A tale of two citruses: accreditation team site-visit

The Accreditation Committee for Community and Junior Colleges sent an accreditation team to Citrus College for a site-visit from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1.

According to Douglas B. Houston, Ed.D., chancellor of the Yuba Community College District and accreditation team chair, the visiting team decided that Citrus College’s self-evaluation report showed a lack of reflection and depth.

The 14 administrators and faculty members from other California community colleges represented by ACCJC, described Citrus College’s self-evaluation report as incomplete, lacking reflection and not in compliance with the ACCJC self-evaluation manual and guidelines.

On the other hand, the team commended Citrus on several areas including empirical decision making and data literacy, program review, student life, library resources, maintenance and operations, a safe college environment, and the level at which Citrus funds future liabilities.

The objective of a visiting ACCJC team is peer review of the evidence supporting the college’s self-reporting on quality of education.

The 339-page self-evaluation report was submitted prior to the visit.

After the site-visit, the team then submits its findings to the ACCJC board.

More than 300 members of the Citrus College community contributed to the self-study during a three-year process, evaluating performance outcomes according to four standards set by ACCJC.

With the self-evaluation report that was submitted on July 27, campus committees developed an actionable improvement summary of areas Citrus plans to improve.

Arvid Spor, Ed.D., vice president of academic affairs and accreditation liaison officer and Roberta Eisel, professor of English and accreditation co-chair, were responsible for producing the self-evaluation report according to ACCJC guidelines.

Their reactions appeared to reflect the dismay of the Citrus community at the exit forum.

“It was very disappointing,” said Spor, “[Eisel] and I have over a decade of accreditation experience.”

Spor helped remove El Camino College Compton Center from sanction when they were on warning in the past.

“We know what we’re doing and how to do it,” Spor said. “We met all four standards.”

In memorandum addressing the results of the exit forum, Geraldine M. Perri, Ph.D., superintendent/president of Citrus College commended Spor, Eisel and more than 120 individuals who assisted in the accreditation visit for their hard work.

“While we were somewhat disappointed to learn that the team did not find the report to be as robust as they would have desired, we were heartened to learn that the college was validated for its overall general institutional effectiveness,” Perri said.

Accreditation teams typically receive self-evaluation reports months before their site visits.

“My team has been studying the report for several months and have written a first draft prior to the visit.” Houston said.

As the dates of the site visit drew near, the team requested more evidence and documentation as well as interviews with administrators, faculty, staff and students.

“We felt we needed to see additional evidence beyond what the college provided in the self evaluation,” Houston said. “It is not uncommon.”

“The team did your job for you,” Houston said during the exit meeting, expressing what he described as the frustrations of the visiting team.

The team expressed strong recommendations for Citrus to review the guidelines given by ACCJC on self-evaluation reports.

At the exit meeting, Houston said that once on campus, the team found evidence to support the affirmations made in the report.

Houston and accreditation team assistant Cathy Richter had conducted a preliminary visit to Citrus on Aug. 18.

During their first visit the two met with Perri, Spor, Eisel and other representatives from campus committees responsible for producing the self-evaluation report to orient them through the process.

“Everyone we talked to was really well informed and accommodating,” Houston said.

The team met with administration, faculty, staff and students at a reception on the first day of the visit.

The second and third day included open forums with the accreditation team.

Before and after the open forums, the accreditation team conducted interviews and research.

Houston made himself available for confidential interviews for those who did not wish to speak to the team publicly.

“Please note that the college does have an opportunity to respond to the report,” Perri said to the crowd once the team had exited. “In the last six year cycle we have had to correct gross factual errors. We will look at the documentation and provide them with feedback.”

The accreditation team is scheduled to submit a report to the ACCJC commission in 30 days.

The final draft of the report is made public only to the superintendent/president for correction on any factual errors.

“We will continue forward in our goals and aspirations to promote student success,” Perri said at the exit forum after thanking everyone for their hard work.

The ACCJC board will review the report by the end of January, where they will determine official recommendations as well as decide the most current accreditation status for Citrus College.

There are currently 12 institutions under ACCJC’s jurisdiction that under sanction as of June 2015.

The ACCJC decision is expected to be released to the public within the first two weeks of February 2016.



Megan is on her second semester as Managing Editor and Ad Manger for the Clarion as well as a contributor for Logos magazine. She has served three consecutive semesters as the editor-in-chief previously for the Clarion and is now focusing on supporting her staff and leaving a substantial foundation for future student journalists at Citrus College. Megan has received a transfer degree in journalism and is finishing a second transfer degree in communications.