Murphy: De Anza accreditation ‘great success’

De Anza College’s accreditation visit ended with a positive exit report, with De Anza receiving multiple commendations, on Thursday, Oct. 12.

According to the De Anza website, accreditation is the process in which a, “college conducts a thorough self-evaluation of its activities and compliance with [Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges] ACCJC standards.”

Every community and junior college undergoes review every six years and successful compliance to these standards reassures the public and students that a school is maintaining a high standard of educational quality.

The ACCJC evaluation team assessed the school to look for strengths and places to improve, and they hosted two open forums to generate dialogue and receive feedback from members of the De Anza community.

On the day of the exit report, the Team Chair of the evaluation team, President Sandra Caldwell of Reedley College, praised De Anza for its equity and civic engagement, its outreach programs, its student readiness level for online courses, its commitment to faculty and staff professional development, and its student-centered campus environment, but she also brought to attention two minor areas of improvement.

The first issue Caldwell pointed out was that the evaluation team found some inconsistencies between student learning outcomes and syllabuses.

“That’s a very technical issue having with how you document the student learning outcomes that any professor puts down for each class and whether the same ones appear on the syllabus and so, they found some inconsistencies,” said De Anza president Brian Murphy. “Relatively easy to solve.”

The second issue that was raised was that the evaluation team was not able to see much documented communication between students and faculty in online courses.

“We asked faculty to volunteer courses to be able to be observed by the accrediting visiting team. In those courses, in their limited view, they were looking for particular things… They were looking for substantive and effective interaction,” explained Associate Vice-President of Instruction, Lorrie Ranck.

While the evaluation team said there was not much documented communication, it does not necessarily mean there is a lack of communication between students and faculty in online courses.

A few points Ranck said were important to consider regarding this issue was that the evaluators were only be able see a limited number of online courses, they were only able to see what students can see so they did not have access to all the information, and that the fall quarter just began so the evaluators did not have much information to evaluate.

“They needed to see better documentation of that. That’s different than saying it didn’t happen,” Murphy said.

“It’s an extremely positive report. It is very rare for a campus to get as many commendations as she mentioned,” Murphy said. “They [the evaluation team] really understood the degree to which this is focused on students and the student experience. They felt that. They heard that from students and so, I’m very proud of it.”