ASCC Responds to WASC-ACCJC Issues Show Cause Order
February 27, 2015
By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer
At assemblies for faculty and staff this past Thursday, and for students this past Friday, American Samoa Community College (ASCC) Acting President Dr. Rosevonne Pato explained that the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC ACCJC) has issued an order for ASCC to Show Cause. An order to Show Cause is assigned to an institution when the Commission finds the institution to be in substantial noncompliance with ACCJC Eligibility Requirements, Accreditation Standards, or Commission Policies.
As a result of this action by WASC ACCJC, ASCC is required to submit a Show Cause Report by October 15, 2015. The report will be followed by a visit by a WASC ACCJC external evaluation team. The Commission requires ASCC to Show Cause why its accreditation should not be withdrawn by demonstrating that it has corrected deficiencies noted by the Commission and is in compliance with the Eligibility Requirements, Accreditation Standards, and Commission policies. ASCC continues to be accredited during the period of Show Cause and until the Commission acts to either withdraw accreditation or when issues that gave to Show Cause are fully resolved and the institution is removed from sanction.
Dr. Pato explained that while the ASCC President Dr. Seth Galea’i and Accreditation Liaison Officer Dr. Kathleen Kolhoff have known about the Show Cause order since earlier this month, the public announcement of the College’s accreditation status required the following of internal protocol. First, a meeting was held with the Board of Higher Education to inform them of the sanction and receive their advice. Next, the ASCC Deans and Directors were informed, then the general faculty and staff, and finally the student body. Since the sanction has been posted on the WASC-ACCJC website since earlier this month, the local media learned of and reported on the WASC-ACCJC action before ASCC had completed its internal disclosure process. “We know the local media are just doing their job,” said Dr. Pato, “but their early reporting on the sanction has created questions in the public’s mind before we could clarify what exactly the sanction means for us.”
During her meeting with the ASCC student body this past Friday, Dr. Pato took the opportunity to dispel a number of rumors that have surfaced since the story of the WASC-ACCJC sanction reached the public. Between now and the next meeting of the ACCJC governing board in January 2016, she explained, ASCC remains a US-accredited institution, with no change in the status of students’ financial aid or the transferability of credits to other US universities or colleges. At its January meeting, WASC-ACCJC will determine its next step of either removing ASCC from the current sanction or else discontinuing its accreditation, but until then the sanction itself does not mean that ASCC is no longer accredited.
Dr. Pato also shared with the ASCC students one aspect of the last WASC-ACCJC review of ASCC which provided some cause for optimism even amid the foreboding news. A WASC-ACCJC report contains recommendations on areas in which an institution is required to make improvements, as well as commendations on areas in which the reviewing team feels the institution has achieved excellence. Along with the ten recommendations in the areas of staffing, governance and accountability which the College received on its last WASC-ACCJC report, Dr. Pato explained, ASCC actually received three commendations on that same report in the area of student-centeredness. Dr. Pato suggested the students give themselves a round of applause, which alleviated considerably the atmosphere of tension in the Lecture Hall.
As a response to the WASC-ACCJC action, ASCC has formulated a plan of action to address the issues specified in the Show Cause order. All matters pertaining to accreditation will now be overseen by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, led by Director Mr. Sonny Leomiti. All efforts will be made to address the WASC ACCJC recommendations. If members of the public have questions or concerns regarding the accreditation status of ASCC, they may contact ASCC Acting President Dr. Rosevonne Pato.
For more information on the WASC ACCJC Show Cause Order, please visit our Accreditation page.
FAASILASILAGA FAALAUAITELE MO LE KOLISI TUUFAATASI O AMERIKA SAMOA.
- Mo le silafia e le mamalu o le aufaigaluega aemaise tagata lautele;
- O loo tumau pea le avea o le Kolisi Tuufaatasi o Amerika Samoa ma Kolisi e taualoa i tulaga tauaoaoga a le Iunaite Setete. (US Accredited Institution)
- O le faaiuga a le Komisi mo Aoga (Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges) na faia i le aso 7 Ianuari 2015, o le tuuina lea o le Kolisi Tuufaatasi o Amerika Samoa i le tulaga o le Faaali Mafuaaga poo le Show CAUSE.
- E tatau i le Kolisi Tuufaatasi o Amerika Samoa ona tuuina atu lana ripoti i le Aso 15 Oketopa 2015, e tali fuaitau ai i lenei tulaga.