As you all know, Merced College participated in the external accreditation review process March 6-9. We had a very positive visit by the external evaluation team. I am proud of the work our campus leaders and constituents completed for this visit.

While the commendations and recommendations reported out the week of the visit are only a summary of the team’s report, I have provided below the major themes presented by the team chair at the exit forum. We will receive a more formal report in the next few months. The Commission will take action in early June and we will receive their decision by late June or July.

The external team provided five commendations and 10 recommendations reported at the forum. Again, the below is only a summary of their report. The team provided us with the following commendations:

  1. Development of the Comprehensive Program Review process that identifies the strengths and weaknesses of the programs in order to inform resource allocation.
  2. Development by faculty and student services of the application of multiple measures and the development of an accelerated pathway to college-level English that will serve students in reaching their educational goals in a timely manner.
  3. Development of a robust suite of professional development opportunities that support all employee groups and for faculty, in particular, focuses on innovative practices that support the learning needs of diverse students.
  4. Development and use of the Shared Governance, Integrated Planning, and Program Review Handbooks, which are thoughtful and comprehensive guiding documents.
  5. Robust and comprehensive student services offered on the Los Banos Campus.

The team provided us with the following recommendations:

  1. Engage in robust data analysis, including data disaggregation, to identify the underlying causes that impedes student success, develop interventions to improve student performance, assess the effectiveness of interventions upon implementation and communicate results to the campus community.
  2. Engage in processes that ensure the quality, integrity, and effectiveness of its distance education program, including the framework that identifies the rationale for which courses should be offered in the DE format, mechanisms for selection, training, and regular evaluation of faculty teaching in distance education, the development and evaluation of DE courses to ensure faculty initiated regular and substantive student contact, the disaggregation and review of SLO data by mode of delivery, and an evaluation of the applications of the DE program, and also the development of equitable and accessible student support services and processes to evaluate the quality, demand, and sufficiency.
  3. Assess all courses, including community services courses, program, and institutional level outcomes and use the results to improve student learning.
  4. Develop and implement a process for the systematic, regular and comprehensive review of Board policies and administrative procedures.
  5. Develop processes for the systematic, regular, and comprehensive evaluation of student support services that are sufficient to evaluate the quality and, regardless of location or means of delivery, that those services support learning and enhance accomplishment of the mission of the institution.
  6. Ensure the evaluation of faculty and academic administrators and other personnel directly responsible for student learning includes as a component of that evaluation consideration of how these employees use the results of the assessment of learning outcomes to improve teaching and learning.
  7. Update and revise the Facilities Master Plan for the District to assure the feasibility and effectiveness of its physical resources in supporting institutional programs and services.
  8. Plan and manage its financial resources in a manner that ensures sustainable financial stability.
  9. Board follow its policy on performing and conducting bi-annual self-evaluations.
  10. Board follow its policies regarding delegation of authority related to the Superintendent/President and ensure the Superintendent/President is able to implement and administer board policies without Board interference in college operations.

I want to thank everyone for their hard work on this self-evaluation report, specifically those who were directly involved in the writing and preparation of the document, as well as all who addressed perceived gaps prior to the external team evaluation.

We will get to work immediately on addressing the concerns and recommendations of the external team. This is truly an opportunity to improve as an institution and make a great college even better.

I look forward to working with the appropriate constituencies to fully and expeditiously address the aforementioned recommendations.

There will be more to come and much dialogue in the coming months. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions, feedback, or concerns.

This article originally appeared in the Campus Digest, March 2017 issue.

Related Links