SRJC retains accreditation with minor exceptions

Rebecca Dominguez, Web Editor

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) reaffirmed Santa Rosa Junior College’s accreditation March 2015 but requires a follow-up report addressing certain deficiencies.

SRJC was one of three community colleges in California that passed its evaluation without major problems, though the college didn’t meet three standards. Reaffirmation with a follow-up is required when there are flaws that are not immediate risks to the institution.

To meet the standard, the ACCJC External Evaluation Team requires SRJC to provide more reliable and comprehensive support services for online students. Also, SRJC must expand its online tutoring services.

Referring to student services, Ricardo Navarrette, vice president of student services, said, “Equitable is the same as you can get in person, which is a challenge. We have to evaluate how many changes need to be made in order to meet the equitable, comprehensive and reliable recommendation.”

Each department that provides student services must evaluate itself and report what changes departments can make to expand services to include online students. Navarrette gave the example of health services: the website is extensive, but it’s not possible for them to provide a diagnosis without an in-person exam.

“Some departments can provide some services, but not all. Each department has to go through all their services to see which can be adapted for online,” Navarrette said.

The ACCJC External Evaluation Report also stated there is “significant concern” regarding SRJC’s lack of an ongoing financial plan and fiscal contingency plan.

In addition, SRJC needed to expand its evaluation of student learning outcomes (SLO). Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Chair of Committee working on SLOs, Kris Abrahamson said, “We were out of compliance because our full time faculty were required to reflect upon SLOs, but our adjunct faculty were not.”

SRJC complied with this standard immediately by requiring adjunct faculty to fill out a simple report form regarding SLO assessment.

The college met all other standards but received commission recommendations to increase efficiency. The recommendations are to increase the quality of student data and to break apart student achievement data by instructional method.

“They wanted to see how online students are doing compared to in-person students, but the way we gather student data, we couldn’t give them a definitive answer,” Abrahamson said.

The commission also recommended SRJC expand its assessments of SLOs and use that data to make improvements in teaching methods. “It’s about faculty figuring out how students are learning and the areas that students are below the level they should be for the course. Then we need to make improvements in the materials, or the teaching method,” Abrahamson said.

Despite not meeting these standards SRJC did receive commendations from the evaluation team in other areas.

The commission praised SRJC on specific programs such as its comprehensive Public Safety Training Center and the noncredit English as a Second Language (ESL) program.

SRJC also received commendations on its multicultural activities, formation of the Presidential LGBT Advisory Committee and the creation of a preferred name option in the student cubby.