ELAC continues accreditation process

 

By Ivan Cazares

The fourth draft of East Los Angeles College’s self-evaluation summary is due Dec. 9 as part of an accreditation process ending in spring 2016.

Representatives of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) will visit ELAC in to finalize the evaluation. There are four main standards that ELAC needs to meet.

It must have a clear mission statement, ensure academic quality, institutional effectiveness and integrity. It must have effective student learning programs and support services. Its resources must be well organized. It must also have a well organized and involved leadership and governance.

The goal of accreditation is to ensure that institutions of higher education provide students with an education that meets acceptable levels of quality according to the United States Department of Education. Accreditation is handled by private educational associations.

The Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized agencies.

Agencies must apply for recognition through the Department of Education and must be reviewed by the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity.

The summary is more than 300 pages long and the four main standards consist of 120 standards. ELAC received a warning in 2009. However, it was fully accredited in June 2010. The accreditation process is repeated every six years.

This is a significant reference point in the current summary.

Faculty Accreditation Chair Barbara Dunsheath said that SLOs are a challenge, because they are “hard to measure.” The SLO process is meant to increase student success through the improvement of basic skills classes, general education and transfer programs.

Course Learning Outcomes are a part of the SLO process, and 98.6 percent of full time staff participated in a CLO assessment in the spring. The ACCJC requires schools to break down and analyze data on its performance and progress.

During an open meeting on Thursday, a faculty member expressed his concern with this requirement. He said some are concerned that they will be singled out during analysis.

Dunsheath assured him that the analysis and surveys conducted during this process are meant to identify departments that need improvement and student subgroups struggling to perform.

Based on data collected by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Advancement, Latinas have been identified as taking longer to transfer to a four-year university than other subgroups.

In response, the ELAC Equity formed the Latina Completion and transfer academy.

Entry-level math was identified as a significant obstacle for a large number of students.

Dunsheath and Dean of Academic Affairs Carol Kozeracki explained that if students place higher in mathematics, they are more likely to succeed in college. They explained that a large number of students are signing up for classes and not gaining any credits. “We need to study students’ high school backgrounds. We must better prepare students for the assessment test,” Kozeracki said.

A page highlighting some of ELAC’s successes will be included in the draft. “It’s like brag sheet,” Dunsheath said. Submissions include the Architecture Department’s participation in the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Design Village Competition.

Los Angeles College Faculty Guild President Joanne Waddell sent out an email saying ACCJC “has failed to meet expectations. It no longer meets the needs of the California Community College (CCC) system.” She recommends investigating options for establishing a new model for accreditation.

She recommends presenting a recommendation of action to the Board of Governors by spring 2016.

This won’t affect the current accreditation process.

All nine colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District will be visited by the ACCJC within a few weeks of each other, and must continue to meet the standards it sets.

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