Earlier this year, we received word from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) that our accreditation site visit would be postponed to October 2016 from the original date of March 2016. The reason for this delay, we were told, was to allow ACCJC to synchronize the reaccreditation process of all colleges within the same district. Our neighboring colleges in the Los Angeles district will host visits at all nine sites in Spring 2016; to accommodate this rather large endeavor (a visiting team for each of the nine colleges, plus another group for the district office) ACCJC has asked that we wait our turn until the October cycle.
Does this rescheduling change anything for us?
It really does not. We continue to proceed with our work and will have additional time in 2016 for further review and improvement. We plan to submit our final report to the Commission in August 2016, after the document has been presented to the campus community and approved by the Board of Trustees.
What have we done so far?
The nine teams working on our self-evaluation report submitted their first drafts in October 2014. The document was evaluated by a group of reviewers and suggestions for the second draft were returned to the groups. We have asked that the second drafts be ready by early April.
A large part of this effort was to create a digital repository for all our documents, including syllabi for every section, SLOs, minutes of various meetings (outside those in governance committees), etc... We now have a structure in place on SharePoint and hope to be able to keep a consistent record keeping system.
What are the different components of this effort?
The Self-Evaluation report consists of four different standards with various subsections, divided into a total of nine parts. Each part encompasses a number of questions, each of which is to be addressed by providing a thorough description and a considerable amount of evidence.
In order to derive the maximum amount of benefit and improvement from the Self-Evaluation effort, we identified a list of gaps –as they pertain to accreditation standards- with the group of managers responsible for various units and created a timeline to address the specific areas where we might be falling short. The gap analysis document is reviewed on a monthly basis at IPCC and managers are asked to provide an update of the progress made thus far.
GCC will be among the first generation of districts to undergo reaccreditation under the new standards, published by ACCJC in 2014. Districts visited up to and including Fall 2015 are asked to use the old standards. As we wait for further clarification on the new requirements from the Commission, we have to proceed with the information already at hand.
It is important to note that the Self-Evaluation process is not an isolated island; in order for us to undergo a successful reaccreditation, our house needs to be in order in terms of program review, assessments, and planning as well. These various components are interconnected and important in our achieving our goal to serve our students in the best possible way. Your help in addressing the various components in this cycle is much appreciated.