Inaugural Conference Meets Regional Interests
For a number of years, the ACCJC membership has been hoping for a conference that would bring together faculty, staff, and administrators around a shared interest in the peer-review process. From April 5-7, some 450 participants saw their hoped-for event finally come to fruition in Irvine, California.
The conference title “Partners in Excellence: Co-Creating an Outstanding Student Experience” anticipated a focus on bringing educators together with a shared passion for student success at community colleges. Attendees heard recognized plenary speakers Judith Eaton, President of CHEA, Eloy Oakley, Chancellor of the California Community College System, and Paul Gaston, scholar and author on higher education accreditation. ACCJC Commission Chair, Raúl Rodríguez, and Interim President, Richard Winn, shared the platform to speak about the future of accreditation in the western region.
Participants gave positive reviews for the 33 concurrent breakout sessions during which presenters shared stimulating ideas and promising experiments from their colleges’ work on behalf of student success. The post-event survey results suggest the several opportunities for open and candid discussion of key issues were particularly appreciated. The attendee roster showed 37 participants from member colleges in the Pacific Islands.
Accreditation Liaison Officers (ALOs) engaged in a day and a half of sharing and training for their key roles. Special sessions for CEOs and Trustees focused on their responsibilities for sustaining the work of accreditation.
A 15-member Conference Advisory Board provided critical feedback during the formative stages of the conference. Members Brian Lofman and Jennifer Vega La Serna were exceptionally helpful by stepping in to facilitate key elements of the ALO sessions. Eleven sponsors were on location to explain the services they could provide in support of the community colleges and their distinctive mission.
In view of the many expressions of interest in seeing such a conference continue, staff members are in conversation with the Advisory Board to develop a comprehensive education and training plan for the 2017-18 academic year. This plan may include collaboration with other professional development organizations that have been active in the community college sector. The ACCJC website will post current information on these developments.