Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 1:24 pm | Fair 76º


Accreditation Reaffirmed for Hancock

Evaluation process ensures community colleges meet particular standards

Accreditation team toured Hancock College campuses over four days in September.
Accreditation team toured Hancock College campuses over four days in September. (Allan Hancock College)

Allan Hancock College has had its accreditation status fully reaffirmed by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACCJC) through 2023.

The reaffirmation means the ACCJC found Hancock meets all of its eligibility requirements, accreditation standards and commission policies.

“This affirms the excellent work provided by the college’s faculty, staff and administrators and their commitment to student success,” said Kevin G. Walthers, Hancock superintendent/president.

“The commission confirmed what we know to be true: We are an exceptional college doing exceptional work to change the odds for our students,” Walthers said.

Hancock received a formal letter from the ACCJC on June 23. In it, the commission thanked the college for “sharing the values and the work of accreditation to ensure educational quality and to support student success."

"Accreditation and peer review are most effective when the College and the ACCJC work together to focus on student outcomes and continuous quality improvement in higher education,” the letter stated.

“This is great news for the college and community,” said Greg Pensa, president of the Allan Hancock College Board of Trustees.

“I would like to congratulate and thank the dedicated faculty, staff, bargaining groups and administrators who put in countless hours to make this happen,” Pensa said.

The college is required to submit a standard midterm report in 2020, which is midway through the seven-year accreditation cycle. Hancock has been fully accredited and in good standing since 1952.

California community colleges undergo a self-study and accreditation evaluation reaffirmation process by a team of peer reviewers from other institutions every seven years.

The process ensures the college meets specific standards, and the education earned at the college is of value to the students and other colleges and universities.

The ACCJC is one of six regional accrediting commissions authorized by the U.S. Department of Education.

“Given that in recent years the accreditation process has become even more stringent, we are especially pleased with this result,” Walthers said.

“Our students and community can continue to have confidence the college, our courses, procedures and services meet the highest standards,” he said.

The college submitted a 473-page document with hundreds of pieces of evidence to the ACCJC last July to demonstrate how it satisfied specific standards set by the commission. Work on the self-evaluation started in 2014.

“This is a testament to the hard work, commitment and passion across our campus,” said George A. Railey, Hancock’s associate superintendent/vice president, Academic Affairs, who oversaw the evaluation process.

“The full accreditation is another example why Allan Hancock College is recognized as one of the top 150 community colleges in the country,” he said.

As part of the evaluation process, the accreditation evaluation team visited Hancock College for four days in September. Evaluators toured the campuses, held open forums, and interviewed dozens of faculty and staff to gather information.

Prior to leaving campus, the 13-member team issued seven commendations to Hancock.

They lauded the college for its committed Board of Trustees, the management and implementation of Bond Measure I funding, and its state-of-the-art Public Safety Training Complex.

The team commended the college’s noteworthy institutional programs, specifically the conservatory program at PCPA, public safety training programs operated at the PSTC in Lompoc, as well as programs offered at the Lompoc Federal Penitentiary.

— Andrew Masuda for Allan Hancock College.


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