A nearly two-year institutional review process culminated last week with the announcement that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) reaffirmed accreditation for College of the Canyons at the highest possible rating.
The commission notified the college that its accreditation has been approved for another six-year term, with only one regular midterm report due in 2017. This is the highest level of approval possible, and is only awarded when an institution “substantially meets or exceeds the eligibility requirements, accreditation standards and commission policies,” Commission President Barbara Beno stated in her notification letter.
“I am extremely proud of the outcome of our accreditation process, as it confirms what our community has long known about College of the Canyons – that we are a strategic, forward-thinking college committed to continuous improvement and the success of our students,” College of the Canyons Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook said.
Accreditation is a voluntary process colleges and universities undergo to evaluate and assure the quality of education used by the American higher education community – and to subsequently make those results known to the public. The ACCJC evaluates and accredits public and private postsecondary institutions that offer two-year education programs and award the associate degree.
The accreditation process is conducted not only to assure the quality of the institution, but also to encourage institutional improvement. All accredited institutions are expected to use the report to improve their educational programs and services. The process includes an intensive institutional self-evaluation report, followed by an outside peer evaluation of an institution’s adherence to set standards of good practice, and an ongoing analysis of the overall quality of programs and services offered by the college.
"As a student at COC when it opened, I am always proud to see the college recognized for excellence,” said Michele Jenkins, president of the college’s Board of Trustees. “It was especially gratifying to see the team commend us for our efforts to promote student leadership, and ability to create a welcoming campus environment. Those things sometimes go unnoticed, but they make a real difference for our students.”
The college began compiling its self-evaluation report in fall 2013, and submitted it to the commission in August 2014 before a team of peer evaluators visited the college two months latter.
“We engaged in a comprehensive effort to document all that we do, and how we demonstrate the best qualities of higher education,” said Dr. Jerry Buckley, vice president of instruction, who led the college’s accreditation efforts. “College of the Canyons again demonstrated to our community that we are committed to a high standard of teaching and learning, as well as support for our local businesses and industries by having our accreditation status reaffirmed.”
The visiting team of peer evaluators commended the college for successful fiscal management; developing a welcoming, student-centered learning environment; promoting effective student leadership; highlighting the talents of students by displaying student artwork throughout both campuses; and cultivating robust community partnerships.
“The results of accreditation are a testament to everyone who works at College of the Canyons, and in particular, the more than 140 faculty, staff, and administrators who helped to write the self-evaluation report, catalog the required evidence, and produce the report. As with everything we undertake at COC, it was a team effort marked by dedication, enthusiasm and a sense of purpose,” Dr. Van Hook said.
The college’s self-evaluation and the visiting team’s report are available at the link below.