Accreditation Team compliments college


LMC President Bob Kratochvil and the Accreditation Team during the Oct. 8 Exit Report meeting.

Roya Mohammad and Andrew Guitron

Following a two-year process of self-evaluation, a visiting team from the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges praised Los Medanos College in its Exit Report Thursday, Oct. 8 for its commitment to providing a quality educational experience for students.

“The team would like to highlight the college for its robust offerings of professional development opportunities in support of its mission, vision, values, and strategic initiatives based on the use of data throughout the college processes including equity centered practices,” said Peer Review Team Chair Debra Daniel during the Zoom meeting finalizing the accrediting commission’s official remote campus visit that began Oct. 5.

In addition, the team acknowledged LMC’s success during the transition of in-person classes to remote instruction due to COVID-19.

“It was obvious that you pulled together and just made it happen so students continued to be served,” she said. “That’s to your credit how you always focused and continue to focus on students.”

Although the oral preliminary report provided insight into the team’s findings, the final report will be released in January after the accrediting commission reviews and approves the written report.

In an email letter following the exit report, college President Bob Kratochvil noted the team identified no college areas requiring attention and commended the campus community.

“The team was impressed with the atmosphere of collaboration at Los Medanos College, as well as our support for students,” he wrote.” Kudos to all of you.”

Although Daniels called LMC “a great place” with “a lot to be proud of,” the Contra Costa Community College District itself did not receive praise. The team’s suggestions for improvement were at the district level and suggested it conduct a “regular and systematic evaluation process for all employees.” In addition it called on the district governing board to regularly review and evaluate its policies and bylaws and “delegate operational authority and not interfere with operational activities.” 

Daniels explained the purpose of the four-day visit was to evaluate LMC as a whole with reference to the accreditation standards and determine how well the college is accomplishing its mission. The team reviewed the college’s own Institutional Self-Evaluation Report ahead of its visit and spent its time at LMC interviewing managers, faculty, staff and students, while also holding public forums for feedback. Daniels said the team’s official report will offer recommendations to improve quality in addition to recognizing outstanding practices.

LMC began the process of compiling its self-evaluation report in phases starting in 2018 by interviewing faculty and collecting data on the quality of education and curriculum. In the second phase, the LMC accreditation work group identified LMC’s strengths in teaching, and what could be improved. In phase 3, the group evaluated long-term planning for the college’s goals to keep students’ education competitive and up to date. In phase 4 work group members wrote a draft report and solicited feedback from all campus governance groups and the college district governing board before submitting a final revised version to the accrediting commission last spring.

The accreditation process is designed to encourage educational institutions to improve academic quality, institutional effectiveness and student success.

The accrediting commission, part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, is the agency that accredits LMC and other community colleges in the west on a six-year cycle.

Only accredited colleges and universities are eligible for federal funding, which entitles its students to apply for free federal financial aid through FAFSA. According to LMC Accreditation Liaison Officer Chialin Hsieh in an earlier Experience story, accreditation also ensures courses are transferable to other colleges, certificates and degrees are recognized and that students can be professionally licensed in their fields.

Editor’s note: Information from previous Experience articles on accreditation have been integrated into this report.

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