CCC self-assessing, preparing for March Middle States reaccreditation visit

3/01/11


Last year, Ryan Howard struck out a lot and hit fewer home runs than usual. This spring, the Phillies slugger has been watching videos of his swing and analyzing his batting stance with a hitting coach in an effort to improve his effectiveness this season.

It’s called self assessment. Individuals and organizations stay at the top of their game by taking time to step back and review the way they do business. And after studying a swing or, in Cumberland County College’s case, analyzing a student survey or some other data, actions can be taken for improved performance.

CCC has been performing self-assessment since the college opened in 1966. We were first accredited in 1970 by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, our regional accrediting body, and we participate in reaccreditation visits every 10 years.

Since 2008, CCC’s board of trustees, faculty and staff have been involved in a college-wide self-assessment effort to prepare for the next visit. A Middle States team of peer reviewers from other similar community colleges, led by Murray Hoy, president of Wor-Wic Community College in Salisbury, Md., will visit our campus March 6 through 9.

Middle States reaccreditation is essential because it assures universities and employers that CCC conducts top-notch academic programs. Also, accreditation is necessary for approval by the federal government to provide student financial aid funds.

Needless to say, we are excited since CCC has been preparing for our Middle States visit for more than two years. Our self study is organized around 14 standards of excellence including assessment of institutional effectiveness and student learning outcomes. CCC’s Self-Study Committee, chaired by CCC Professor Dr. Robert Clark, included eight subcommittees made up of more than 60 employees as well as students and trustees.

I’m very proud of the fine work by all involved in this essential project because accreditation reflects Middle States’ expression of confidence in a college’s mission and goals, as well as its performance and resources. CCC compiled a 188-page self-study report for the Middle States team to review along with a number of recommendations made by CCC for strengthening the institution’s effectiveness. During their visit, the team will review other materials and interview staff members and students. The team will deliver its final reaccreditation report in June.

The reaccreditation process is very beneficial for the college and the community because it gives us a chance to “look in the mirror” and reflect on where we are as an institution. By stepping back and studying our operations, with input from our Middle States peer representatives, we can build on our strengths and address our challenges.

And just like the Phillies and their fans, CCC is looking forward to the future. Beginning this spring, the college will utilize the data from our self-study and Middle States recommendations as a baseline for developing our five-year strategic plan. We welcome your input as the college moves forward, charting a course for engaging, inspiring and transforming our students - and the community - in the 21st century.