Accreditation 2006

Sabrina Belara/ Skyline View Staff ()

Sabrina Belara/ Skyline View Staff ()


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Recently custom wrapped Hershey bars have been circulating the Skyline campus. Those fortunate enough to receive the complementary chocolate may already be aware of the Accreditation Self Study that is beginning to unfold here on campus.

Every six years Skyline, along with a number of community colleges from California to Samoa, undergo a self-assessment where each school evaluates themselves in terms of how they are meeting accreditation standards, where planning and improvement may be fostered, and how much students have learned at the end of the semester.

“We’re all interested in helping students achieve what they need to achieve and that’s the ultimate goal of this process,” said Ray Hernandez, who is leading the process with Donna Bestock as one of the Accreditation Chairs and is the Respiratory Therapy Program Coordinator. “That’s why we’re doing it.”

This two year long process is set to be completed in the fall of 2007 when the campus will undergo an accreditation site visit from The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges Western Associations of Schools and Colleges. The ACCJC-WASC is an organization whose sole purpose is to certify that their member institutions, including Skyline College, are making and meeting the standards they have established to ensure efficiency as a higher education institution.

“I feel good about leading this process,” said Hernandez. “People feel like it’s more organized and when they get done with it there will be impact and they will make a difference. I think we have institutionalized it, that’s the term I’m always trying to use, because institutionalizing means we’re practicing what we’re preaching. We’re not just creating this document that looks great, but we do nothing with. We’re creating ultimately this self study that we’re going to use to do better things for our community.”

The first step, which was done last semester, was to organize an Accreditation Steering Committee. Representatives from all the different constituencies; faculty, administration, classified staff and students, were picked based on factors such as area of expertise, gender, ethnic background, and where they serve in relationship to departments and divisions, according to Hernandez.

Once the members of the Steering Committee were established each person was then assigned to the four accreditation standards, established by the ACCJC, where they will then study and appraise their assigned standard.
“We wanted to ensure that we had representation in all groups when we assign them to a standard and that there was diversity amongst those groups as well,” said Hernandez. “And we feel we have met that objective.”

As of late January, writing teams have been identified. The same process and consideration taken while forming the Steering Committee was used to create the writing teams.
“It’s a very shared governance type of process, which is part of the California Ed. Code, so colleges in California have to operate under shared governance standards and processes,” said Cathy Hasson, who is head of research for the Steering Committee and the Director of Planning, Research, and Institutional Effectiveness.

Now that the core of this process has been established, the actual footwork is beginning to take place. Last week (Feb. 27 to March 10) student surveys, known as the Campus Climate Study Survey Plan, have been randomly distributed amongst day and evening classes.

“The survey we’re doing is specific to what’s needed in terms of responding to the accreditation standards,” said Hasson. “We wanted to look at how evening students’ perceptions compared to daytime students’ perceptions.”

 A random sample from each of those groups of courses are being looked at. About 1000 student surveys out of an approximate student population of 8,200 will be used to represent both the day and evening students.

There were various options on what type of survey was to be used, including developing their own survey. The Steering Committee decided to go with the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory survey, which measures the students’ satisfaction and perception.

“The nice thing about this instrument is that this particular survey has been in use for about ten years,” said Hasson. “It’s nationally used, not just statewide, and over the course of ten years, Noel-Levitz has collected a lot of information from the different colleges. We’ll be able to look at similar campuses in California that have used this survey and see how we do compared to them.”

According to Hasson, who in the past has participated in the accreditation process with other colleges and has been on visiting teams, Skyline is approaching this positively, despite the lengthy process.

“It seems to be a very collaborative effort (here at Skyline), which is what you want in this kind of process,” said Hasson. “A lot of times the accreditation process can be viewed as difficult drudgery, and something you don’t want to do and don’t look forward to. But I think Skyline embraces it as an opportunity to get in and see how we’re doing and how we can improve. The attitude is very positive which makes it easier.” 

Student participation is encouraged. So anyone interested in contributing to the writing or  research process may do so.

Accreditation Standards
(adopted to four standards in June 2002)

Standard 1: Institutional Mission and Effectiveness

  • Emphasizing achievement of student learning
  • Communicating the mission internally and externally

Standard 2: Student Learning Programs and Services
The following should be offered and provided to help manifest the stated student learning outcomes:

  • Instructional high-quality programs
  • Student and learning support services
  • An environment that supports learning, enhances         student  understanding and appreciation of             diversity, and personal/civic responsibility as well as        intellectual, aesthetic, and personal development

Standard 3: Resources

  • Human, physical, technology, and financial             resources are effectively used to improve             institutional effectiveness

Standard 4: Leadership and Governance

  • Contributions of leadership is recognized and utilized
  • Governance roles are designed to support student learning programs and services