Needs/Requirements

Same as off campus with the addition of childcare and evening and weekend classes.

Taxpayers/Doniphan Co. Residents Needs/Requirements

  • Limited or no raise in property taxes                                                 
  • Continued Career Training
  • Cultural Events
  • Access to Facilities

Faculty Needs/Requirements                                                             Staff

  • Fair Compensation                                                     * Fair Compensation
  • Access to Technology/Training                                  *Continued Training
  • Advancement Opportunities                                       *Advancement Opportunities
  • Effective Supervision                                                  *Effective Supervision
  • Academic Support/Continued Ed.                              *Benefits
  • Benefits                                                                       *Supportive Work Environment
  • Supportive Work Environment

Alumni Needs/Requirements

  • Continued Traditions
  • Student Success
  • Continued Growth – student, faculty, and facility
  • Connections with other Alumni
  • An Opportunity to give back

Prospective Students Needs/Requirements

  • Scholarships
  • Financial Aid
  • Academic Programs
  • Campus Visits
  • Constant Improvement
  • Helpful/Friendly employees
  • Easy Access to information – Phone, Web Site, High School Visits, College Planning Conferences, Career Fair
  • Traditions of proven student success


  • Safe Campus
  • Financial Aid & Scholarships - affordable
  • Responsive to needs

Competitors  The College has various competitors in serving these groups.  The primary competitors for students are other – mostly in Kansas – higher education institutions.  Other taxing entities in the state and county vie for our county taxpayer dollars. We compete with other colleges and workforce opportunities for our faculty and staff, other colleges attended by our alumni, and the colleges attended by student siblings for the attention of student parents.

4.  Administrative, Faculty, and Staff Resources




Key Factors in how Human Resources are Organized and Used

  • Area economy
  • College budget
  • Program needs
  • Federal/state/local/accreditation requirements

5.  Strategies that Align Leadership, Decision Making, and Communication Processes with College Mission and Values, Policies and Requirements of Oversight Entities, and Legal, Ethical, and Social Responsibilities

The creation of a strategic planning process involving the College’s Mission and Vision statements is now embedded in a Strategic Planning Council that continually communicates with all employees.  An annual review of Strategic Plan is conducted by College leadership with the Board of Trustees.  By state statute, the College is required to create and execute a series of Performance Agreements with the Kansas Board of Regents, which has coordinating authority over Kansas community colleges.  The final strategy aligning Leading and Communicating processes is adherence to local/state/federal/HLC guidelines.

6.  Strategies that Align Key Administrative Support Goals with Mission and Values

Alignment of our key administrative support goals with the College Mission and Vision is embedded in our strategic planning process.

7.   How Data and Information Collected and Distributed is Determined

Within the purview of the Strategic Planning Council, Action Projects, and work teams identify strategies to meet strategic goals.  With the assistance of Institutional Research, appropriate data collection and distribution methods are determined and conducted.

8.  Key Commitments, Constraints, Challenges, and Opportunities with which College’s Short and Long Term Plans and Strategies Must be Aligned

  • Local/state/federal/HLC guidelines and partnerships
  • Local/state economy and funding sources
  • Human resources
  • Enrollments

9.  Key Partnerships and Collaborations (external and internal) that Contribute to College’s Effectiveness

Eight key collaborative relationships have been identified, all of which are directly related to the College mission.  Those key relationships center on our educational, coordinating, and economic partners. 

KBOR – by legislation, the Kansas Board of Regents governs the six universities in Kansas and coordinates the Kansas community colleges and technical colleges.

USDs – the unified school districts in our service area are the primary providers of our students.

Area Articulated Colleges and Universities – these institutions are the primary receivers of our AA, AS, and AGS students.

Area Businesses – our AAS and certificate students are hired by these businesses and the businesses also provide members for our program advisory boards.

Economic Development – the College has a strong history of involvement with the Economic Development efforts in our service area

Community and Professional Organizations – the College plays a key supportive and participative role in community and professional organizations such as Highland PRIDE, Food Pantry East and West, Doniphan County Chamber of Commerce, Glacial Hills RC&D, Wolf River Consortium, and the School-Business Educational Consortium.