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Accreditation team leaves IVC with concerns, commendations

March 09, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — State education officials were at Imperial Valley College this week to determine if the college will maintain its accredited status for the next six years.

In an exit interview Thursday, an accreditation review team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges addressed its concerns about issues such as communication improvements, more structured planning, and low enrollment. The team was at IVC throughout the week.

IVC officials said accreditation is a significant issue for the college because without the accredited status it can be difficult for students to transfer to other colleges and universities. Accreditation team members presented preliminary findings to the assembled administrators, faculty, staff, and students. In addition to the concerns, the accreditation team commended the college on a number of points.

IVC could learn as early as June whether it will receive the accreditation.

Comprised of professors and vice presidents from colleges and universities statewide, the accreditation team met to evaluate IVC's progress in meeting state standards and recommendations advised by the last accreditation team.


"The process will assure that IVC is providing quality education for students," said John Hunt, vice president for Academic Services. He added the focus of IVC is to provide training resources for the students in both the vocational and the transferable areas.

Recently IVC conducted a self-study to evaluate its performance as a college. The accreditation team reviewed the self-study as part of the accreditation process.

Some of the concerns the team addressed involved the need to improve communication at the college as well as the need for an updated mission statement.

It suggested a more focused approach to student success and a joint effort to work for the good of the students.

Other issues addressed were the flat enrollment rate in the college, and the effects it might have on the future budget.

Praising the dedicated faculty members and their commitment to the students, accreditation team members commended IVC for the active involvement of students in the student government, and the participation of the students, faculty and staff in the process of the self-study.

It was a sentiment Hunt echoed. Calling the faculty at IVC of the "highest quality," he said "they do have the students in mind. They provide quality education to the students"

IVC President/Superintendent Gilbert Dominguez agreed with the recommendations made by the accreditation team. He said the college now is able to start addressing some of the concerns.

Specifically noting the need to boost enrollment, Dominguez said college officials will have to do some "creative thinking." He mentioned an adult education program and an Internet distance learning program as possible solutions.

Hunt added a possible solution to increase enrollment would be to develop a non-credit program at the college. It would contain courses for students who want to learn, but do not need the credit.

The non-credit program is in the developing stages by IVC's curriculum and instruction committee. It would be state-funded, and be open to the students on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hunt hopes to have implemented the program by spring of 2002. He added that programs such as that were not previously developed due to state financial aid requirements, which were recently changed to make it possible for students to take non-credit courses and receive financial aid.

Dominguez said he is a strong advocate of the accreditation process stating, "it raises the institution to another level."

Dominguez was especially pleased the students were commended by the accreditation team which praised the students' attitudes toward learning.

Staff Writer Laura MacKenzie can be reached at 337-3442.

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