Accreditors mark accommodation, recommendations

UCC was up for its mid-cycle evaluation report in April. This report falls in between the college’s normal seven-year accreditation cycle and acts as a pre-evaluation so that UCC is ready for the next accreditation evaluation in four years.

Accreditors spoke to significant UCC individuals and groups on April 18 and 19 about some of the main points of the accreditation report. Four issues of concern included new strategic plans, shared governance ambiguity and incomplete assessment practices. The accreditors reviewed the college’s mission and core themes, human resources and leadership throughout the college.

Director of Assessment and Accreditation Emily Fiocco shared some information about the recent visit from Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). “To continue improvement, we will focus more on collecting data to make better decisions in the future, ”Fiocco said. Plans are to analyze the college council and Institutional Effectiveness Committee (IEC) every spring.

The college also plans to make clearer and more concise descriptions of the purpose of every council. They plan to give all members and groups who associate with shared governance the tools needed so that they can improve and meet the standards of accreditation.

“By collecting better data, the college will use and analyze the results found in every area of the accreditation report so that improvements can be made as needed,” Fiocco said.

A positive from this visit from the NWCCU accreditors was all the compliments about UCC. “It’s great to get good feedback from peers,” Fiocco said. All accreditors who came for the evaluation work at other community colleges or universities. The NWCCU has 162 institutions throughout Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Alaska, Montana, Washington and British Columbia.

This report is not an official accreditation status that decides whether the college can keep their accreditation. “It’s more like a work plan or pre-test,” Fiocco said. The official mid-cycle report will be sent by July 2019.

UCC President Debra Thatcher released a report on the first mid-cycle evaluation. In it she states that the college has been reaffirmed for accreditation for the following seven-cycle evaluation. She also stated that though UCC passed in many categories, there are nine areas that are in need of improvement. The areas that need improvement include two of UCC’s current policies: academic freedom policy and hazardous waste policy and procedure. The other categories for improvement that were in the pre-report are core themes, shared governance, campus wide collaboration, and development of resources plan. The college was warned to improve administrative turnover, job descriptions and its assessment processes.

The nursing program had a separate accreditation evaluation and passed with no further review needed for eight years. Nursing program director April Myler was commended.

For more information about the NWCCU go to their website and to see the president’s full report go to the UCC accreditation page where information about the seven-year cycle and the NWCCU standards are also available.