City College assessment complete

Additional reporting by Crystal Anderson.

City College earned the highest rating possible when its status as an accredited institution was reaffirmed recently by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, according to a Feb. 2 announcement by City College President Kathryn Jeffery.

Accreditation, according to the ACCJC’s Web site, is granted to an educational institution that has been found to meet or exceed stated criteria of educational excellence.

“We’ve decided ourselves, as an institution, as a district, that we are going to follow a certain set of standards. It’s a voluntary decision,” said Kelly Irwin, senior IT technician and the classified chair of the Accreditation Steering Committee’s tri-chairs. “What that means for the institution, and for students, is that if we are accredited your units can be transferred to other accredited institutions.”

City College earned the commission’s highest rating of reaffirmation of accreditation, but must submit a follow-up report by March 13, 2011. According to the letter of accreditation issued Jan. 29, the commission recommends the college begin an assessment of student learning outcomes at all levels of instruction in order to meet the standards by 2012.

The process of accreditation involved administrators and the student body.

“Student input was obtained in three ways,” said Marybeth Buechner, City College dean of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation Liaison Officer. “Through an opinion survey, by having student input to writing the self-study, and by the visiting accreditation team talking with students.”

The accreditation team visited the City College campus last October and spoke to students about their educational experiences.

According to their report, seven standards were evaluated in the process. From institutional effectiveness to information technology, City College met or exceeded most of the standards. Other recommendations included implementation of a more interactive process to keep the campus informed of capital construction projects, Web site re-design and “implementation of reciprocity of student placement evaluations district wide.”

“If we were to not be reaffirmed all of the units that you just did would be non- existent,” Irwin said. “It’s a big deal.”

“[It’s] sort of like making it legit or something,” said student Priscilla Rincon.