By Ivan Cazares
Representatives of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) will visit East Los Angeles College on Tuesday to make sure ELAC provides students with the services and resources it outlines in its self-evaluation summary.
“It’s a peer review,” Faculty Accreditation Chair Barbara Dunsheath said, meaning the team consists of educators from different community colleges. The team will visit different departments, the library and might even sit in on classes.
The purpose 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.
The visit on Tuesday is the final step in a six-year long process which started in 2010, when the school was fully accredited after receiving a warning in 2009. All nine of the colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District are being evaluated within weeks of each other. It is the first time ACCJC is doing things this way.
Community colleges are currently accredited by private educational associations like ACCJC. Associations must apply through the Department of Education and must be reviewed.
ACCJC has been criticized by people such as Los Angeles College Faculty Guild President Joanne Waddell. Its critics are calling for a more effective accreditation process.
A school that is not accredited might not provide students with a quality education. Student Learning Outcomes are one of the ways ACCJC ensures the colleges it accredits provide students with a quality education.
The SLO process is meant to increase student success through the improvement of basic skills, general education and transfer programs. ELAC has been steadily improving its SLO process since 2009. Course Learning Outcomes are part of the SLO process, and 98.6 percent of full-time staff participated in a CLO assessment in spring of 2015.