Confidence and surety set the tone for the California Community College Accreditation team’s visit to the Yuba College campus, the week of October 20th. Expectations were high and Chancellor Douglas Houston said, “The accreditation process presents fortuitous opportunities for success as long as we are authentic and honest.”
The Accreditation team was here to evaluate and to determine if Yuba College meets standards, and make its recommendation to the Accreditation Commission. The process of Accreditation has been ongoing at Yuba College for the past six years. The quality of education may be on the line as the Commission examines the standards at 112 community colleges statewide. You can imagine how important Accreditation is to the overall process of education here at Yuba College.
The first of two meetings of the Accreditation visit process was held here on campus September 25th, 2012. A fundamental expectation plan was laid out detailing Yuba College’s approach to the process. A “Blueprint for Success” was clearly established. The meetings were focused on telling our story, creating a purpose and plan, and actively implementing the planning agenda, while keeping in mind that the site visit is not the finish line. The expected outcomes are to affirm planning, identify areas of improvement, and learn the Accreditation points. By making Accreditation a part of our everyday language, Yuba College can establish the success we strive to achieve.
As the team made their visit, “The climate on campus was at a high mark,” says acting President, Rod Beilby. “The goal was to create an institutional effectiveness model, using shared decision making to tie in budget resources.” Fiscal responsibility is always one of the most important areas of assessment for any college. Shared decision making requires commitment, as stressed by Chancellor Houston, throughout the process. The dedication and commitment necessary is shared by both the interim President Rod Beilby and the acting Vice President Lisa Jensen-Martin.
Recommendations and commendations from The California Community College Accreditation Commission should be here by the end of January or early February. President Beilby indicated that had the Accreditation team scheduled its visit at this time next year, we would have been in better shape. With the change in the offices of the president and vice president having had a transition period of only three months, we are to be commended for the achievements we have made in such a short period of time.
I spoke with acting Vice President Lisa Jensen-Martin after the Accreditation team exit, asking her about the benefits of the process. The benefits are that, “Accreditation legitimizes a school and instills confidence. The moral environment was good on campus, and the team could feel the change from their last visit.” She was very optimistic. She believes that given further time, there is good cause for optimism based upon the reputation that is currently being built by both the faculty and the present staff.
The Yuba College Accreditation Co-Chair, Brian Condrey, also had some comments on the benefits, saying “They are to help us focus energy and attitudes on the importance of things we already know.” As to how this would directly affect the students at Yuba College, Condrey stated, “The whole process is designed to help better serve the students; that’s what its all about.”
Chancellor Houston was “thrilled” with the successful visit, and well pleased with the possibilities of the coming recommendations and commendations.
As the team prepared for its exit, Dr. Joan Smith, the team chair, said, “This was the best team I’ve ever worked with; both the visiting team of the California Commission and the Yuba College Accreditation team.” Additionally, she offered her congratulations to Anabel Toche, the Secretary to the President Rod Beilby, for all her hard work. She was responsible for the scheduling and the itinerary of the Accreditation team.
At the first meeting on campus this year, Jensen-Martin held up a candy jar, saying that the jar was half full. As I left her office after the team’s exit, I couldn’t help but notice the candy jar on her table was completely full. There was an air of warm success as optimism abounded throughout the room. This could be a defining moment for Yuba College faculty, staff and education. Should the Commission return favorable recommendations and commendations will helphelp our college build its reputation.
Our faculty and staff have put a great deal of energy and dedicated hard work into the entire Accreditation process. The California Community College Accreditation Commission team exited Yuba College after their visit with glowing accolades for our college and our people. We have every right to expect an optimistic report from the Commission. With the current leadership we have in place right now, Yuba College has clearly established a “Blueprint for Success.”