The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges also known as the ACCJC was here at Skyline College from Monday, September 30th through Thursday, October 3rd with a team consisting of eight professionals.
Accreditation is an important and a critical process. Maintaining Accreditation with the ACCJC means that the college will continue to do the following; It gives them the ability to operate as higher education system, it overlooks and self assesses to ensure student success, it offers the college accredited degrees and certificates which means the degrees or certificates students earn at Skyline are recognized at state and federal levels, it also allows the college to transfer units and degrees and it allows the ability to provide federal aid. It basically does everything in regards of improving academic quality, institutional effectiveness, and, ultimately, student success.
On Tuesday October 1st, there was an open forum held in Building 6, where the faculty, staff and students of Skyline College spoke to the team of ACCJC. It started with the question of what was the one thing everybody was most proud of at Skyline. A lot of people spoke about how Skyline was empowering students, giving them opportunities. and the academic standards of Skyline were improving with every day. Professors from various departments talked about the research equipments and the grants that were available for these research projects as well. The team, also asked about what the mission statement of Skyline College and the district, meant for everyone on campus. Even with the current political situation of the country everybody made it clear that Skyline takes responsibility as an institution in embracing equity and celebrating diversity.
With this happening every six years, the process of Accreditation is actually stressful to many staff members at Skyline?
“Yes, of course. Think of it this way. It is similar to when a student’s work is being evaluated by an instructor. Regardless of the fact that the student did everything they could, honestly put 110% into what they did and knows that their work made a difference in their learning, it is still stressful to be evaluated. However, what has been helpful in seeing some of this stress subside is the approach the evaluation has taken,” Said Michele Hager, classified senate president.
“As I said earlier, because the process has now become a supportive peer review process, with feedback given early on in the process, it has become less stressful. It has turned into a collaborative review process.” At this point an important question arises, Is accreditation a fair process?
“In the last Accreditation Cycle, which was six years ago, the process didn’t seem very fair. However, since then, the ACCJC has been through an overhaul. The original ACCJC board members have been replaced and new systems have been developed to approach the evaluation process.” Said Hager
The process now is very different. The approach has a visiting team conducting evaluations and determines how Skyline is meeting standards by looking closely at our report, the data, and the evidence we provide them. ACCJC has also been working very closely with Skyline for over a year in advance to provide support and feedback on the college’s process leading up to the visit.
“Overall, I’m very comfortable saying that everyone that has participated in the evaluation process feels it has been a positive experience.” said Hager.
We hope this Accreditation turns out to be the reflection of our experiences here at Skyline. Like Nick Kapp said “Everyday at Skyline is a good day”