The accreditation visit team from the state arrived on Monday to start its evaluation of the school and to write an “exit report” disclosing what observations were made about PCC during its four day visit.
Information about PCC’s reaccreditation status will not be released until June. However, college leaders have already said that they feel the college will be placed on warning.
“In any accreditation process, there is always the possibility if not the likelihood, that the school being evaluated will be placed on some sort of sanction, with a warning being the least damaging,” PCC President Robert Miller said. “I call it the velvet hammer of accreditation. Sometimes it takes an outside entity to remind an organization that there is room for improvement and there is a need for improvement. I see the accreditation as a very positive force in support of student success.”
Academic Senate President Eduardo Cairo concurred with Miller’s sentiments.
“Everyone who’s been part of the process is aware that we have a lot of problems,” Cairo said. “Because of those problems, we’ll probably be put on warning. That being said, our accreditation is not in jeopardy.”
According to Miller, the accreditation team will be having interviews with a lot of teachers over the course of its visit. The members will ask questions about various issues the campus has been having.
“From my perspective,” Cairo said, “the accreditation team is here to ask us questions to try to determine what type of problems the college has and once they know the problems, they are going to provide us with plans that we should implement to try to fix them.”
After the recent departure of Matthew Jordan, the co-creator of the accreditation self-evaluation, Associate Vice President Kathleen Scott took over as the school’s liaison to the accreditation team.
“It’s unfortunate that Matt Jordan left when he did,” TV and Radio instructor Sarah Barker said. “But I understand the circumstances and the situation and I don’t know that it’s necessarily going to hurt us there. I really don’t know. I guess we will find out.”
Scott said she was pleased so far about what the accreditation team’s chair, Kathy Smith, had to say about the school. She said it was all positive feedback.
The accreditation team had a meet and greet open to the campus on Tuesday, as well as two open forums on Tuesday and Wednesday. Faculty and administrative members were able to ask questions to the accreditation team and receive feedback.
Miller said that the visit from the accreditation team would only help improve things on campus.
“It’s been our pleasure to work with what I see as an extremely professional and fair group of peers who are involved in the accreditation process of our college,” Miller said. “ I am very confident that what ever they report will be balanced, will be for the most part accurate and will be an important indication of the work that we need to do moving forward.”
Staff writer Matthew Kiewiet contributed to this story.