Accreditation Visit + Thanks

Oct. 16, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

As you know, the evaluation team from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) was on campus this past week, for reaffirmation of our accreditation. I am happy to report that the visit was a great success, and that De Anza College will receive multiple commendations.

This will come as no surprise to our many colleagues who worked to prepare and produce the Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER) that was the guide for the team visit, or to the dozens of colleagues who worked directly with the visiting team, or to anyone, really, whose work in and out of the classroom contributes to our students’ success. The evaluation team clearly recognized the attributes of the college, emphasizing most strongly our student-centered approach.

The final report from the team and ACCJC will be available in January. At the exit report, the chair noted several areas of commendation, including the college’s

  • commitment to equity and student civic engagement as being core elements of our identity and informing all programs and planning;
  • “heart” for underrepresented students;
  • welcome and support for online students;
  • support for a vibrant student life through programs and facilities design; and
  • avid commitment to professional development.

De Anza College, she said, should be proud.

It is worth noting that the chair, while delivering her report, wore a De Anza College T-shirt she had purchased at the Bookstore.

Evaluation teams also identify areas in which they have “recommendations.” There were two recommendations related to ACCJC Standards, including a technical issue in which some SLO course outlines may not have matched or were inconsistent on syllabi. In addition, after reviewing a percentage of online courses, there was a sense that they did not demonstrate sufficient interaction. It must be noted that we were only three weeks into the quarter, using a new course management system. In addition, not all aspects of online interaction were apparent to the visitors, including student and instructor emails and grade book comments.

The final comments – which do not pertain directly to the Standards – were the recognition that we have a continuing decline in enrollment, making even more difficult how to handle the structural budget deficit the college and district are managing, and second, support for taking a long-term view of our enrollment and budget planning, communicating the mission and values in doing so. The team recognizes that the college is fully aware of our enrollment decline, and wanted to support us in our planning for a long-term approach, as opposed to a short-term “fix.” Both of these comments align with our own plans to develop both a three-year budget reduction scenario and, significantly, initiate a long-term strategic planning process, as I had announced on Opening Day.

Once again, these remarks are preliminary to our receiving the final report from ACCJC. In any case, we should all be proud that the evaluation team recognized and appreciated the good work that animates every corner of this campus.

Congratulations are in order, as is appreciation to the team of colleagues whose work drove this process. We are deeply grateful to

  • The governance groups who drafted the ISER.
  • Mallory Newell, our college researcher who served as Accrediting Liaison Officer these past several years. Not only did she guide us through the process, but she came back from maternity leave with her four-week-old son, Soren, to lead the work this past week. Her leadership on institutional planning contributed immeasurably to the success of last week.
  • Classified professionals in the Office of Communications, including Brandon Bailey for excellent editing of the ISER, an enormous task; Edwin Carungay and Lori Susi for outstanding design and production; Alex Harrell for compiling and securing online evidence; and Leah Mieso for her dedicated preparations for the team visit.
  • Tina Woo and Pippa Gibson, also for visit preparations, and for meeting team needs during the week.
  • Operations manager Manny Dasilva and the custodial and grounds staff for preparing the physical campus for the visit.
  • Patrick Gannon, Nila Nine and Dining Services staff for providing for the team’s food needs.
  • Pam Grey, Tina Lockwood and Erick Aragon for serving as tour guides for the team.
  • All who met with team members to provide information and additional evidence, including our colleagues in Central Services.

Thanks to each and every one of you who teach and serve our students, and make De Anza College the exemplar it is. I am honored to work with you.

Best wishes,
Brian Murphy 

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