2015 ASCCC Accreditation Institute Report

2015 ASCCC Accreditation Institute Report – Pearl Ly,  Marin Library Director


The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) held its Accreditation Institute designed to address faculty and local senate needs on February 20-21, 2015 in San Mateo, CA. The program included breakout sessions on various topics and there were general sessions on accreditation, institutional effectiveness, disaggregated data, the new standards regarding integrity. The full program is available on the ASCCC event website. Although the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) typically partners with ASCCC on this institute, they were unable to participate this year. There was a wide range of attendees including faculty, administrators, and classified staff members. Stephanie Curry, Head Librarian and Academic Senate President at Reedley College, is also a member of the ASCCC Accreditation and Assessment Committee and presented in numerous break-out sessions. There were a handful of other library leaders participating in the institute and I offered to report back in CCL’s Outlook.


As a newbie to accreditation, I found the presentation on the history and future of accreditation from Dr. Constance Carroll, Chancellor of the San Diego California Community College District to be very informative. Here were some things I did not know:

·         There are six regional accrediting organizations and ours, WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) is the only one with two higher education accreditors: Senior and Junior (ACCJC)

·         California Community Colleges make up 83% total of ACCJC instutions.

·         Although much smaller, WASC has higher rates of sanctions compared to large accrediting organizations such as North Central and Southern.

·         There have been proposed revisions to California Code Regs., Title 5 regulations on accreditation (§ 51016) which would remove reference to ACCJC as the sole accreditor.


There were numerous simultaneous breakout sessions and I chose to attend the ones related to libraries, distance education, equity and serving on accreditation teams. Below are links to presentation materials and I offer some of my key takeaways:


Student Services, Libraries, and Equity in the Online Arena

·         Library/Learning Resources standards changed from section IIC to IIB.

·         Standard IIC 3. emphasizes equitable access to resources and services regardless of location or means of delivery. Presentation offers many different indicators and questions we should be addressing especially in regards to Distance Education.

·         Need to identify student needs, assess student support outcomes, and use assessment results for systematic improvement

·         There is a statewide trend to outsource 24/7 learning resources services (e.g. QuestionPoint, SmartThinking). Need to monitor and evaluate contract services regularly.


Distance Education: Regular, Effective Contact

·         Definitions of distance education from Department of Education, Title V, and ACCJC. Regular and substantive interaction between student and teacher is required by ACCJC and impacts student financial aid eligibility.

·         Encouragement to develop a Regular and Effective Contact policy at your college. Policy examples were shared.

·         Most common forms of interaction – email, discussion boards, chat rooms, etc.


Team Training – Views from Visiting Teams

·         Participating on a visiting team is a professional development and service opportunity that is well worth it. You bring back information that will support your program review and college accreditation process.

·         Panel members wished they knew that there is a lot of prep work two to four weeks before the visit reading and analyzing documents, evaluating evidence, looking for missing information, and figuring out who to talk to during the site visit.

·         To volunteer, fill out ACCJC Bio-data form and get college president’s support. I hear that they are always looking for librarians.


Overall, I learned many things that will help me as my college begins our accreditation cycle and the process seems less daunting. I am interested in serving on a visiting team in the future and wouldn’t say no to assignments in Hawaii or the U.S. Pacific Territories. It was also a pleasure to spend time with library colleagues that are active in accreditation on their campuses and make other contacts across the state.