MHCC, State Complete Joint Review
Posted October 29, 2012
Mt. Hood Community College (MHCC) announces that a review of the Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education (WLEE) program that MHCC initiated more than a year ago has been completed with assistance from the Audit Division of the Secretary of State’s office.
The college began investigating irregularities in June 2011 after concerns were raised internally about the program. The concerns centered on student safety and financial accountability as well as inventory and storage of equipment used in the program.
“The project was labor-intensive and required a massive amount of work – difficult to accomplish, especially when many departments at the college are already operating short-handed,” says Dave Shields, chair of the MHCC District Board of Education.
The college requested assistance from the Secretary of State’s office in June 2012. “We are grateful for the additional staff hours provided by the state’s Audit Division,” says Shields. “Their assistance in reviewing transactional data and control systems helped us to identify the full scope of concerns related to the WLEE program.”
The MHCC-Secretary of State review identified opportunities for improving operations related to the WLEE program: inventory monitoring; travel policies; and employee purchasing and reimbursement. The review also recommended a streamlined process for tracking the status of complaints and reviews, in any area of the college, should the need arise in the future.
“MHCC has already initiated actions to address the audit findings and recommendations and these will help us to improve our internal controls and good stewardship of public funds,” says Mike Hay, MHCC president.
About the WLEE Program
The WLEE program began fall term 2010 and prepares students for careers in outdoor recreation and survival. Students typically spend 75 days in the field per year, including a 35-day immersion expedition. MHCC is a prime location for such a program, with its proximity to forests, mountains and rivers.
The college announced last spring that the WLEE program would be paused due to the ongoing review. Students who are now in their second year of the two-year program will be able to complete their coursework and graduate on schedule next June. New, first-year students will be admitted to the WLEE program once the college has completed all follow-up actions.
Click to read the press release and letter from the Secretary of State and the response from MHCC.