The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has a long standing tradition of encouraging faculty involvement in the self study process and in serving on accreditation teams and at the Commission. Though the Academic Senate takes exception with the 2002 Accreditation Standards, particularly their reliance on marketplace values, faculty roles in accreditation are essential to a healthy peer review process and founded in the Education Code and Title 5 Regulations. This paper identifies the many roles faculty must play in the self-study activities: determining how outcomes and objectives should be defined and evaluated; participating throughout the accreditation process from data gathering to responding to drafts; functioning as visiting team members; serving on the Commission, and finally, by responding to Commission actions and recommendations. Appendices include a brief history and overview of accreditation and a consideration of Academic Senate resolutions and resources related to accreditation. In sum, this paper stresses the faculty's roles at the local level and how this experience serves as a precursor to contributing to accreditation efforts on other campuses and in representation on the Commission itself.
- Faculty should read the Academic Senate paper, The 2002 Accreditation Standards: Implementation and disseminate that paper along with the present one;
- Faculty should recognize their right, duty, and responsibility to participate in every aspect of accreditation, including serving on the Commission, on visiting teams, and in working on their institution's self study. Faculty authority in academic and professional matters is founded in the legislative intent language of AB 1725, and specified in the Education Code and in Title 5 Regulations;
- Faculty preparation for accreditation should embody the view that "no quality organization lacks money for professional development";
- Faculty must be granted sufficient reassigned time, according to local governance and contractual agreements, to support their involvement in the broad range of responsibilities associated with creating the self study and contributing to the institution's overall accreditation effort;
- Faculty should begin preparations for the team visit anywhere from eighteen months to two years in advance and play a substantive role in the development of self-study planning, including the arrangement of the subcommittee structure;
- Faculty senates should work in close cooperation with the administration, student services, the library, and all student support services in the coordination of processes for designing and reporting outcomes;
- Faculty must insist that all course and program student learning outcomes are developed by local faculty;
- Faculty are well advised to have a thorough understanding of student learning outcomes, objectives, goals and measurability when engaging in dialogue about the assessment of evidence and what should be included in course syllabi and the course outline of record;
- Faculty should consider the selection of a Learning Outcomes/Assessment Coordinator (LOAC). Because the uses of evidence are ongoing, it is appropriate for local senates to select a faculty member to oversee the ongoing coordination of evidence and assessment and that such a position should be provided appropriate release, stipends or reassignment (2.02 F03);
- Faculty serving on visiting teams must recognize that they have as much right as any other team member in writing the team's final report and commenting on parts of the final report other than the ones they were assigned;
- Faculty senates should make recommendations for faculty who express an interest in serving on accreditation visiting teams.
In addition to the above suggestions, the recommendations from the 1996 paper, Faculty Role in Accreditation still hold true.
In summary, the responsibilities of the local academic senates in the accreditation process are:
- Play a substantive role in the development of the self-study plan, including the committee structure.
- Appoint faculty members to serve on all levels of the self-study plan, including the committee structure.
- Encourage broad-based faculty participation.
- Provide a schedule of senate and other faculty committee meetings to the visiting team chair and invite the team members to attend a senate meeting.
- Have the senate president included in the meeting between the team chair and the college president to review the proposed recommendations for factual accuracy.
- Receive and review the recommendations in the final report.
- Develop, through consultation, a plan to respond to the recommendations in the final report.
- Participate in drafting whatever interim reports are requested by the Commission.