Accreditation is the process for evaluating and assuring the quality of education used by the American higher education community, according to the Delta College website.
Delta is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).
As per ACCJC’s standards, all ACCJC member institutions must undergo accreditation review every seven years. Delta is currently under accreditation review.
Accreditation review involves “internal evaluation, external evaluation by professional peers, Commission evaluation, and institutional self-improvement to meet evolving regional and federal standards.”
Recently, Delta submitted its 234-page Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER) to ACCJC.
The ISER is currently under review by an evaluation team at ACCJC, who are preparing for their site visit from March 2-5.
Alex Breitler, the Director of Marketing, Communications and Outreach, encourages the campus community to participate in this visit.
“Information on public forums will be released soon,” he said.
During their site visit, the evaluation team will assess the institution’s compliance with ACCJC’s accreditation standards.
There are four standards highlighted by ACCJC as being necessary to ensure the success of an institution:
• Standard I: Mission, Academic Quality and Institutional Effectiveness, and Integrity
• Standard II: Student Learning Programs and Support Services
• Standard III: Resources
• Standard IV: Leadership and Governance
Kathleen Bruce, President of the Academic Senate, is one of the faculty members representing the institution throughout this process. She helped write the ISER, specifically Standard IV.
Standard IV states that “through established governance structures, processes, and practices, the governing board, administrators, faculty, staff, and students work together for the good of the institution.”
Bruce, who has been involved in the accreditation process since it began last spring, said she feels strongly about the importance of shared governance.
“When decisions need to be made or problems need to be solved, you share the responsibility for the outcome,” she said. “That makes sure that you don’t have one person at the top of the college making all of the decisions. You want to make sure that you talk to the student government, the Academic Senate and the unions.”
Lynn Hawley, professor of women’s history, reviewed various drafts of Standard III. She gave recommendations on areas that needed more evidence or editing.
“I have helped by bringing my experience and knowledge of the institution to the process,” Hawley said. “I have been here at Delta for 22 years, so I have some institutional memory, knowing how things have been done in the past here at the college.”
Hawley said these next few months are a critical period for the future of Delta.
“Accreditation is an important process that requires looking at the way the college operates at every level,” she said. “It is a time for everyone at the college to evaluate the job we have been doing and to refocus our efforts on our primary mission — to educate students and prepare them for transfer and the workforce. When the accreditation team visits our college, we need to be able to answer their questions and showcase all of the great things that are happening here at Delta.”
Breitler reaffirmed Hawley’s statement.
“It is essential that we demonstrate that we are serving our students and the community well,” he said. “Every institution can benefit from a set of fresh eyes, and that’s what the accreditation process is all about. It’s how our system ensures that students are getting the kind of education they deserve.”