The following is a press release from Santa Monica Community College.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)—one of seven institutional accrediting bodies recognized by the national Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education—has reaffirmed Santa Monica College’s (SMC) accreditation for seven more years. The commission voted to take this action at its meeting held Jan.10-11, 2024. This is the best possible outcome of an extensive self-evaluation and peer review process required of colleges affiliated with the ACCJC.
In a letter sent to SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, the commission also noted “none” under the categories of “compliance requirements” and “recommendations for improving institutional effectiveness.” ACCJC President Dr. Mac Powell and Chair Dr. Lori Gaskin expressed “appreciation for the diligent work and thoughtful reflection that Santa Monica College undertook to prepare for this review.”
“This news is a resounding affirmation of Santa Monica College’s excellence and the dedication of all those who work wholeheartedly to fulfill SMC’s mission of providing the most high-quality, equitable, and accessible education possible!” said Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “Accreditation is an opportunity to reflect on the college’s accomplishments and also identify ways to build upon the strengths that have served SMC so well in the 90-plus years of its existence. Having that self-reflection culminate in a superlative commendation—what better way to kick off 2024?”
Jeffery thanked the team led by Dean of Academic Affairs/accreditation liaison officer Dione Carter Hodges, Ed.D. and Professor of Math/ SMC Academic Senate president Jamar London, who co-chaired the accreditation steering committee.
“This herculean effort spanned a couple years, and involved dozens of colleagues across many departments who collaborated to guide Santa Monica College to a successful outcome,” said Carter Hodges. “The success we achieved as faculty, classified professionals, administrators, and student leaders is reflective of our collective commitment to our students and being ‘Proud to be…SMC’!”
Before arriving at the decision to reaffirm SMC’s accreditation, the commission reviewed the Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER) submitted in Dec. 2022—which provides information on SMC’s accomplishments over the past seven years, as well as ways to improve—and it also considered the report submitted by the peer review team that conducted an on-site visit to the college in late Sept. 2023.
The next accreditation step required of SMC is a midterm report due on October 15, 2027, to be followed by a peer review of the next Institutional Self-Evaluation Report in spring 2030 and an on-site visit in fall 2030.
Each institution affiliated with ACCJC voluntarily accepts the obligation to participate in a cycle of evaluation that requires a comprehensive evaluation visit by an external team of peers. The cycle includes a mandatory midterm report in the third year as well as any other reports requested by the commission. Accreditation is a voluntary system of self-regulation developed to evaluate overall educational quality and institutional effectiveness and to provide public assurance of the quality of education based upon this evaluation.
The ACCJC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) as a reliable authority regarding the quality of education offered by the institutions that the commission accredits in keeping with the Higher Education Act of 1965. Institutions wishing to provide students with federal financial aid must seek accreditation from a ED-recognized accrediting body.
To read the ACCJC’s official notification letter, as well as SMC’s latest Institutional Self-Evaluation Report and the ACCJC Peer Review Team Report, see smc.edu/accreditation. For more information on the ACCJC of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, please visit accjc.org.