Pasadena City College has been restored to full accredited status after a thorough evaluation process by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), one of three accrediting groups belonging to the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
The decision to take PCC out of academic probation was made last month after an ACCJC delegation visited the college, and was relayed to PCC Superintendent/President Rajen Vurdien on Monday.
For Vurdien, the decision is the result of two years of hard work by the college’s faculty, staff and students, who together developed a thorough response to the eight ACCJC recommendations. The hard work, Vurdien said, has resulted in “an improved campus climate, clarity in our decision-making, increased transparency, and superior ethical standards.”
“The Commission’s action is an endorsement of our strategy and performance, of which we all should be proud,” Vurdien said in a campus-wide email. “This work would not have been possible without the sustained effort of everyone on this campus. We owe a particular debt of gratitude to those who went above and beyond to ensure our plans succeeded – all of those who served on accreditation work groups for the past 20 months, and those individuals who drafted key portions of our plan, including our improved student learning outcomes, the joint statement on ethics, and our revitalized staff evaluations.”
Vurdien said the PCC community worked hard to meet the accrediting agency’s standards, even when most of the eight recommendations were difficult to fulfill.
“We were given a big task and I have to commend the faculty, the staff of PCC. They are highly talented and they were the ones that got the job done.”
Vurdien specially thanked Dr. Kathy Scott, PCC’s accreditation liaison officer, and Professor Lynora Rogacs, faculty lead in the accreditation process, who together worked as a team starting two years ago when the ACCJC was just contemplating placing PCC on probation.
“Right when we knew we were going to have some accreditation issues, we started to work. So we’ve been working very hard for two years on this,” Scott said. “We put together teams across the campus that included faculty, staff, managers and students and all these teams worked together on all of the eight recommendations. We had a team for each one and that was what allowed us to be successful – the truly collaborative effort that happened here.”
Vurdien stressed that the probation PCC had to go through over these past two years never had anything to do with the quality of education at the college.
“The quality of the education and learning was never an issue,” said Vurdien. “The issue was with the governance process and the budget and planning process. The quality of education is top notch.”
Vurdien said the PCC community must continue to work to maintain and protect the improvements the college has attained. According to the accrediting agency, PCC has to submit mid-term and annual reports about the progress being made.
Ross Selvidge, President of the Board of Trustees of the Pasadena Area Community College District, said he is gratified that PCC’s full accreditation has been reaffirmed.
“Many people at the college have worked extremely hard over the last year-and-a-half to make improvements in the administrative areas that the accreditation commission said were needed,” Selvidge said. “I am pleased to report that the standards for quality of instruction that our students have and will continue to receive have been evaluated and verified.”
Selvidge added the quality of instruction at PCC has never been in question during the whole process leading to the restoration.