Commission Reaffirms Santa Monica College’s Accreditation

Culmination of Evaluation and Peer Review by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges

Graduates at Santa Monica College’s 2017 commencement ceremony. The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)—an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education and the U.S. Department of Education—has reaffirmed Santa Monica College’s accreditation for the remainder of a seven-year cycle, the best possible outcome. Photo Credit: Randy Bellous.

Santa Monica College’s main campus. SMC’s accreditation was reaffirmed for a full seven-year cycle by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Photo Credit: Amy Williams.

June 20, 2018

SANTA MONICA, CA—The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC)—an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education and the U.S. Department of Education—has reaffirmed Santa Monica College’s accreditation. The ACCJC took the action at its meeting June 6-8, 2018, the culmination of an evaluation process that lasted roughly two years after SMC went through a rigorous self-evaluation.

“At Santa Monica College, we take great pride in this accomplishment,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “This news is an affirmation of the college’s dedication to high standards of achievement. This accreditation ranking bestows the best possible outcome—for a full seven-year cycle, the maximum allowed. So when students choose SMC, they know they’re making a great choice!”

Dr. Jeffery noted that a team including SMC Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Georgia Lorenz; Dean of Academic Affairs Erica LeBlanc; and Associate Dean of Health Sciences Eve Adler, among others, led the comprehensive college-wide self-evaluation process. The ACCJC requires that member institutions participate in an evaluation every seven years and subsequently, be reviewed by teams of peer evaluators.

Barry Snell, Chair of the SMC Board of Trustees, said: “On behalf of the SMC Board, I extend gratitude and congratulations to every Santa Monica College employee whose tireless work is reflected not just in the self-evaluation report and this positive outcome, but, indeed, in SMC’s overall reputation as a leader among the nation’s community colleges.”

Snell added that the accreditation process was “a remarkable effort which called for in-depth analysis and institutional soul-searching, proving how a large and complex institution can come together to work for a common goal: ensuring that students succeed.”

Following the submission of the self-evaluation report in August 2016, the ACCJC sent a team of peer evaluators—who are selected for their expertise—for a “site visit” in October 2016. The commission notified SMC in February 2017 that accreditation was being “reaffirmed for 18 months on the basis of a comprehensive evaluation”, which meant that SMC was deemed to be in substantial compliance. The college received a long list of commendations—eight in total—which cited praise for the use of online education plans, creative efforts in student transportation, increasing safety on campus, among other things. Four recommendations were presented related to institutional policies, practices, and outcomes. College employees set about addressing the recommendations made, and a follow-up visit took place in April 2018.

The final decision of reaffirmation for the rest of the “accreditation cycle”—the next comprehensive review will take place in fall 2023—was received via a letter from the ACCJC dated June 13, which noted that Santa Monica College had met all of the recommendations and expressed “appreciation for the diligent work and thoughtful reflection that Santa Monica College undertook…”

To learn more about the ACCJC and the process of accreditation for two-year colleges, visit the ACCJC website. Also: Information and documents related to Santa Monica College’s accreditation.

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About Santa Monica College

Founded in 1929, Santa Monica College is the leader among California’s 114 community colleges in transfers to the University of California, USC, and Loyola Marymount University. SMC also offers over 110 career-focused degrees and certificates—in fields such as Early Childhood Education, Game Design, Animation, Film Production, Accounting, and many more—which prepare students for direct entry into the job market or for transfer. SMC provides news and cultural enrichment through its radio station KCRW (89.9 FM) and the Broad Stage at the SMC Performing Arts Center, as well as lifelong learning opportunities through distinctive programs such as its Emeritus Program for older adults.