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FRC takes accreditation seriously

Accreditation was the focus of the Nov. 21 meeting of Feather River College’s board of directors. FRC is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Richard Winn, ACCJC president, spoke at a lunchtime session on the importance of accreditation and on expectations of the board as a part of that process. Next week’s newspaper will discuss Winn’s talk and current legal issues regarding board member conduct that was brought up during this meeting.

Carlie McCarthy and Katie Schmid reported on their recent participation in an ACCJC site visit to Carrington College with college president, Dr. Kevin Trutna. Trutna has led numerous ACCJC site teams over the years, which helps him steer FRC in a direction that conforms with accreditation standards.

“Our goal is to create a culture of compliance at FRC, and it helps to have as many people engaged in the accreditation process as possible,” said Trutna.

According to the FRC website, “Accreditation is a voluntary system of self-regulation,” which ensures that the college meets standards of educational quality and institutional effectiveness.”

Meeting these standards means students know they have a degree of value when they apply to four-year colleges or when they enter the job market. In addition, it allows the college to qualify for federal financial aid.

McCarthy, who is dean of Student Services at FRC, reported that there was a lot of collaboration between members of the accreditation team and with the college staff.

“Faculty and administrators came together from all over California to help assess the quality of another institution,” she said. “I was able to bring back many ideas that will help FRC.”

She added that she’d like to do a site visit at a California community college before FRC has its next accreditation visit. McCarthy also noted that “Kevin Trutna does a really good job leading an accreditation team.”

Schmid, chief accountant at FRC, said she worked with the director of accounting from Rio Hondo College, focusing on Carrington College’s financials. Carrington College is a for-profit institution and, because of that, she said there were some dissimilarities from FRC. They “had the budget nailed down by the minute,” she said. The experience “helped me see how everything we do comes together to inform our accreditation needs. I learned so much,” added Schmid.

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