Spring Standard Committee Meetings
In May 2013, Standard Committees met to discuss their individual standards and organize their approach to research and writing. The Self Evaluation Chair attended most of these meetings to answer questions and help provide a consistent framework for beginning the work. Here are the main points common to most of the meetings.
Overview and responsibilities of those involved in the Accreditation Self Evaluation.
- The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is the agency that evaluates and reaffirms an institution's accreditation status.
- Mary Kay Rudolph, Vice President of Academic Affairs, is the Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO), responsible for all material, communications, and college activities related to the 2015 Self Evaluation, site visit and reports.
- Wanda Burzycki, College Skills/Tutorial faculty, is the Self Evaluation Chair, responsible for coordinating, editing, and producing the Self Evaluation by Fall 2014.
- The Accreditation Steering Committee is composed of the ALO (Mary Kay), the Self Evaluation Chair (Wanda), the Standard Committee Administrative Liaisons, and the Standard Committee Co-Chairs. This group discusses information coming from Standard committees, makes decisions regarding content and structure of the Self Evaluation, and communicates information to back to respective committees. Meetings will be once a month, starting August 30.
- The Administrative Liaisons of the Standard Committees are Vice President, Deans, or Directors appointed by the ALO to lead the committee. The Administrative Liaison's responsibilities are to participate in the Steering Committee meetings, support the Standard Committee co-chair and members with communications, meeting arrangements, dissemination of materials, and clerical assistance. They are ultimately responsible for the quality and timely completion of the drafts.
- The Standard Committee Co-Chairs are usually a faculty and/or classified staff members who with the administrative liaison to lead the committee, working directly with their committee members. They also attend the Steering Committee meetings and run the meetings for their own Standard Committee. With the Administrative Liaison, they read the drafts from committee members, lead discussions about the drafts, provide feedback regarding revisions, and help shape their section of the report according to the required structure.
Creating the Self Evaluation: The Overall Process
An analogy to the creation of a sculpture analogy was used to describe the process of developing the Self Evaluation.
- In the first stage, over the summer, committee members are gathering the material —the “clay” —from which to develop the Self Evaluation document.
- In the next stage during the first part of the Fall, committees will be shaping the material into a first draft, shifting their notes into prose and using the structure required by ACCJC. Like a sculpture, the emphasis will be on general form and balance, not on the specific details.
- The next stage takes place in December, when Mary Kay and Wanda will review all components of the first draft, trimming extra “clay” and determining where more material will be needed to complete the overall work.
- In Spring 2014, the Steering Committee and the Standards Committee members will further develop and refine that shape through revisions and editing, and the work-in-progress will be shared with the college community.
The final steps towards the final draft—the glazing and firing, as it were—will occur during the Summer and early Fall of 2014.
Preparing for the First Draft
Committees discussed ways to become familiar with the accreditation process and the requirements of the Self Evaluation. Committee members who had worked on the 2002 and 2009 Self Studies or who had participated on visiting teams shared their experience and suggestions for achieving a comprehensive and accurate document. Points that came out of those discussions include:
- Become familiar with the requirements and context of accreditation by reviewing the ACCJC website.
- Review SRJC's 2009 Self Study, which addressed the same standards, plus the supporting materials. While many things have changed since then, this will provide an example of how the complexity of the college can be condensed into an evaluative report. The 2009 report and related documentation are archived at https://www.santarosa.edu/accred/.
- Look at how other community colleges that have recently had their accreditation reaffirmed approached their Self Evaluation. Two recommendations were Leeward Community College and Foothill Community College.
- Use the questions related to each Standard that are listed in the ACCJC Guide to Evaluating Institutions to determine the type of information that is required in the Self Evaluation.
Committee members were encouraged to begin collecting information over the summer. This includes the preparations above and using college websites, interviews with key individuals, and databases to provide the “evidence” that demonstrates how the college meets the standards. In the process, committee members should:
- Document all sources of information, since the list of sources of evidence will be required.
- When encountering areas that the college should consider improving as soon as possible. These will be shared during the first Steering Committee meeting and the ALO will determine how to disseminate that information to the responsible parties.
- Taking a lot of notes is important, but committee members should wait to start the formal writing until their committees meet in the Fall. Discussion of overall content will determine the structure of the Standard report.
What to Expect for Fall 2013
The writing of the Self Evaluation will occur in earnest in Fall 2013. If there is enough evidence, the writing will come much easier. The writing process will be framed this way:
- There will be a Fall PDA Workshop on August 17 about how to write for Self Evaluation.
- A SharePoint website will be launched at the beginning of the Fall semester for Standard Committees to use for communication about and sharing of drafts. Committee members will receive training.
- The First Steering Committee meeting will be held August 30, 2013, 8-10:30. Location TBA.
- The recommended internal Committee deadline for the rough draft is October 28. At this point, committee members should provide content and structure, but wording may still be rough. Committee together will read and discuss to help smooth out the shape of the draft that will be submitted.
- The deadline for all Standard Committee first drafts is Dec. 2. The SLO and Self Evaluation Chair will then read and inform Standard Committees about next steps of revision at the beginning of Spring 2014.
A PDF version of the above points was distributed to Standard Committee Administrative Liaisons and Co-Chairs is available here: Summary for Standard Committees May 2013