On Friday, January 28th, the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) received word from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), a division of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), that the ACCJC has affirmed the accreditation of ASCC for the next seven years. “The affirmation of accreditation confirms that ASCC has no Compliance Requirements,” said College President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato. “This speaks highly of the ongoing efforts and diligent work put into the past eight years by all stakeholders. It is a huge achievement for an institution of higher learning to have no requirements for compliance.”
This good news for ASCC follows from a virtual site visit to the College made by an ACCJC Peer Review Team in late September of last year. During the site visit, the ACCJC team conducted online interviews with stakeholders including ASCC administrators, faculty, staff, and students. In addition to pre-arranged interview sessions with committees and individuals, the virtual process included several open forms where stakeholders could ask questions or share concerns directly with the ACCJC peer reviewers. Since the site visit, the ACCJC has reviewed the visiting team’s findings, along with the College’s Institutional Self-Evaluation Report and other evidentiary materials, and during its meeting in mid-January, the Commission reached its decision to reaffirm ASCC’s accreditation.
In addition to the reaffirmation, the Commission also sent a very strong commendation. In the context of accreditation, a commendation signifies institutional practices that the Commission believes exceed standards. As stated in the ACCJC’s letter to President Dr. Pato, “The Commission commends the College of its commitment to its Mission and the alignment with institutional core values of respect for the tradition and culture by embracing and sustaining their heritage, traditions, language, and through intentional integration of cultural practices into the curriculum and services that models and reinforces time-honored rituals.”
As part of the accreditation cycle, preparations for a reaffirmation begin years before the ACCJC conducts its actual review. Activities include a Midterm Report submitted to the Commission three years prior to a review, as well as the Institutional Self-Evaluation Report due in the months before the review takes place. At ASCC, these preparations are a collaborative effort coordinated by the Accreditation Liaison Officers, Mr. Sonny Leomiti, Vice President of Administration and Finance, and Mrs. Letupu Moananu, Vice President of Academic, Community and Student Affairs. The Accreditation Liaison Officers appoint committees and individuals at ASCC to address various aspects of the reports for the ACCJC, which results in a self-evaluation process informed by a variety of perspectives.
College President Dr. Pato commended everyone involved for a successful outcome to the accreditation review. In a memo to all the College’s stakeholders, the President wrote, “I want to thank all of ASCC for the commitment, collaboration, and ongoing work that has gone into the reaffirmation of accreditation. Congratulations on the achievement of this huge milestone! Let us continue to provide our students and territory with the highest quality programs and services that are evident in this accreditation report.”