President says accrediting team visit was positive

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College knocked QEP “out of the park” with “Fearless Learning” plan.

By Melissa Luna

President Robert Vela at College Council Tuesday praised faculty, staff and students for a smooth onsite visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The visit Sept. 28-Oct. 2 led to approval of this college’s quality enhancement plan and only nine recommendations out of a possible 130 for the college to respond to by March 1 before reaffirmation of accreditation is granted in June, Vela said.

People the accrediting team talked to were familiar with the QEP, “Fearless Learning,” which stresses information literacy, Vela said.

“We were complimented on everything they saw from folks they interviewed,” Vela said. “They were telling our story; there was nothing there that was staged.” He said the college “knocked it out of the park.”

Four recommendations regarded institutional effectiveness.

They include closing the loop on the new assessment of administrative units and community service units and completing student support services assessment cycles using Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education.

Other recommendations include implementing changes in the academic assessment of student learning outcomes using Elumen software and clarifying the agreement with this college for the transfer of credits from Northeast Lakeview College until it is accredited.

“There is a possibility we might be able to remove some of those by March before we submit our report to SACSCOC,” Vela said.

The college also must reconfigure the agreement with which this college offers courses at Northeast Lakeview.

The newer college, opened in 2007, is not accredited. Chairs at this college oversee faculty teaching SAC sections there.

Vela told the council a more detailed report will follow in the next few weeks and will include the remaining recommendations.

In other news, Dr. Kristine Clark, chief of integrated planning and performance excellence, presented College Council with a proposed change to the composition of this college’s Unit Review Committee.

The council voted for an amended plan for the committee to consist of three faculty members from Arts and Sciences; three from Professional and Technical Education; three from Student Success; one from Student Development; and one adjunct faculty member.

Faculty Senate will oversee the appointment of faculty.

Staff Council will also appoint two staff representatives, one each from administrative and community service units.

Responsibilities of the college Unit Review Committee include evaluating five-year unit reviews.

In other news, Joan Tsacalis, director of advising, reported the transfer and career center saw a 289 percent increase in visitors from Dec. 14 to Oct. 12.

As of Monday, 544 students visited the center compared to 140 students from the same time in 2014.

The center on the first floor of Moody Learning Center has developed a marketing plan including using Facebook and a website.


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