Accreditation Institute 2013

On February 8th and 9th, I have the privilege of joining faculty members Dr. Bob Cosgrove, Jenny Langrell, Tony Teng, and Dan Walsh at the seventh annual Academic Senate for California Community Colleges’ Accreditation Institute, Meeting and Exceeding the Standards: The Evolution of Accreditation. The institute was co-hosted by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC).

The event gave the Saddleback representatives the chance to hear great presentations and to talk to our colleagues from around the state.

On Friday, we attended a general session with ACCJC President Barbara Bano, then we had the chance to attend the following breakout sessions: Accreditation 1010: The Rubrics and Beyond; Budgets, Dialog and Sustainability; and Integrated Planning. Following lunch, Academic Senate President Michelle Pilati welcomed the group and Dr. Nathan Tharp from Feather River College presented his dissertation at a general session entitled Accreditation in the California Community Colleges: Influential Cultural Practices. The second round of breakouts included ” Institutional Effectiveness and Student Learning: the Integration of Student Support and Learning Support Services; Governance, Boards, and Standard IV; Data: What Do We Mean and What Kind Do We Need?. The day wrapped up with a general session – Hot Topics in Accreditation.

Saturday started with three breakout sessions – Faculty Leadership in Accreditation; Accreditation in a Multi-College District; and Distance Education and the Accreditation Process – and ended with Sanctions: The Phoenix Factor, a general session with Kevin Bontenbal from Cuesta College.

Accreditation is an issue that is always in the front of my mind and this institute helped to address many issues that Saddleback has faced. I look forward to implementing what we learned.

Saddleback’s Statement of Mutual Respect and Collegial Behavior

Saddleback College is very pleased to present the Saddleback College Statement of Mutual Respect and Collegial Behavior (click the link to download a PDF version of the document) that was unanimously approved by Consultation Council at Tuesday’s meeting and subsequently endorsed by President Burnett.  Everyone at the college should be extremely proud of this effort.  This is the first statement of this kind ever drafted by our college, and it was completed in a process that was true to the very principles being drafted.  Under normal circumstances it is difficult to get consensus on a statement like this one, but this was not the case at Saddleback.  The college’s Academic Senate, Classified Senate, Associated Student Government, and Management Team worked together over the past year in a respectful, collegial, and productive manner in discussing and developing this statement.  In addition, each of our district bargaining units reviewed and signed off on the final statement.  The outstanding support from the Faculty Association, California School Employees Association (CSEA), and Police Officers Association (POA) has been very much appreciated.

All college faculty, staff, and administrators are encouraged to print out a copy of the Saddleback College Statement of Mutual Respect and Collegial Behavior and display it in his/her office to show support for this important effort.  Everyone is also encouraged to emulate these principles every day and help us to continue the college’s strong commitment to our mission of student success.

Successful Accreditation Team Follow-up Visit

I am pleased to report that yesterday’s visit by a team from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) was highly successful. Dr. Joan Smith, chair of the visiting team, commented that she and her colleagues were “very impressed” with the progress made by the district. She commended Saddleback for our well-written follow-up report and well-prepared faculty, staff, and management. She also greatly appreciated our tremendous cooperation and fine hospitality.

You may recall that last Spring the ACCJC issued six district recommendations that needed to be addressed before yesterday’s follow-up visit. Under the superb leadership of Chancellor Gary Poertner and outstanding support by the Board of Trustees, the district has been working long and hard in addressing each of these recommendations over the past several months. We owe a special thanks to the District-wide Accreditation Steering Committee comprised of the following members from District Services, Saddleback, and IVC: Gary Poertner, Bob Bramucci, David Bugay, Debra Fitzsimons, Brandye D’Lena, Tere Fluegeman, Grace Garcia, Denice Inciong, Delores Irwin, Teddi Lorch, Beth Mueller, Randy Peebles, Tod Burnett, Juan Avalos, Don Busche, Claire Cesareo-Silva, Bob Cosgrove, Carmen Dominguez, Russell Hamilton, Carol Hilton, Jim Wright, Glenn Roquemore, Craig Justice, Gwen Plano, Davit Khachatryan, Lisa Davis Allen, Chris Tarman, Susan Sweet, and Kathleen Werle. There were also several additional people that served along with the steering committee members on each of the six district recommendation task forces including: Dan Walsh, Don Mineo, John Ozurovich, Gretchen Bender, Jennie McCue, Kevin O’Connor, John Edwards, Dennis Gordon, Jeff Kaufman, Angela Mahaney, Kathy Schmeidler, Keith Shackleford, Stephen Rochford, Dan Rivas, Jerry Rudman, Diane Oaks, Karima Feldhus, Will Glen, Bill Kelly, Lewis Long, Shanna Moorhouse, Cheryl Clavel, and Jim Laurie.

At Saddleback, we appreciate the great work done by our Accreditation Steering Committee including Don Busche, Bob Cosgrove, Claire Cesareo-Silva, Russell Hamilton, Carol Hilton, Carmen Dominguez, Juan Avalos, Joe Tinervia, Jim Wright, Beth Mueller, and Tere Fluegeman. A special thanks to Claire Cesareo-Silva who took on many additional responsibilities, and thanks to the many people on campus who helped support this effort.

We expect to receive the visiting team’s findings in a few weeks and an official determination from ACCJC in early February. For more information on our accreditation efforts and to see our follow-up report, please go to the college’s accreditation website at

Once again, thanks to everybody on a job well done!