A two-year institutional review process culminated last week with the announcement that the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges reaffirmed accreditation for College of the Canyons with commendation and no compliance requirements.
The commission notified the college that its accreditation has been approved for another seven-year term, with only one regular midterm report due in 2026.
In the notification letter, Interim President Cindy Miles and Chair Sonya Christian commended the college for “fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, professional development, and entrepreneurship that is infused throughout the institution, resulting in unique opportunities that enhance student engagement and success.”
Accreditation is a voluntary process colleges and universities undergo to evaluate and assure the quality of education used by the American higher education community – and to subsequently make those results known to the public. The ACCJC evaluates and accredits public and private postsecondary institutions that offer two-year education programs and award the associate degree.
“I am very proud of the outcome of our accreditation process,” said COC Chancellor Dianne G. Van Hook. “The reaffirmation of our accreditation serves as a testament to the dedication of each member of the college’s faculty, staff, administration, and board of trustees to help our students succeed.”
The accreditation process is conducted not only to assure the quality of the institution, but also to encourage institutional improvement. All accredited institutions are expected to use the report to improve their educational programs and services. The process includes an intensive Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER), followed by an outside peer evaluation of an institution’s adherence to set standards of good practice, and an ongoing analysis of the overall quality of programs and services offered by the college.
“By having our accreditation status reaffirmed so positively, College of the Canyons has once again demonstrated our commitment to the highest standards of excellence, and our entire campus community is to be commended for this accomplishment,” said Omar Torres, chief instructional officer and accreditation liaison officer at the college.
The college began compiling its self-evaluation report in spring 2020 and submitted it to the commission in December 2021 before a team of peer evaluators virtually visited the college in March.
The 11-member team was impressed by the college’s data visualizations and institutional research support, the COC board of trustees’ practice of holding joint meetings with Associated Student Government, the expansion of noncredit programming, and the work that is being done to address differential success rates among disproportionately impacted student populations.
College programs such as Leadership Education in Action, NASA High Altitude Student Payload, as well as the college’s biodiversity initiative and commitment to civic engagement, were noted as exemplary by the team.
ACCJC accredits public and private postsecondary institutions that offer two-year education programs and award the associate degree.