The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Accreditation team leaves City College on seemingly positive note

Dr. Norma Ambriz-Galaviz, President of Merritt College, Richard Pagel, Vice President of Admistrative Services at Orange Coast College, Stephanie Harding, Interim Executive Assistant to the president of Merritt College, Deborah Ikeda, President of Clovis Community College, and Jonna Schengel, Physical Therapist Assistant Program Director at College of the Sequoias were the constituants present at the open forum that took place in the Student Center Oct. 7 (Photo by: William Grubbs |
Dr. Norma Ambriz-Galaviz, Richard Pagel, Stephanie Harding, Deborah Ikeda and Jonna Schengel were the constituents present at the open forum about City College’s accreditation in the Student Center Oct. 7 (Photo by: William Grubb | [email protected])

The accreditation team has come and gone, bringing a quiet calm after the scramble leading to its visit. The college, however, was nothing if not well-prepared, a factor the accreditation team noticed.

Several members of the accreditation team took a break from their busy four-day schedule Oct 5 – 8 to hear the good, the bad, and really any kind of opinion administrators, faculty, staff and students had to share Oct. 7 in the Student Center.

Public Information Officer Rick Brewer was the first representative of City College to take the floor, referencing the last set of actionable improvement items – recommendations by the accreditation team – which focused on better communication.

“We send out a weekly e-newsletter to every faculty and staff member on campus, and this semester, just a few weeks ago, we started sending an e-newsletter to all students, with the idea of trying to open those lines as much as they possibly can,” Brewer said. “I think we know there are bottlenecks that occur from time to time, sometimes that bottleneck occurs when that information is coming from the top, and there’s also some bottlenecks when good information is bubbling from the rank and file. We’re always looking for ways we can improve that situation.”

Brewer also mentioned the information issues stemming from a 40-minute alert delay after the on campus shooting that killed student Roman Gonzalez.

“Obviously, you know, we had some communication issues in the last month – Sept. 3 on – with the incident that occurred on our campus,” Brewer said. “[But] I’m right there in the president’s office, and I have been witness to a real desire on the part of not only the president, but really everyone on campus to use communication to help heal the things that have happened.”

Several members of the Associated Student Body voiced their concerns about issues revolving around campus safety, mentioning a lack of security cameras in the parking structure, and the need for a traffic-light equipped crosswalk between the structure and the staff parking lot.
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The team, made up of professionals working in or with colleges and organized by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, assess an institution’s self-evaluation and determine whether it provides a quality education with overall institutional effectiveness.

Team member Jonna Schengel, a physical therapist assistant program director for the College of the Sequoias, talked about how team members spent their time leading up to the visit, immersing themselves in more than 100AP hours of work to identify evidence links, double check minutes and agendas, and search for proof of cited policies.

Team member Deborah Ikeda, president of Clovis Community College, addressed the “five and a half pound APbook,” also known as the college’s self-evaluation, and how incredibly thorough it was.

“I’ve been on probably 15 [accreditation teams], and this is the biggest self-evaluation book I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading,” Ikeda said.

Overall, the message was a warm one, for both the college and the team. Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness Dean Marybeth Buechner spoke, identifying colleagues who were integral to creating the self-evaluation.

Several City College employees thanked the team for their work, some sharing stories of serving on teams themselves. A representative for classified staff shared her appreciation of City College’s policy to include classified members in important processes, and even the accreditation team members themselves mentioned after the forum how welcome they felt here.

“Accessibility and transparency to their processes and their operations is key to any visit,” said Dr. Norma Ambriz-Galaviz, Chair of the accreditation team and president of Merritt College, speaking about how easy it’s been to access information at City College. “I think [students] should be very proud of a very beautiful campus.”

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