Skyline College just completed the external site team visit portion of the accreditation process which included more than 50 interviews with more than 100 people over the course of four days. The Self-Evaluation Report was reviewed along with hundreds of documents, manuals and links to demonstrate that Skyline College meets the standards set forth by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). At the end of the visit, the visiting team held an exit interview where the team chair gave a closing oral report to provide the college with a summary of the preliminary findings in the form of an overview. The work of the visiting team is a major part of the work that the commission considers in the development of the final report. Only the commission approved report is final and we will be receiving that report in January 2014.

The major purpose of the work was to determine whether Skyline College meets the standards set forth by ACCJC and to evaluate how well we achieve our stated purpose (the mission statement). The team is also required to review the activities related to the district offices, their functions and the board of trustees. The team chair expressed that the committee was very impressed with Skyline College and gave special thanks to Theresa Tentes and Sarah Perkins, Food Services (Pacific Dining), the IT staff, the facilities crew, Public Safety and the Distance Education Staff.

The team will recommend that the district develop an evaluation of the services provided and that the District make improvements in the professional development of the trustees. The team recognized and commended the district on the solid and stable long range financial planning and foresight that allowed the district to weather the economic challenges faced by many in the state of California. Of note, the team included in the commendation the foresight to pass the parcel tax, build faculty and staff housing and become a community supported district.

The team recognized the hard work of the Performance Evaluation Task Force, working to modify the evaluation process to include student learning outcomes. The team recommends that we work collectively to implement the new processes. The team indicated that they were “so impressed” with what we do.

The team commended the college on:

• The morale and enthusiasm which is “palpable and infectious.”

• Our commitment to learning and the civility and respect they had the opportunity to observe.

• The students first environment and our shared vision of social justice, integrity, diversity and access.

• Its spirit of innovation, creativity – noting such programs as SparkPoint, CTTL, Learning Communities, Boot-Up for New Faculty amongst many.

The entire campus, administration, faculty, staff, and student leadership were all commended for our compassion and sincere valuing of the diverse life experiences at our college. The team chair also took a moment to recognize the leadership of the president, “Dr. Regina Stanback Stroud, for her visionary leadership…..This is a fabulous, fabulous college and a great part is due to your visionary leadership.”

The team made suggestions and recommendations including:

• Provide a crosswalk or alignment chart from the plans to the standards.

• Develop a systematic assessment of resource and allocation cycle

• Ensure all Distance Ed classes have regular and substantive contact with students

• Adhere to the schedule of regular performance evaluations for part-time faculty.

The team chair closed the meeting by restating how wonderful the college is and how special the experience has been for the team. “Your culture and your spirit has touched us all. Your students and your community are very, very fortunate to have a true jewel of the community college system here in San Bruno. I want to thank you Skyline College; I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. And this concludes my closing report.” With those comments, the team left the room and the attendees took just a brief moment to congratulate ourselves on a job very well done.

As the president of the college, I would like to take a point of personal privilege and thank all of the faculty, staff, students and community members who were involved in the preparation of the report and in the execution of the visit. You all are amazing and I am quite humbled to have the honor of working with you for this college, for these students and for our community. Thanks to the Accreditation Co-Chairs, Donna Bestock and Christine Roumbanis. You led the way to an exceptionally well executed process. Thanks to Dennis Wolbers and Christine Themoleas for managing the evidence for the self-evaluation. Thanks to Nancy Kaplan-Biegel for editing and essentially, perfecting the report. Thanks to the accreditation steering committee for their leadership in the writing process. Thanks to Dr. Gina Rosabal who provided consultation and writing expertise to help us amass an impressive set of integrated plans and manuals that is more impressive than we could have imagined. Thanks to Kayla Razavi, ASSC President, Leigh Anne Shaw, Academic Senate President and Linda Allen, Classified Senate President for their leadership and support in responding to the standards, ushering the various plans through the processes and calling on the faculty, staff and students to be engaged. Thanks to the faculty, staff, students and district staff on the standard committees. Thanks to Chancellor Galatolo, Deputy Chancellor Jim Keller, Vice Chancellor Tom Bauer, Vice Chancellor Harry Joel, Vice Chancellor Jose Nuñez, Vice Chancellor Jing Luan, Vice Chancellor Kathy Blackwood, Chief Information Technology Officer Frank Vaskelis, Director Barbara Christensen, and the entire District team for the unconditional support and engagement we received during this process and always. Thanks to Katie Beverly, the staff in the Skyline College Reprographics Department, Kevin Chak and the staff in the Bookstore for the production of a beautiful set of documents and for being at the ready to do whatever was necessary to have a successful visit. Finally, thanks to Dr. Sarah Perkins for her leadership and guidance as the Accreditation Liaison Officer and to the staff in the Office of Instruction and the Instructional Leadership Team for putting forth stellar work before and during the visit.

During the visit, Theresa Tentes was stellar in managing all of the logistics and ensuring that team had appropriate accommodations. I want to add my thanks to all of the third floor staff for their tireless work to support the team, the administration, faculty and staff and the process. Thanks to Rick McMahon, Hector and all of the Pacific Dining staff for the exceptional job you did in serving our guest. Three community members, Michele Enriquez-Da Silva, Jessica Evans and Carolyn Livengood took the time to meet with the team and really made a clear impression of commitment to and support for the college. “I love this college” is the way Carolyn Livengood closed her statement. The Food Service staff, Public safety, Information Technology staff, the faculty and Jim Petromilli and the staff of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Facilities and grounds crew helped us show our best face.

The team made complementary statements about the website during the entire visit. Thanks to Cherie Colin, and the Marketing, Communications, Public Relations department for the great work to give us a great website and for helping us put forth a coherent and professional image for Skyline College (and yes, Keisha Ford provided an impressive tour for the team). The Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness faculty and staff, Dr. David Ulate, Katie Galvin, Karen Wong and Anjelica Gacutan were outstanding in ensuring all of the plans, data, manuals/handbooks were at the ready. Thanks to Dr. Joi Blake and the Student Services Leadership Team, you really helped us shine. Team members commented on the great work being done in student services. Vice President Eloisa Briones and the administrative services staff impressed the team members with the comprehensive and transparent budget processes. Finally, the faculty, staff and student leadership did a superb job of showing just how collegially we work together to serve our students and community.

The team chair indicated that we have a true jewel of the community college system……yes, that confirms it….like most jewels, Skyline College really does shine!

Article By Regina Stanback Stroud.