September 10, 2020
We are well into the process of completing our Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER) for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) with a lot of great work happening on most all of the standards. Kudos to Monica Zarske as our Accreditation Coordinator and Dr. Ortiz for their leadership and dedication to this effort. They are working with a cross functional team of faculty, staff, administrators, and students to gather evidence and write the ISER. This semester is the time to complete the first draft of the report (by December of 2020) so that we can edit, review, and ultimately approve the document through our Participatory Governance process in the Spring of 2021. Our goal is to get the ISER to the Board of Trustees for approval in July of 2021.
We have received information from the ACCJC on several topics over the last few weeks so it seemed a good time to send an update to the campus community. We have confirmation that our ISER is due on August 2, 2021. They have informed us that it will be reviewed by the ACCJC “College Team" by October 4, 2021. Because we are participating in the new formative accreditation process this means that, “[T]he team will specify areas of operations where no concerns remain, and thus need not be addressed during the subsequent Focused Site Visit. The team will narrow the focus of the site visit by providing Core Inquiries that the team will pursue. The team will communicate the Core Inquiries to college leadership so that additional information can be provided or improvements can be made prior to the Focused Site Visit." For SAC, the Focused Site Visit will occur from March 7 – 10, 2022.
For the Focused Site Visit, “the college will have produced additional supporting evidence, as specified by the Core Inquiries, and will have documented the continued maturation of its structures or processes in order to demonstrate alignment and compliance with ACCJC Standards and policies. The team's interviews while on campus are guided by the Core Inquiries." For the actual visit, we can expect fewer members to be on campus for a shorter period of time. We have been informed that Brian King, Chancellor of the Los Rios Community College will serve as the Chair of Chairs and the SAC Team Chair. He will be accompanied by Thuy Nguyen, President of Foothill College on the SAC team. Mary Gallagher, President of Los Angeles City College and Seher Awan, President of Los Angeles Southwest College will serve on the Santiago Canyon College Team.
One key event planned that I wanted to invite you to attend is a training with our new ACCJC Liaison, Catherine Webb, and a “writing retreat". We are still firming up the dates but it looks like it may happen on October 16, 2020 from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Catherine will talk with us about the formative accreditation process, the Quality Focused Essay, and give tips on reviewing our responses to the standards. Monica, Fernando, and others will be leading us during the writing retreat through a series of activities to help finalize and review our draft report.
I cannot stress enough the importance of having as many faculty, staff, students, and administrators engaged in the ISER as possible. Your voice matters. Your insights are crucial. We need everyone engaged in this work. We want to demonstrate that Santa Ana College not only meets but exceeds the standards. If you are interested in participating, please contact Monica, Fernando, or me. We can help bring you up to speed and recommend a standard team that fits your skills and knowledge.