Superintendent/President Vitelli Encourages MC Staff to Participate in Series of Forums

By Chris Vitelli
Superintendent/President

Merced College is participating in the external accreditation review process March 6-9. The “primary purpose of accredited institutions is to foster learning in its students ... by maintaining an ongoing, self-reflective dialogue about quality and improvement.” (ACCJC, Accreditation Standards, Edited Version, Nov. 2012).

As an institution, our goal is to create a culture of accreditation and continuous quality improvement in everything we do.

So yes, every six years, we participate in a formal process for comprehensive review, self-assessment, and evaluation to certify our accreditation. However, the goal is to create a culture of continuous quality improvement to assure students and the greater public that we meet or exceed the standards of good practice established by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

In March, we will host the External Accreditation Team to review and discuss our efforts to address the standards set by ACCJC. By early summer, we’ll receive a formal response from ACCJC, and if all goes well, the Commission will “reaffirm” our accreditation status.

As an institution, it doesn’t end there. As a team, it is imperative that we work to continue to include processes that are ongoing, systematic and used to evaluate and improve student learning and achievement.

It is not just a “check in the box” and then we wait until the next cycle. If we  are diligent and responsible in our approach, we’ll continue our process of evaluation and improvement — it is the key to effectively “foster learning in our students” as an accredited institution of higher education.

Many of you will be asked to participate in meeting with members of the external team. Everyone, however, is encouraged to engage in the external evaluation process by attending our scheduled events. Please see the boxed sidebar below for more information.

I feel very good about our District’s external evaluation and I am looking forward to hosting the external evaluation team in just a few short weeks. Finally, I know a lot of hard work, extended hours, and collaboration went into the development of the self-study. I want to personally extend my appreciation to all of those involved in the process. Your efforts and work will be fruitful. 

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

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