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Our Opinion: IVC accreditation crucial

March 12, 2001

Imperial Valley College last week had its six-year accreditation review in which Western Association of Schools and Colleges officials were on campus to determine whether IVC is on the right track. The accreditation is a critical issue for the students of the Imperial Valley, as IVC is our only community college.

Whether the college receives accreditation can affect students' ability to transfer to other colleges and universities. IVC officials take the accreditation issue seriously. The college has worked to develop a master plan that will govern the college's growth as it works toward meeting the demands of the future. That master plan is a key component in obtaining accreditation.

As noted by the accreditation team, IVC has a hard-working group of teachers and administrators committed to meeting the needs of the Imperial Valley's students. The accreditation team pointed out IVC has serious students who care about their education and about getting involved with the college. Those are key components in a college being successful in providing quality education.

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The accreditation team did pinpoint issues the college needs to tackle. IVC has had communication problems between faculty and administration. At times it has seemed the faculty and administration were working against each other rather than toward a common goal. The college has taken steps to try to right that situation, but more needs to be done.

Another issue the accreditation team pointed out is low enrollment. It is noteworthy that the only community college in the Imperial Valley is experiencing low enrollment. There are a lot of students at IVC, but many are part-time. That is connected both to factors in our area and the average age of IVC students. Many work days or have families to care for, so they can only go to school part-time.

It is good to hear college officials say they are taking steps to make IVC more accessible to students. If IVC is to prosper, college officials are going to have to think of ways to continually improve and add services.

There are a great many professional people in the Imperial Valley who owe much of their success to IVC. IVC must continue to play a lead role in educating the people of the Valley. We cannot afford to have the college lose its accreditation. IVC officials appear to be doing what it takes to keep that accredited status.

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