Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of six regional accrediting organizations in the United States. The ACCJC accredits private and public colleges that provide students two-year education programs and confer the associate degree.[1] The Commission's scope includes colleges in California, Hawaii, and American territories and protectorates in the Pacific Ocean.[2]

The ACCJC was formed in 1962 when several accrediting agencies joined to create WASC.[3] The ACCJC is not a governmental entity but an independent organization of educators and others representing the public interest.[4] In concept, colleges apply to become members of the ACCJC and volunteer to participate in the accreditation process. A college must be accredited in order to participate in federal student financial aid programs.[5] Moreover, accreditation is crucial to a college's reputation. Accreditation provides students, the public, and the educational community with assurances of the college's effectiveness. It also affirms the professionalism and integrity of the faculty, staff, administration, and trustees of the college.[6]

in 2013, the ACCJC declared that it would pull the accreditation of, and thus shut down, City College of San Francisco. The ACCJC was sued in San Francisco Superior Court in three lawsuits by Dennis Herrera, San Francisco District Attorney; the American Federation of Teachers union local 2121, representing college faculty; and the Save CCSF Coalition of faculty, staff, and students. The judge appointed to hear these suits is Curtis E. A. Karnow.

The ACCJC has sanctioned colleges at a rate vastly higher than the other accrediting bodies in the United States. At a forum on the CCSF campus California State Senator James Beall and Assemblyman Tom Ammiano described legislation which would undo the monopoly the ACCJC holds on accreditation of California Community Colleges.

The accreditation process[edit]

The accreditation process is premised on the idea that the ACCJC and the colleges together shape the values and best practices of the educational community into the policies, requirements, and standards by which colleges are evaluated. It is the Commission's policy that the ACCJC and its member institutions share this right and responsibility.[7]

Accreditation processes vary among regional commissions. The ACCJC requires member colleges to carry out a self-study, compose a report, and undergo peer review every six years.[8] In short, the ACCJC process consists of two elements: the college's evaluation of itself and the ACCJC's evaluation of the college. These evaluations determine the extent to which the college is meeting the ACCJC's policies, requirements, and standards, and their purpose is to help the school improve itself. However, while the ACCJC and its representatives are considered peers of the college they are evaluating, ultimately it is the ACCJC, not the college, that will decide the college’s accreditation status and any subsequent steps the college must take to better this status.

On August 13, 2013, the ACCJC was found to be in violation of federal regulations concerning its accreditation process. In a letter sent to the president of the ACCJC, the U.S. Department of Education stated that the ACCJC must remedy the problems or risk termination of its federal recognition as an accrediting body.[9]

The self-study[edit]

The self-study is an extensive research project by which the college examines itself and makes plans for improvement in the context of the ACCJC’s policies, eligibility requirements, and standards. The ACCJC maintains dozens of policies, including "Review of Commission Actions."[10] There are twenty-one eligibility requirements, ranging from “Authority (to Operate as an Educational Institution)” to "Relations with the Accrediting Commission."[11] There are four areas of standards: “Institutional Mission and Effectiveness,” “Student Learning Programs and Services,” “Resources,” and “Leadership and Guidance.”[12] The standards state the practices of an “effective institution.” The ACCJC considers an institution effective when it “ensures that its resources and processes support student learning, continually assesses that learning, and pursues institutional excellence and improvement.”[13] The ACCJC emphasizes that this self-study must have the widespread involvement of faculty, staff, administration, students, and trustees to ensure that its conclusions are accurate and authoritative, reflecting the college as it is and projecting the college it wants to become.[14]

The self-study report[edit]

The college composes and organizes the self-study report, which typically runs several hundred pages or more, along the lines of the ACCJC’s policies, requirements, and standards. The bulk of the report is the college’s discussion of its adherence to the standards. Here the college must provide a summary of current processes and products, an analysis of the extent to which the college meets the standards, and evidence to support the summary and analysis. When pertinent, the college also adds “planning agendas” to guide its self-improvement. It then submits this report to the ACCJC in preparation for the ACCJC sending a "visiting" team to the site to "validate" the college's account of itself. Participants on the visiting team are volunteers drawn from other ACCJC member colleges.[15]

The site visit[edit]

The visiting team examines evidence, conducts interviews, and attends meetings of college committees and councils. When the team is done with its work, it delivers a preliminary oral exit report to the college. Subsequently, the team composes the written team report, which it delivers in draft form both to the ACCJC and to the college. This draft includes the visiting team's commendations and recommendations for addressing deficiencies. The college has the opportunity to correct factual errors in this report before it is considered a final draft.[16] [17]

Commission Action[edit]

On the basis of the college's self-study report, the site team's visit, the site team's report, documents from previous evaluations, and evidence of student learning and achievement, the nineteen-member Commission determines the accreditation status of the college. It announces this status to the college in an action letter and to the public through ACCJC announcements. This action letter also lists the Commission's "official" recommendations. For a college seeking reaffirmation, there are in general two possibilities. The ACCJC can reaffirm the college's accreditation, or it can sanction the college. The sanctions are of three kinds: Warning, Probation, and Show Cause. If sanctioned, the college maintains its accreditation, but the ACCJC withholds reaffirmation until the college addresses the matters that led to sanction. The ACCJC will also require the sanctioned college to provide one or more follow-up reports to confirm that it is in fact fulfilling the Commission's recommendations. Often the ACCJC will also require follow-up site visits. Very rarely does the ACCJC terminate a college's accreditation.[18]

The ACCJC generated 89% of all sanctions issued nationwide between 2003 and 2008. From June 2011 to June 2012, the ACCJC issued 64% of the seventy-five sanctions issued nationwide.[19]

A grant for $450,000 from the Lumina Foundation to "explore the usefulness of the Degree Qualifications Profile (DQP)" was received by the ACCJC.[20]

Additional reports[edit]

In between these comprehensive self-studies, which occur every six years, the college provides the ACCJC a midterm report, in which the college describes and analyzes its progress on each of the commission’s recommendations, its self-identified planning agendas, and any proposed "substantive changes."[21]

Colleges also submit to the ACCJC annual reports on student learning and achievement and on fiscal matters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Western Association of Schools and Colleges, n.d. Web. March 22, 2010.
  2. ^ Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. ACCJC, n.d. Web. March 22, 2010.
  3. ^ Palincheck, Robert S. "Regional Accreditation and Two-Year Colleges." New Directions for Community Colleges 83 (Fall 1993). 12. Print.
  4. ^ The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. "2002 Accreditation Standards: Implementation." Sacramento, CA: ASCCC, 2004. Web. March 16, 2010.
  5. ^ Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. Also, many institutions accept only the credits and degrees that students earn at accredited colleges.
  6. ^ The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. "2002 Accreditation Standards: Implementation." Sacramento, CA: ASCCC, 2004. Web. March 16, 2010.
  7. ^ Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges. "Policy on the Rights and Responsibilities of ACCJC and Member Institutions in the Accrediting Process." Accreditation Reference Handbook. Novato, CA: ACCJC, 2009. 115–116. Web. March 23, 2010.
  8. ^ Palinchek, Robert S. "Regional Accreditation and Two-Year Colleges." New Directions for Community Colleges 83 (Fall 1993). 12. Print.
  9. ^ [1] Game Changer for CCSF?
  10. ^ Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges. Accreditation Reference Handbook. Novato, CA: ACCJC, 2009. Web. 23 March 2010.
  11. ^ Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges. Accreditation Reference Handbook. Novato, CA: ACCJC, 2009. Web. March 23, 2010.
  12. ^ The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. "Working with the 2002 Accreditation Standards." Sacramento, CA: ASCCC, 2005. Web. April 22, 2010.
  13. ^ Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges. "Introduction to the Accreditation Standards." Accreditation Standards. Novato, CA: ACCJC, 2009. 1. Web. March 27, 2010.
  14. ^ The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. "Working with the 2002 Accreditation Standards." Sacramento, CA: ASCCC, 2005. Web. April 22, 2010.
  15. ^ The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. "Working with the 2002 Accreditation Standards." Sacramento, CA: ASCCC, 2005. Web. April 22, 2010.
  16. ^ The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. "Working with the 2002 Accreditation Standards." Sacramento, CA: ASCCC, 2005. Web. April 22, 2010.
  17. ^ Hitelman, Martin. "ACCJC Gone Wild". Retrieved January 21, 2013. 
  18. ^ The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges. "Working with the 2002 Accreditation Standards." Sacramento, CA: ASCCC, 2005. Web. April 22, 2010.
  19. ^ Hitelman, Martin. "ACCJC Gone Wild". Retrieved February 8, 2013. At present 25% of California's community colleges are on sanction.
  20. ^ People V. ACCJC, Complaint for Injunctive Relief, August 22, 2013, CGC-13-533693, page 22. http://www.sfcityattorney.org/modules/showdocument.aspx?documentid=1335 Accessed November 4, 2013
  21. ^ Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges. "Midterm Report." ACCJC, n.d. Web. March 27, 2010

External links[edit]