Southwestern College Provides Quality Education
A recent set of recommendations by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has identified ten areas for improvement that the collective leadership of the Southwestern Community College District is already addressing. We began this effort following receipt of the preliminary recommendations of the accreditation team in October 2009. There is no reason for students, parents, or the community to be alarmed.
The education, financial aid and credit transfer of our students at Southwestern College (SWC) are in no way in jeopardy. Southwestern College remains a fully accredited institution. We are pleased that the accreditation panel was highly complementary of SWC’s facilities, expansion, vibrancy and student engagement.
Southwestern College (SWC) is one of 110 community colleges in California. We have been offering quality and affordable college education to residents of the South County since 1961. The Governing Board of the Southwestern Community College District is dedicated to continued accountability and student achievement.
The WASC conducted its regular six-year accreditation visit of SWC and identified areas for SWC to address. We have already set a plan in motion to address the issues ahead of the schedule suggested by the WASC. There has already been substantial progress, which will continue.
Putting all of this in a broader context, it is relevant to note that thirty-seven percent of the California community colleges are currently responding to WASC reports of this type. The process of accreditation within the WASC has come under sharp criticism. An article entitled “Accreditation Under Fire,” by Contra Costa College professor Jeffrey Michels, challenges the methodology used by the accreditation commission. He describes it as “overzealous and out-of-control,” pointing out that “the other five U.S. accreditation commissions issued sanctions to only 15 of the 756 colleges (two percent) during the same period (between 2003 and 2008).”
US Department of Education Under Secretary, Martha Kanter, recently joined the fray by criticizing the lack of transparency in the process of evaluating colleges.
Since our last accreditation in 2003, Southwestern College has experienced significant growth and expansion. We expect that to continue for the foreseeable future. The Southwestern College District Governing Board is committed to continue to strive for increased student achievement and accountability to our community despite facing the most challenging financial environment in our history.
We are optimistic that the collective creativity and hard work of our college community will enable the District to emerge from these temporary challenges in the shortest possible time. We remain committed to making Southwestern College the best possible community college for our South San Diego County residents!