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* Accreditation visit a success, says Lambert
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Trustee Phil Barrett (left) and evaluation team leader Ryan Thomas of Weber State University share a laugh during the welcome event for the Oct. 3-5, 2012, accreditation evaluation visit. More photos

Shoreline Community College does a terrific job in many areas and has opportunities for improvement in others, according to an initial verbal report from a team of accreditation evaluators.

“Today Shoreline Community College concluded a full-scale accreditation visit from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and I am very pleased that the visit was a success,” Shoreline President Lee Lambert said on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012. “Although the final verdict from today's visit will not be official until the early part of the new year, I am confident the college demonstrated a commitment to excellence in teaching and learning and a willingness to continue improving its efforts toward mission fulfillment.”

The evaluators were impressed at how well the college stayed focused on students despite severe reductions in state funding over recent years. The strong spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship by the workforce programs, generally referred to as professional-technical programs, was also called out as a strength that led to significant community engagement and economic development. The evaluators lauded the physical campus, its upkeep and the environment it presents for learning.

The overall financial health and stewardship of the college was also commended. Shoreline recently adopted a set of reserve policies designed help sustain the college despite uncertain economic conditions. The Board of Trustees’ focus on planning for the future was notable, the evaluators said. And, Shoreline was commended for the actual report submitted the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and reviewed by the evaluators.

“The evaluators also saw areas where we can improve,” Lambert said. “That’s OK; we are always working hard to get better and we welcome their perspective.”

Among those areas was better alignment of budget planning with the college’s foundational values called core themes. In the same vein, they saw that assessments of student performance could have a stronger tie to planning. The evaluators also saw the impacts that state budget cuts have had to some areas such as student services. And, while the evaluators said they liked the comprehensive report prepared by the college, they also suggested a review of the indicators used in the report.

“The level of preparation and involvement across campus from our faculty, staff, administrators, students, partners and Board of Trustees was unparalleled,” Lambert said. “I am so very proud to be the President of Shoreline Community College, an institution where individuals care deeply about one another. This was never more evident than in the past three days.”

 The Oct. 3-5 visit was led Ryan Thomas, Associate Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies at Weber State University. Thomas and eight other educators from across the Northwest spread out across the campus to conduct 52 separate meetings with a variety of groups and individuals.

At the Friday morning exit meeting, Thomas delivered a verbal report only and said a written version would be coming in a week to 10 days.

“This team has done a lot of work and we would like to make sure this initial report is as we intended it,” Thomas told a large group of Shoreline employees gathered in the Quiet Dining room to hear the results. Thomas said the college would then have time to review the document and offer corrections to anything that could be considered a factual change. After that, the document is sent to the NWCCU for review. President Lambert will have an opportunity to speak with the Commissioners during January and the final announcement on accreditation would likely come before the end of February, 2013, Thomas said.

Other members of the visiting evaluation team were:

Kristen A. Jones, Vice President of Instruction and Student Services at Flathead Valley Community College; Janice Alexander, Faculty Senate Vice President, Flathead Valley Community College; Karin Hilgersom, Vice President for Instruction, Central Oregon Community College; Elizabeth Hogeland, Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs and Workforce Development, Linn-Benton Community College; Jim Eustrom, Executive Dean, Student Development and Learning Resources, Chemeketa Community College; Laura Wight, Director of eLearning & Library Services, Montana State University, Randy R. Griffin, Dean of Administrative Services, Treasure Valley Community College; Pamela Goad, Vice President, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

“We started the three-day visit ready and it showed,” President Lambert said. At the exit meeting, Lambert lauded the efforts of many across the campus and noted the leadership provided by Humanities Dean Norma Goldstein, who headed up the Accreditation Coordinating Team. “From the moment the nine-member accreditation team set foot on campus to the concluding comments in this morning's exit meeting, the campus demonstrated its commitment to teaching and learning.”

SCC/Jim Hills

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