Important Response to Hatred
+ Accreditation Update
Jan. 29, 2018
In this political climate, in which hatred feels ever more free to rear its head, I want to alert you about a key response from the college.
While a deep commitment to equity and inclusion define De Anza College, we are not immune from demonstrations of hatred made more permissible by the presidency of Donald Trump. You received a notification Friday night of a hate crime against a student who reported he was assaulted by a man who yelled an anti-gay epithet. De Anza, too, is unfortunately one of the many colleges at which white supremacist groups have placed recruitment posters. (See the Washington Post article on this topic here.) Offensive graffiti occasionally occurs, and is speedily cleaned when it does. Certainly – and sadly – microaggressions and other incidents occur daily.
De Anza College is a place of dialogue, a home for thoughtful analysis, and a center for action. The Division of Equity and Engagement is therefore actively working with faculty and classified professionals to develop a series of events to counter white supremacy and other hatreds unleashed by Trump and his base. Look for an announcement coming soon, and I urge you to participate in these important events.
I am also writing you today about an administrative issue that affects the college. Late last week, we received formal notice of the action taken by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) at its recent meeting.
As expected, De Anza College’s accreditation was affirmed, and the evaluation team wrote in their report that they “found a wonderful collegiate environment with a deep commitment to equity and inclusion with a college focus on social and civic engagement that is pervasive throughout the institution.” The team also commended our outreach to historically underserved students, commitment to professional development, support for online student readiness and creation of communal student spaces.
The commission reaffirmation was for 18 months, and requires a follow-up report by March 2019 to demonstrate compliance in three areas: two involving the alignment of program and course SLOs, and one requiring more evidence of sustained faculty-student contact in online courses.
We intend to provide the follow-up report in March of this year – a full year before the due date – and will request that the commission affirm accreditation for the entire seven-year period. The college’s SLO Core Team met the day of the visiting team’s exit report and has completed elements of a plan to meet the commission’s SLO recommendations. The team will meet again tomorrow to map out the remainder of the work. Similarly, we will provide all evidence required to demonstrate engagement in our online courses. It is unfortunate that the evaluation team did not acknowledge they were visiting us not only during the first quarter of the full Canvas transition but during the second week of class. Had the team been here later in the quarter, they would have observed the level of our faculty’s engagement with online students. I sent a letter to the commission in early January detailing these and other concerns.
In any event, we will provide what the commission requires, and thus obtain the seven-year reaffirmation of accreditation that De Anza College deserves.
The ACCJC letter and evaluation team report, as well as my letter to the commission earlier this month, are posted on the accreditation website at www.deanza.edu/accreditation. My deepest appreciation to the many faculty and staff whose work leading up to and following the accreditation visit demonstrates the college’s commitment to our students, and to their success.