The American Samoa Community College (ASCC) last week hosted a special workshop and training on accreditation, given by Dr. Stephanie Droker, one of three Vice Presidents of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), a division of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Dr. Droker’s visit to ASCC marks the first occasion ever where an ACCJC-WASC official has given a workshop/training at the College.
“In order to facilitate open communication between the Commission and the institutions they accredit, the ACCJC has held previous workshops of this kind,” explained ASCC President Dr. Rosevonne Pato. “However, these typically take place on the mainland, or only as close to us as Hawaii, so ASCC would only be able to send a limited number of staff to attend. We’re especially grateful that Dr. Droker traveled to American Samoa because it enabled the College’s entire Accreditation Steering Committee to participate.”
Prior to opening the workshop, Dr. Droker held meetings with Dr. Pato and the ASCC Vice Presidents, as well as the Board of Higher Education, and also took a tour of the campus. The workshop commenced on Wednesday, January 16th, with the 18 members of the ASCC Accreditation Steering Committee, and for the next two days Dr. Droker shared her insights on accreditation purpose, eligibility requirements and standards. When the workshop had concluded, Dr. Droker had time for further meetings with the College’s Core Curriculum Committee, Faculty Senate, and President’s Advisory Council.
“Dr. Droker expressed an enthusiasm for meeting everyone at the College involved in the accreditation process,” said ASCC President Dr. Pato. “She also enjoyed her exchanges with our students as we toured the campus. As a first-time visitor to American Samoa, she took a genuine interest in our community and our culture. As she expressed it, the ACCJC would like to be seen as not just a review body for the institutions it oversees, but also as a collaborator in the process of ongoing improvement of teaching and learning.”
The ASCC Accreditation Steering Committee will be responsible for creating an Institution Self-Evaluation Report (ISER) that the ACCJC will review before making its next scheduled accreditation review of ASCC in 2021, which will include a site visit. Committee membership consists of the College’s Accreditation Liaison Officers and additional administrators, who will in turn lead subcommittees made up of ASCC faculty and staff that will focus on particular standards in the report. “I really appreciate the informative and inter-active approach Dr. Droker took to helping us interpret the language of the ACCJC standards,” said one of the workshop participants. “She emphasized some common challenges when writing an ISER, such as whether a standard focuses on a policy, a process or a practice. Knowing how to make these kinds of distinctions will help us address the standards in a way that’s on-point.”
Dr. Droker joined the ACCJC in August 2016, and was previously the Vice President of Educational Services and Accreditation Liaison Officer at West Hills College Coalinga from 2012-2016. Previous to her administrative experience, Dr. Droker served as Faculty of Political Science and Interdisciplinary Studies at West Hills College Lemoore. She has an extensive background in student learning and assessment, research design and implementation, and using data to develop programmatic improvements. In her role as one of the ACCJC Vice Presidents, Dr. Droker supports the Commission’s Policy and Substantive Change Committees, and also facilitates the team staffing and complaint processes.
For more information on the ACCJC, its philosophies and its activities, visit their website at: https://accjc.org.