Organization of Self Evaluation Process
Preparation for the March 2017, Self Evaluation began in fall 2013 with the first convening of the Accreditation Steering Committee (ASC), a shared governance committee. Based on the lessons learned from the 2010 Self Evaluation, the College created a permanent committee to guide the accreditation process. The newly hired Vice President of Instruction co-chaired the committee with the Faculty Accreditation Coordinator. To this day, ASC guides the process used for campus wide involvement in accreditation. Minutes indicate the wide and in-depth ASC accomplishments such as:
- Analyzing if the College was meeting all ACCJC standards (aka Gap Analysis),
- Training ASC members on accreditation,
- Identifying and training standard team members,
- Progress checks on writing to the standards and providing evidence of meeting the standard,
- Providing progress updates to President’s Advisory Council and working with the College President to provide training and updates to the Board of Trustees,
- Allowing opportunities for campus input on the process and drafts,
- Providing input on drafts,
- Providing future Mock Site Visit training for the campus.
In all cases, the ASC members were well versed in the process and were trainers across campus as well as some were chairs of writing teams.
The above engaging process allowed members to fully address questions and inform their constituency group members about accreditation and their role in it.
The 13 Accreditation Self Evaluation Teams were chosen by the constituency group members using three main criteria:
- Provide opportunities for broad participation of faculty, classified staff, management, and students.
- Create an atmosphere of trust that encourages an open dialogue among constituents.
- Combine the knowledge of seasoned staff with previous accreditation experience and the energy of new staff with fresh perspectives.
Each Accreditation Standard Team had a chair, evidence coordinator, and outline coordinator; and the whole process had an Accreditation Liaison Officer as well as a Faculty Accreditation Coordinator. ASC was the committee responsible for the process, and ASC reported to the President’s Advisory Council (PAC). Two overall trainings were provided for the team as well as hands-on assistance as needed.
The first Accreditation Notes newsletter was released to the campus community in fall 2014. It outlined the new standards, timeline, and training. The newly appointed accreditation team members were noted with clear designations as to who represented which group: faculty management, student, and classified (INT38).
The College used the Accreditation Notes newsletter as well as emails of upcoming milestones to let the campus know its progress. June 2015 saw the release of the second newsletter that focused on the formal preparation for the site visit. The newsletter provided an update on the timeline (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges moved the site visit to spring 2017), the gap analysis, writing teams’ progress, and trainings offered. It concluded with the following important statement: “Did you know? Every single one of you who works or goes to school on this campus is a part of accreditation. We all work together to ensure quality at Mt. SAC. If you want to become more involved, contact your consistency group leaders. All volunteers are welcome” (INT39).
Other means of updating the College community included reports to PAC, to the Board of Trustees, at management meetings, and at Flex and Professional Development Days. Drafts of the Self Evaluation were released to the campus community for its review and comment in spring 2016 as well as fall 2016. In spring 2016, Dialogue Days provided an opportunity for employees to attend interactive meetings to provide their input on specific standards. These meetings also provided an opportunity to engage attendees in further understanding of accreditation and their role in it on a day-to-day basis (INT40).
In order to further engage California School Employees Association (CSEA) 651, hot pink sheets were used to provide them with paper copies of the latest information of interest to them. Special meetings were hosted with their group both during and outside of CSEA union meetings in order to engage them in dialogue about the process and to obtain their input (INT41). This group does not have easy access to computers, and many work shifts outside of 9-to-5 business hours. Members of the ASC met with this group in early mornings or late evenings in order to include its voice in the process.
The timeline for the Self Evaluation was used to guide the process and to demonstrate to the College community the progress being made. It provided a one-page, easy-to-read guide for what had been accomplished and what was still to be accomplished. This updated document was shared at numerous venues including the ASC and PAC meetings, Board of Trustees’ meetings and constituency meetings across the campus, Flex Day sessions, and Professional Development sessions (INT42).