Merced College will retain its accreditation, but has been issued a “warning” by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges until it addresses three recommendations issued in March.
The college will have until March 2012 to respond to the recommendations, and to submit a report to the ACCJC outlining the college’s responses.
“We were aware of the commission’s recommendations during its exit interview in March, and we’ve been addressing these recommendations since then” said Merced College President Dr. Benjamin T. Duran. “We recognize that a ‘warning’ from the commission must be taken seriously, but we’re confident that we will make the needed improvements by next March when we will submit a follow-up report.”
Warnings are issued when an institution fails to meet one of the commission’s four standards.
Merced College was warned for the lack of a comprehensive program review process, a deficiency noted in the college’s 2004 accreditation report. While the college has been developing and implementing such a process, the ACCJC requires further evidence of “ongoing, systematic assessment to improve student learning outcomes.”
Merced College was also asked to continue refining key planning processes, including data collection, establishment of a college-wide dialogue about instructional effectiveness, and an ongoing review and evaluation of planning processes.
Lastly, the College Board of Trustees was recommended to develop a comprehensive plan for board improvement. Such a plan would include an examination of the college’s participatory governance processes and an evaluation of the board’s support of those processes.
While the Accrediting Committee did note some deficiencies, it also noted successes. The ACCJC commended the college for high levels of unrestricted reserve funds, success in developing a planning process that links to the budget allocation process, student participation in governance, improved access to technology, and the promotion of staff development.
Given these successes, Merced College is confident it will address the commission’s recommendations by the March 2012 report deadline.
“The commission’s recommendations will be addressed in our own internal processes that we’ve developed for student improvement,” Duran said. “While we have some work ahead of us, we are fully prepared to complete these tasks.”
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