January brings new six year accreditation cycle
Katherine J. White
October 21, 2009
Filed under News
Bakersfield College has until January 2010 to correct its shortcomings, or it will lose its accreditation status.
It’s all a part of the cycle that continues.
All California community and junior colleges are subject to a six-year accreditation cycle in which the college is scrutinized by representatives of other California colleges to see if the college is living up to standards set by the U.S. Department of Education, according to Ann Morgan, director of institutional research and planning. Morgan serves as the accreditation liaison officer, which was previously held by Ed Knudson, the former BC vice president of academic affairs who is now at Moorpark College.
During this six-year cycle, the examined college must submit a self study, which is sent to the Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Colleges must also welcome delegates of other colleges for on-site visits, and those representatives then draft their own reports on their findings of the visited colleges.
ACCJC accepted BC’s self report along with the peer review report Jan. 9-11, 2008. An ACCJC evaluation team visited BC Nov. 8-9, 2007. A midterm report was sent by BC to ACCJC Oct. 15, 2009.
“The self study is a qualitative program evaluation and tries to answer a series of questions from ACCJC and to see if ACCJC guidelines are being followed,” said Morgan. “The second part is the peer review done by peers from other colleges. Third, ACCJC reviews both self study and peer reviews,” said Morgan.
If an examined college is determined to have some deficiencies, then the college is given two years to correct its shortcomings, or the college will lose its accredited status.
In brief, if a college loses its accreditation status, students of that college will not be able to transfer their credits from that college to another.
According to Morgan, ACCJC has gotten stricter with reviewed colleges over recent years, but BC has addressed several of the recommendations ACCJC has made to BC, which include program review, institutional planning and student learning outcomes.
“California is a little slow in developing its student learning outcomes compared to the rest of the nation,” Morgan said.
Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, interim vice president of academic affairs, concurred with Morgan and said that the southern and eastern parts of the country were well ahead of California in addressing student learning outcomes, which means looking into how well students learn within courses.
However, Gomez-Heitzeberg said that BC has complied with the ACCJC recommendations in that it has developed a recommended code of ethics for employees, a process of evaluation and feedback to and from adjunct faculty as well as an organizational map of roles within the administration department. This chart can be found in the district office.
“This functional organizational chart clearly delineates the roles of administrators,” said Gomez-Heitzeberg.
According to Gomez-Heitzeberg, a “decision-making task force” was also formed, which will report regularly to the college council. All of these changes, said Gomez-Heitzeberg, conform to the recommendations ACCJC conveyed to BC.