Merced College’s accreditation status has been reaffirmed by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC).
“It is my pleasure to announce that Merced College’s accreditation status has been reaffirmed,” said Merced College Superintendent/President Chris Vitelli.
Based on a comprehensive evaluation by ACCJC, Merced College’s accreditation was reaffirmed for 18 months with a follow-up report to address the team’s findings and recommendations.
“This is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the campus community, as well as its tireless dedication to student learning,” President Vitelli said.
In its June 23 letter to President Vitelli, ACCJC thanked the college for “sharing the values and the work of accreditation to ensure educational quality and to support student success."
ACCJC further noted that the peer review process by which colleges are accredited “are most effective when the College and ACCJC work together to focus on student outcomes and continuous quality improvement in higher education.”
Merced College received numerous commendations, recognizing the College’s outstanding work on developing a comprehensive program review process, the development of multiple measures, progress toward an accelerated pathway to college-level English, a robust professional development program, use of institutional planning handbooks, and the comprehensive student services program at the Los Banos Campus.
ACCJC’s findings followed the College’s year-long process of preparing its accreditation self-study report. President Vitelli noted that this process included institutional dialogue, as well as collection and analysis of data that sought to determine whether the College had met all of ACCJC’s eligibility requirements, accreditation standards and commission policies.
An accreditation team visit was held in March with evaluators spending three days on the Merced and Los Banos campuses and at the Business Resource Center. The team analyzed data, conducted interviews and open forums, and reviewed the College’s reports and operations.
“I am grateful to those college staff members who contributed countless hours in preparation of our comprehensive self-evaluation report and the team visit, and I’m proud of the work they continue to do to ensure sustainable continuous quality improvement across the District,” President Vitelli said.
ACCJC issued six recommendations for improvement, which the College is expected to address in its follow-up report.
“The Commission’s recommendations are not insurmountable, but rather our challenges in crystallizing policies and practices that will improve the college’s functionality,” President Vitelli said.
“We have already begun to address these recommendations and are excited about the prospect of improving operations through these recommendations. While the work ahead is not easy, it will be fulfilling and will pay great dividends in student achievement.”
President Vitelli noted that accreditation is an important and vital component of ensuring both the quality and the relevancy of the College’s programs and services. The accreditation process provides colleges and universities with an opportunity to improve their educational programs and services.
After receiving the visiting evaluation team’s report, Merced College began work to address the recommendations.
“Accreditation is more than compliance, it is a mechanism to help ensure our students and our community that we are committed to high standards and excellence in our instructional programs and student support services,” President Vitelli said.
“I am confident that we will address all of ACCJC’s recommendations in a thorough and timely manner, but more importantly I am confident that we will take this opportunity to improve the student experience at Merced College.”