Accreditation evaluations ensue

By Christian Urrutia, Editor-in-Chief

A visit from the external evaluation team that approved the campus for accreditation earlier this year is set to take place on Nov. 4 and 5 to follow up on recommendations given by the accrediting commission.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, accredited Contra Costa College in February but listed five recommendations in areas the campus should improve on, including one district wide recommendation.
A follow up report, drafted by the college, was due on Oct. 15 to the ACCJC detailing responses to the recommendations.
The planning committee and the visiting team are to get together on Nov. 4 and 5 to discuss what the college is doing to address the recommendations, Senior Dean of Instruction Donna Floyd said.
“Hopefully we do not have to do a follow up report to the follow up report and just focus on the midterm report in 2017,” Floyd said.
Governing Board Trustee John Marquez said he was particularly satisfied with the effectiveness and speed in which the draft was done and ultimately the final submitted report from the people involved at CCC.
“We passed accreditation for all three campuses with flying colors and the staff(s) should be lauded for their work. That is what made it go (so) smoothly and by doing the necessary paperwork,” Marquez said.
Sylvia Thomas, ACCJC external evaluation team chairperson, said via email the team is looking forward to the return visit to CCC and the district.
The visit will consist of two parts:  a visit to the District Office on Nov. 4 and a visit to the college on both days.
The purpose of the visit will be to verify that the district and the college have addressed the five recommendations and evaluate their visit by speaking with individuals identified with the appropriate responses.
Thomas said, “During the actual visit, we hope to verify our initial findings regarding the college’s efforts to address each recommendation.”
The first recommendation, which is also the districtwide recommendation, requires faculty evaluation reports to include student learning outcomes (SLOs) as part of the evaluation process.
District Executive Vice Chancellor Eugene Huff said SLOs were better integrated into faculty evaluation reports through the new contract agreement between United Faculty and the district in a response to the districtwide recommendation.
In response to the second recommendation, which focuses on how effective the institution is for students and their education, the college created the strategic plan for 2015-2020, “Vision 2020: Equity & Access, Engagement & Achievement, Excellence & Accountability,” mapping out long-term goals for the college.
Recommendation three requires the college to establish institution-set standards for student learning and achievement and plan improvement to programs and services to increase overall student performance.
Floyd said the response to this recommendation lays out a plan involving four key indicators:
– Increase the persistence rate of first-time students.
– Increase the success rate in basic skills courses each year.
– Increase the percentage of students who complete a degree or certificate and/or who are transfer ready.
– Increase the overall successful course completion rate of students.
Floyd said the intent is looking at how students perform against these set standards and what could help them to succeed in order increase those who are transfer ready.
The response to recommendation four includes developing a distance education plan as part of the strategic plan to address the need for, and growth of, distance education, training for faculty and providing an orientation and learning support services, Floyd said.