CCC prepared for accreditation evaluations

By Sically Sorrell, Advocate Staff

Contra Costa College finalized the process of accreditation after months of preparation and the sudden disruption of a global pandemic.

Accreditation is a self-regulation system developed by higher education institutions to evaluate the overall quality of any given institution and encourage its continual improvement.

The accreditation standards represent the best practices in higher education and set expectations for institutions to meet every seven years.

Dean of Student Services Dennis Franco said they met with the accreditation team in interviews.

“We are absolutely ready. Folks have put in a great deal of work in the effort to get us ready, led by our Accreditation Liaison Officer, Mayra Padilla,” Franco said.

Dean of the Liberal Arts Division Jason Berner says they have completed CCC’s institutional self-evaluation report, which provides a detailed overview of their governance processes, financial information and instructional and student support programs.

“The visiting team uses this document as a basis for its evaluation of the college, along with interviews of various members of the college community,” Berner said.

Berner said the site visit occurred from Oct. 5 through Oct. 8, where the visiting team prepared a report with recommendations and requested additional information or actions.

Jon Celesia, chairperson of the astronomy, physics, engineering, geology and computer science departments, said even with the school’s dysfunction recently involving the district, the school continues to push for overall improvement for the betterment of the students.

“CCC continues to offer students support and scholarships to advance themselves. CCC is filled with dedicated people that care deeply about our students,” Celesia said.
Celesia also stated the accreditation team is more of a support team than a mean disciplinarian.

“They want to help us become better and meet standards,” he said. “Think of it like a good employer that evaluates you and is coming from the place of identifying improvements to make you better, not fire you.”

Interim President Damon Bell described the visiting team that further evaluates the school as members from other community colleges that join forces.

“We have a visiting team of about twelve people from other community colleges that work in the different segments of the colleges,” Bell said.

Bell also stated that the Contra Costa Community College District (4CD) would also be involved in the accreditation process.

“A separate team will be meeting with folks at the district office the same week as the college visits,” he said.
“I do not believe we will be affected by any outside dysfunction,” he said.

Dean of Institutional Effectiveness and Equity Mayra Padilla said the accreditation process allows the school to focus on what areas they can improve, and more specifically, in concerns to helping students reach success.

“Now that we’ve had a chance to assess our college, what do we think we want to do over the next six years? How do we want to improve our students’ successes?” Padilla said.

Padilla said over 70 percent of CCC students are part-timers and believe classes’ equity needs to improve for them.