The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

The voice of De Anza since 1967.

La Voz News

De Anza College accreditation starts

The accreditation process has begun for De Anza College and will continue to be reassessed by the Accrediting Commission for Community Colleges throughout the 2010/11 school year.

“Every six years, ACCJC either reaffirms accreditation or requires a college to address issues and provide reports outlining its progress in order to achieve reaffirmation of accreditation,” De Anza’s liaison to the commission Marisa Spatafore said.

This is Spatafore’s first time as a liaison for the accreditation process, though “there are many faculty and staff who have been previously involved and have a great deal of expertise,” she said.

During De Anza’s assessment, there has been conflict between California’s accreditor and the community colleges it oversees. The Chronicle of Education obtained a letter written by Kay W. Gilcher, director of the accreditation division of the Education Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education, criticizing the accreditor.

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In the article “Accreditor of California colleges lacks conwflict of interest protections, federal review says,” the chronicle disclosed the letter, saying, ” the accreditor was in violation of several federal regulations in the way it selects its commissioners. The review was undertaken in a response to complaints lodged in May by the community college system’s chancellor, Jack Scott.” Officials of the accrediting committee said that they plan on making changes after “fully reviewing the letter.”

Spatafore is confident that the conflict in the accrediting committee would not cause any difficulties for De Anza.

The centerpiece of accreditation is a self-assessment, in which a college assesses itself according to four accreditation standards established in 2002, Spatafore said.

The standards displayed on the De Anza accreditation website are “institutional mission and effectiveness, student learning programs and services, resources, and leadership and governance.” The four standards are assessed by separate committees comprised for each standard.

“At De Anza, we provided information to the college community on accreditation, through e-mail, governance groups and an open session on the accreditation process,” Spatafore said. Faculty and staff wrote the standards that they were interested in serving, and study teams were then assembled for each standard, she said.

Spatafore added that the process of self-assessment is currently underway. “Many faculty members are participating on the self-study teams. Students are always welcome to participate in the process as well. They can volunteer to serve on one of the self-study teams this fall,” she said.

“An institution-wide dialogue must be at the heart of the self-evaluation process for the college community to gain a comprehensive perspective of the institution. Although the standards are presented in four parts, they work together to facilitate this dialogue on the institution’s effectiveness and on ways in which it may improve. The self study provides the commission with the institution’s assessment of itself as a whole,” according to the De Anza accreditation website.

According to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior College website, the commission can issue a warning to a college or even place the college on probation if the standards are not met. It can offer ideas for improvement, like in the case of Moorpark College, where the commission recommended adding “18 associate degree programs and 11 certificate programs to be offered 50 percent or more through a mode of distance or electronic delivery.” Or, such as the recommendation to Palau Community College, to add a science, technology, engineering and mathematics program. The committee acted to approve the proposal with the proviso that the college considers the program as a certificate.”

A site visit to De Anza, conducted by the ACCJC, is expected to take place this month.

If students are interested in participating in one of the study groups this fall, contact Marisa Spatafore at (408) 864-8672 or [email protected].

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