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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Chris Bender 619.482.6564
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Southwestern College Receives Reaffirmation of Accreditation

Accrediting Commission Removes College District from Probation, Cites "Many Recent Improvements" Southwestern College 50th anniversary logo

CHULA VISTA, CA Southwestern College today announced the reaffirmation of its accreditation status by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), meaning the College District was taken off probation and elevated to full accreditation status, bypassing a level of sanction. In its letter and report, the ACCJC described how the College District has made "many recent improvements to institutional practices to resolve accreditation deficiencies." Southwestern College has been an accredited institution of higher learning since 1964.

"This is a huge victory for our students, institution and community. We've been working tirelessly to resolve the ACCJC's concerns while safeguarding the high-quality education Southwestern College provides. Our hard work paid off," Interim Superintendent/President Denise Whittaker said. "My deepest appreciation and gratitude to the students, faculty, staff, administrators and Governing Board for the months they devoted to reaffirming our accreditation. Our job is now to demonstrate sustainability and we cannot let up for a minute."

The Western Association of School and Colleges (WASC) placed the College on probation in February 2010. Following the decision, the College District began taking action to resolve WASC's concerns, including:

  • Forming an Accreditation Oversight Committee that divides into ten work groups, each one focusing on an area for improvement.
  • Holding special Governing Board meetings on Saturday, February 5, 2011 and Wednesday, February 16, to do in-depth work on accreditation.
  • Hosting an Accreditation Summit on February 10, 2011, where College District leadership, faculty, staff, students and administration planned work to resolve the outstanding issues.
  • Governing Board action to enact policies addressing our accreditation-related issues.

Some of the College District's work, such as its report on Distance Education, was accepted early by WASC, evidence the institution was making steady improvements. This progress was catalogued in the College District's follow-up report from March 2011. Southwestern College is required to submit a regular Midterm in October 2012; however, no additional follow-up report or visit is required for 2011.

Even while on probation, students continued to:

  • take classes for credit;
  • complete vocational programs;
  • transfer their credits to another college;
  • earn degrees and certificates, and;
  • get financial aid and other student services.

Summer session is currently running and fall classes begin on Monday, August 15, 2011.

About Southwestern College

Accredited since 1964, Southwestern College is the only public institution of higher education in southern San Diego County, serving approximately 400,000 residents of communities including Bonita, Chula Vista, Imperial Beach, National City, Nestor, Otay Mesa, Palm City, San Ysidro, Sunnyside and Coronado. The College District offers more than 312 associate degree and certificate options. For more information, visit www.swccd.edu.

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