GCC Receives 6-Year Accreditation

maria-kornalian
el-vaquero-editor-in-chief/" class="creditline">MARIA KORNALIAN
El Vaquero Editor in Chief

This summer GCC received a
six-year accreditation, the
highest form of accreditation that
can be granted to an educational
institution by the Accrediting
Commission for Community and
Junior Colleges (ACCJC) noting
that the community colleges
“should be commended for [its]
contribution to a positive campus
environment.”

Public schools across the
country are periodically
reviewed for accreditation.
Among the many important reasons
why it is imperative for community colleges to pass
these reviews and pass them
well, is because they qualify the
classes students take at the community
college level to transfer
to universities.

Financial aid is another reason
schools need accreditation. “If
we don’t participate, we don’t
get the stamp to provide financial
aid,” said Accreditation
Chair Kathleen Flynn.

In fact, despite how important
strong results are for a college,
the six-year review is not a common
score for most institutions.
“Not everyone gets it,” said
Flynn.

Last spring, 12 ACCJC committee
members visited Glendale College for three days reviewing
the school’s policies, goals and
procedures, as well as the quality
of education in the classrooms.
Some reviewers even
visited classrooms to observe
professors and students during
classes.

“[The review] is like a mirror,”
said Flynn. “We hold it up
to ourselves to see what we are,
and what we can do better.”
Fortunately during last spring’s
review, the college reflected
very well.

The committee recently submitted
its results to the college,
granting GCC the highest level of accreditation. The six-year
accreditation means that
Glendale College will not
have to be reviewed again for
another six years, with the
exception of a mid-term
report (to be given in three
years) that is required with
any six-year review.

The report included six
commendations for areas in
which the committee found
Glendale College to be
strongest in. Among these
commendations include the
college’s transfer program,
financial security and the
campus facilities.

The accreditation team
noted that the college should
be recognized for “creating
an attractive, friendly,
student-centered campus
environment where students
are encouraged and supported
in their involvement in all
areas of the learning
process,” according to the
report submitted in June.
Reviewers also stated that
Glendale College administrators
have “contributed to a
greater college awareness of
the significant budgetary
issues that exist.” This
includes e-mail updates
Executive Vice President of
Administrative Services
Larry Serot has been sending
to faculty members
“reporting the latest statewide
budget news [which was]
cited by several staff
members as providing
valuable information to the
campus community.”

Also included in the report
were 10 recommendations
the committee gave to
college. “No one ever gets a
perfect,” said Flynn.
Of these recommendations,
the most emphasis was put
towards building a “slightly
different style of master
plan,” said Flynn.

“They want more specific
goals for each department,
making sure each department
knows how to implement
them,” she said.
The committee also paid
close attention to the
college’s handling of the
budget. “They want to make
sure everything we do is
clearly budgeted,” said
Flynn.

When the committee visits
schools results are posted
online. “It’s not supposed to
be a secret,” said Flynn of
these reviews. In fact,
ACCJC even posts a “watch
list” that people can view and
“find out who’s in trouble,
basically,” said Flynn.
She agrees that revisiting
schools every few years is a
necessary procedure. “Some
of the things we did six years
ago may be very different,”
she said. The state is
undergoing an extremely
different budget and the
school is experiencing a
different kind of culture,
which demands certain
changes, she said.

Still, such a high review is
not an easy one to receive.
“Their scrutiny is becoming
more diligent,” said Flynn.
“It’s harder to get a six-year
review.”

The accreditation
committee at Glendale
College had to present a
“self-study” during the threeday
visit including 10
standards that the college had
set on issues such as faculty,
buildings and the educational
program on campus. “It was a
very clean report,” said
Flynn.

The next review is
scheduled for 2010. But for
now, the college is satisfied
with its report. “We came
across as a very good
school,” Flynn said.