EL CAMINO RELEASES ACCREDITATION PLAN, TIMELINE
This is the first in a two-part report on accreditation for the El Camino Community College Compton Educational Center. The second part will run next week, delineating the steps toward accreditation and the timeline.
COMPTON—The El Camino Community College District has released a detailed account of the accreditation process and an updated timeline with adjustments made for various contingencies.
The process is complex and is expected to take until 2016 at the earliest. Before applying for accreditation, the college must submit an application for eligibility to be considered by the Accrediting Committee for Commission and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) at its meeting in June 2014 or January 2015.
Although the process is the same as it is for all new colleges seeking accreditation, the timeline is more difficult to predict because it is the first time accreditation is being sought by a college whose accreditation was revoked.
In 2006 the ACCJC revoked its accreditation because the Compton Community College District had a deficit of $200,000 and was unable to meet its payroll.
“This process is especially complex because this has never been done before,” said El Camino President Dr. Thomas Fallo. “AB 318 was passed especially for this situation and made it possible for El Camino to operate the college as a remote campus. For that reason it is El Camino District that must apply for accreditation.”
“Both the El Camino Community College District and the Compton Community College District are fully committed to obtaining independent accreditation for El Camino College Compton Educational Center,” said Compton Community College District Special Trustee Thomas Henry. “The districts are moving forward in this endeavor in accordance with the goals set forth in A.B. 318 and through the partnership agreement between the two parties.”
When the partnership began, a primary objective was to provide quality educational programs and services for student success. “My main concern was to keep the college open,” said Henry. “There was an imminent danger of closing, and it was imperative that we find a district that would agree to operate the college at its location within the community.”
By initiating new student programs and expanding current offerings, El Camino College Compton Educational Center began its long road to recovery. “Student success has become a central focus at the center,” said Henry. “Academic programs initiated or expanded during the last five years include: supplemental instruction, First Year Experience, student-led tutoring, a nursing simulation lab, and the Alpha Gamma Sigma (AGS) Honor and Scholarship Society. Expanding Career Technical Education offerings in programs such as aerospace fastener manufacturing; heating, ventilation and air conditioning; and robotics has also increased opportunities for student success.”
Additionally, student success is evident through the increase in the number of El Camino College Compton Center students earning degrees.
A total of 60 El Camino College Compton Center students received a total of $46,100 in scholarships for 2011. A targeted financial aid awareness campaign resulted in 3,244 students submitting Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms in 2011, a 12 percent increase from the prior year.
More than $1.6 million in grant funds has been provided to El Camino College Compton Center since 2006. Grant monies have been used to initiate a variety of new academic offerings and to enhance existing programs, including robotics, HVAC, aerospace fastener and career advancement academies.
The ASC established five subcommittees in the following eligibility categories: Organization (1,2,3,4,5,6), Instruction (7,8,9,10,11,), Faculty (12,13), Student Services (14,15, 16), Financial Integrity (17,18), Planning and Evaluation (19), Public Information (20), and Relations with the Accrediting Commission (21). The 21 Eligibility Criteria were reviewed for objective assessment of tasks, and ECC Compton Center’s readiness for eligibility.
The ASC and its five subcommittees have worked since November 2010 to assess and respond to their sections of the eligibility criteria. Subcommittee members developed three levels of assessment for each eligibility criteria: criteria met, criteria not met or criteria partially met. Currently, 16 criteria have been met; one criterion will be met when the eligibility application is filed; the Student Learning and Achievement criterion is partially met; and the Financial Resources, Financial Accountability, and Institutional Planning and Evaluation criteria have not been met.
Open forums were held to discuss the proposal and to answer questions and concerns, and the ASC members reviewed and responded to comments and feedback from the forums.
A Communications Plan was developed featuring open forums to share progress updates, accreditation newsletters geared toward internal and external communities, and an accreditation web page on the El Camino College and El Camino College Compton Center websites. To further advance outreach efforts to the community, a document titled “Five Years of Success: Report to the Community” was developed and widely distributed to the community. This document outlines the progress and student success stories El Camino College Compton Center has achieved since the beginning of the partnership.
Projected timeline for eligibility proposal submittal
“Estimating a timeline is a complex process, influenced by the fact there will be tasks that take longer than planned and others may not take as long as anticipated,” Thomas said. “The eligibility application process is based upon the ECC Compton Center having the appropriate documentation to meet the ACCJC standards. Once the documentation is ready, the application will be submitted by El Camino College. Therefore, any timeline must remain flexible.”
During spring and summer of 2012 the ECCCD will continue its expanded coordination of the assessment of SLO statements in the Student Services and Academic Affairs areas and compile documentation showing revisions to courses and programs that improve student learning based on SLO assessments.
The Compton Community College District will gather document evidence showing strong links between the budgeting and planning processes and implement fiscally sound policies and procedures in the business office.
The Compton district is required to make progress toward transferring the functions performed by ECC on behalf of the Compton Center to Compton offices and personnel.
In spring 2013 the ECC Compton Center will initiate contact with the chair of the ACCJC to review the final draft and determine if the eligibility proposal will be submitted to the ACCJC Eligibility Committee for review at its June 2014 meeting, or if submission will be postponed for six months for review by the committee at its January 2015 meeting.