Shoreline Community College has received notice that its accreditation status is reaffirmed by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).
“I’m very pleased that the commission has again acknowledged what a wonderful college Shoreline is and the fine teaching and learning that occurs here,” President Lee Lambert said. “Shoreline has been continuously accredited since it was formed in 1964. Being reaffirmed by the commission is a wonderful foundation as we prepare to mark our golden anniversary and to take us into the next 50 years.”
In the letter conferring accreditation, NWCCU President Sandra Elman noted:
“The Commission commends the College's demonstrated resilience and dedication to excellence by maintaining its focus on students and collaboration given several years of significant budget and staffing reductions.
“Moreover, the Commission applauds the College for its planning, service and attention to detail in the daily operations of its campus facilities resulting in an attractive, well maintained physical plant which provides for a comfortable environment for students and employees.
“Further, the Commission commends the College's Board of Trustees for their participation in helping set the future direction and transformation of the institution through involved, active engagement in the campus and surrounding community.
“The Commission is pleased to note the College's stewardship in creating financial reserves policies that are necessary components in ensuring financial strength and fiduciary integrity. Lastly, the Commission finds noteworthy the College's development of innovative and entrepreneurial partnerships that have led to excellent workforce programs, services and degree options for students.”
The decision came after a visit by a team of evaluators in October, 2012, and then an interview in January by the commission with Lambert and other college officials.
“The commission 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.”
Those areas include: Review alignment of the mission, core themes, current institutional initiatives and financial emphases; fully implement new planning and assessment processes that have already been developed; make sure that operational policies are reviewed and approved by the Board of Trustees; make sure that the Board of Trustees reviews appropriate and needed audits; look to restore services that were cut due to unprecedented state budget cuts; ensure that assessment indicators are aligned with college goals.
The accreditation process recently changed to an ongoing, seven-year cycle during which an institution reviews and addresses the five “Standards for Accreditation.” While there is significant overlap, in general Standard One is done in year one, Standard Two in year three, and Standards Three, Four, and Five in year seven.
The five standards for every institution cover:
- Mission and core themes
- Translation of #1 into assessable objectives supported by programs and services
- Appraise the potential to fulfill the mission
- Planning and implementation to achieve and assess the desired outcomes
- Evaluate efforts to fulfill the mission and assess sustainability as a viable institution.
This was Shoreline’s first time using the new process and the entire seven-year cycle was compressed into about 18 months.
“Our faculty and staff did a phenomenal job in preparing a huge amount of work for the October visit,” Lambert said. “Now, we can use what we’ve learned and get in sync with the new accreditation process to make Shoreline an even better college.”