College Addresses Accreditation Issues

Ashley Carey

Students can rest easy regarding the safety of their credits. After years of accreditation issues, and one warning status later, it seems that GCC is back on track.

Back in 2004, the college was visited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. The visiting team from this Western-U.S. based commission left the college with a list of 10 recommendations. These would ensure continued accreditation by the government-officiated committee.

The recommendations covered things like addressing technology needs, completing timely employee evaluations, and developing a comprehensive Educational Master Plan for the school.

The ACCJC team visited again in 2007 to create a focused midterm report2 on the issues. This updated report addressed the college’s specific goals to meet each recommendation before the 2010 deadline. However, due to legislative, administrative, and financial chaos on campus, the college simply lacked the resources to fix the issues. The report reflected that fact, and GCC was given another chance.

In May of 2010, the ACCJC sent a new team to GCC to draft a Final Evaluation Team Report3. This report presented a list of nine new recommendations. Some were revised versions of previous recommendations, like employee evaluations (which were still incomplete.) Others, like measures preventing overheating of campus Internet servers, were entirely new.

One month later, the ACCJC issued a letter of action4. The team deemed GCC’s progress not up to par, and left the college with an “On Warning” accreditation status.

The warning made much of the students and faculty uneasy. Accreditation is vital for any legitimate college. Only accredited schools are eligible for federal funding, and only students of accredited schools are eligible for federal financial aid.

Accreditation also puts a high value on the credits earned at a college. Credits from non-accredited institutions generally do not transfer to those that are properly accredited.

March 15, 2011 marked the due date for GCC’s own follow-up report5 regarding compliance with ACCJC recommendations. On Monday, the ACCJC team will return to investigate and verify the claims in our follow-up report. The team will meet with small groups of GCC administrators directly involved with the four specific accreditation issues, and form their own report.

“We believe we are in contention with the recommendations,” said Jill Lewis, Manager of Accreditation & Program Review at GCC.

The initial warning status was no surprise to the school, Lewis said. This marks the first time that GCC has touted full compliance with ACCJC recommendations.

Once the visiting team submits their report on Monday to the ACCJC for executive review, GCC will receive no news until the end of June, or perhaps even early July. Then, perhaps finally, our accreditation will be safe and free of warnings.

(1) The complete list of recommendations from the 2004 report is available on the GCC website at

(2) The complete 2007 focused midterm report can be found at

(3) The May 2010 Final Evaluation Team Report can be found at

(4) The June 2010 ACCJC Action Letter can be found at

(5) The March 2011 GCC follow-up report can be found at