GCC's warning status lifted

A year after being placed on warning status, Glendale Community College has regained positive standing with officials who oversee its accreditation.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges late last month notified Glendale Community College that its accreditation had been reaffirmed after addressing several key planning and operational issues.

“The whole campus was celebrating,” said Board of Trustees President Anita Gabrielian. “The Board of Trustees is very pleased and thankful for the hard work of everybody on campus. It just reaffirms the fact that we have a premiere college.”

Glendale Community College was placed on warning status in July 2010 after the accrediting commission found deficiencies in several areas. Officials were given until March 15 to respond to four recommendations, including more effectively linking spending priorities with program needs, completing overdue employee evaluations and diversifying its staff.

The accrediting commission also set a second deadline — March 15, 2012 — for an additional five recommendations that included developing student learning assessment tools and increasing custodial staffing.

Every six years, community colleges are required to perform a self-study, which is then assessed by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges. It also includes a site visit by commission representatives. The colleges must demonstrate clearly defined objectives and show that they are sufficiently organized and staffed to meet those objectives.

The failure of Glendale Community College to automatically renew its accreditation with the commission in 2010 became a sticking point during the Board of Trustees election early this year, with challenger Vartan Gharpetian criticizing sitting board members for what he described as a lack of oversight.

President/Supt. Dawn Lindsay said that neither the academic excellence nor the leadership of the college was ever called into question. Instead, the accreditation process provided an opportunity to enhance operational practices developed and agreed upon by all stakeholders.

“I think the community really saw that we took this very, very seriously, and we were on it before we even got the letter that we had been placed on warning,” Lindsay said.

Commissioners made a follow-up visit to campus in April to assess its progress on the accreditation. And Lindsay traveled to commission headquarters in early June to make her case.

“I wanted to let them see that the words were more than just words on paper, that we had plans that are very formal and detailed [and] that were outlined and approved by the board,” Lindsay said.

In a letter reaffirming Glendale Community College’s accreditation, the commission stated that the college would not be required to submit to an additional visit that would have taken place in spring 2012. Instead, officials are to follow up on the remaining recommendations via a written report only.

“We really feel acknowledged by the commission. I think the commission truly recognized the work the college put together,” Lindsay said. “This is not a one-person show.”

Jill Lewis, accreditation liaison officer for the college, said that being taken off warning status was a big step, but added that the work continues.

“It will be our job to continue to show the commission that we are working down the same path, that we are following through with the things that we said we were going to do,” Lewis said.
 
 

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