ACCJC visit nears

LMC to be evaluated

Los Medanos College is preparing for the arrival of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), for the future visit that will take place during the Fall 2014 semester.

The purpose of accreditation process is to the improve quality and effectiveness of educational institutions. It is a system by which junior colleges evaluate themselves in accordance with standards of good practice regarding mission, goals and objectives, proper utilization and sufficiency of resources as well as the usefulness, integrity, and effectiveness of its processes. In addition, accreditation ensures if institutions are reaching their expected outcomes and outlined goals.

“LMC is preparing its ‘Self Evaluation’ which does just that in relation to four standards: Institutional Mission and Effectiveness, Student Learning Programs and Services, Resources, and Leadership and Governance,” said LMC President Bob Kratochvil. “The various committees are performing an introspective look, along with providing evidence of related actions, on each of these standards.”

According to the “ACCJC Guide to Evaluating Institutions,” accreditors will assure students, the public, and their peers institutional integrity, quality, and effectiveness. The ACCJC publishes 21 Eligibility Requirements, Standards, and Policies that member colleges must adhere to at all times in order colleges to receive and remain accredited.

“When the Accrediting Team comes, they will validate what we have said in our self-evaluation by meeting with many people on campus and by examining the ‘evidence’ we have put forward in support of our meeting the accreditation standards,” said Kratochvil.

The Accrediting Team is expected to arrive in late September or early October 2014, and remain on campus for four days conducting interviews with staff, faculty, students and managers. While all three colleges within the District are accredited separately, the accreditation teams are expected to evaluate all three colleges simultaneously. The Accrediting Team will write a report about the college to the ACCJC, which will include commendations and recommendations that the college may need to address. At the conclusion of the visit, they will meet privately with the college president for a brief exit report summary. The ACCJC will then present their summary findings to the college as a whole. A final report is then prepared which will reflect whether or not the college is reaffirmed for accreditation that is sent to the college president.

Though the process of self-evaluation occurs once every six years, the entire accreditation process begins two years before an accreditation team visits the college.

“Many months before they come to the college, they would have begun studying our college — accessing our website,” said Senior Dean of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Kiran Kamath, who also serves as LMC’s Accreditation Liason Officer. “Reviewing our catalog and schedules, accessing our online classes, reading our self-evaluation report and previous reports. They would have already developed a list of areas that they would like to learn more about and a list of people they would like to meet during their visit.”

Formed in Fall 2012, the Accreditation Steering Committee, along with four Standards Committees, have been meeting on a monthly basis. Each Standard has co-chairs and members from various constituents of the college. The co-chairs guide members of their Standard, as they instruct each member to study a sub-section of that groups focus then gather information to address the requirements of the Standard. From there, the committees have nine months to develop a first draft of the report. Once the first draft is completed the groups will then have another three months to refine the information and gather evidence prior to completing the second draft, which is scheduled for completion next month. The final draft is due for completion next spring, which will then be submitted for review and endorsement to various senates of the college and the President’s Council. After receiving the green light from Kratochvil it is then submitted to the District Governing Board for approval. The entire process must be completed by June 2014 to be submitted in time to ACCJC before their visit next fall.

While the colleges go through the accreditation process of self-evaluation and writing its accompanying report every six years the accreditation process does not end there. LMC actually goes through these steps annually.

“It is not a practice that the college engages in once in six years,” said Kamath. “Colleges are required to continuously improve all their practices and document their improvements throughout the year. In addition to the re-affirmation process every six years, colleges submit an annual report every spring, and a mid-term report every third year.”

Kamath went on to highlight the importance of college accreditation.

“It is important for our students that LMC is re-accredited,” said Kamath. “All colleges and universities want to be accredited because it is an external recognition of the quality of the institution. It is like a ‘gold seal’ of approval from an external organization. It is an indication to the public that the college has been reviewed and that it meets high standards in all aspects of the review.”

Students have another reason to appreciate the lengths LMC goes to maintain its
“gold seal of approval” because  student’s are only eligible for federal financial aid if they attend an accredited college.

More information can be found at ACCJC’s website at