Dr. Gari Browning, chairperson of a team representing the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, a division of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, is seen here addressing an Exit Assembley at ASCC at the conclusion of the team's visit this past Friday. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

WASC-ACCJC Team Concludes Show Cause Visit to ASCC

November 9, 2015

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

An eight person team representing the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), a division of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), concluded its Show Cause visit to the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) this past Friday. The visit was to review the College’s progress towards fulfilling the 10 recommendations made by WASC after it placed ASCC on Show Cause sanction this past February.

In the months since being placed on sanction, committees consisting of the ASCC Board of Higher Education, administrators, faculty and staff have worked extensively to address the recommendations issued by WASC/ACCJC. Existing policies and procedures within the scope of the recommendations were reviewed and, where necessary, modified. ASCC gained an added boost of confidence when ACCJC President Dr. Barbara Beno and President of Palau Community College Dr. Patrick Tellei visited in late April on a purely advisory basis. To bring all faculty and administrators up to speed on approaches to Student Learning Outcomes, the College also hosted a very well-received workshop by renowned assessment authority Dr. Mary Allen in August. ASCC Acting President Dr. Rosevonne Makaiwi Pato began the current fall semester with an Accreditation Convocation to update everyone at the College on the progress made towards addressing the sanction, and to set in motion the preparations for the follow-up visit by WASC/ACCJC this month.

The WASC-ACCJC visiting team consisted of its Chairperson Dr. Gari Browning, Superintendent/President of Ohlone College in California; Dr. Mary Okada, President/CEO of Guam Community College; Dr. Steven Reynolds, English Instructor, College of the Siskiyous, California; Dr. Norval Wellsfry, Associate Vice President, ACCJC; Dr. Kimberlee Messina, Interim President, Foothill College, California; Dr. Mary Therese Perez Hattori, Outreach Director-Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Hawai’i; Mr. Brandon Shimokawa, Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services, Kauai Community College, Hawai’i; and Dr. Keith Walters, Associate Professor, School of Education, California Baptist University.

The team spent four days on the ASCC campus, interviewing a wide range of stakeholders including Board members, administrators, department and division heads, faculty, staff and students. Members of the ASCC Student Government Association served as campus guides for the team members, who utilized facilities at the Office of Institutional Effectiveness as their base of operations and met with individuals or groups at various locations around the campus.

For their final day on the ASCC campus, the ACCJC team members joined College personnel and students at an Exit Assembly held in the Lecture Hall, which featured cultural entertainment by the Student Association for Fa’asamoa. Team Chairperson Dr. Browning addressed the full-to-capacity room to thank everyone at ASCC for their hospitality. “We felt very comfortable and welcome on your campus,” she said, “and everyone provided any assistance we asked for as we proceeded with our work.”

Following the departure of the visiting team, Acting President Dr. Pato thanked all of the ASCC stakeholders for their efforts in making the visit a success. The final determination on the College’s sanction status will not be made until the WASC/ACCJC executive council meets this coming January to review the report that will be submitted by the visiting team to ASCC. Dr. Pato did share that during consultation with Dr. Browning, the latter expressed satisfaction that, at least in the visiting team’s estimation, “ASCC has shown tremendous growth,” relayed Dr. Pato, “and she said her only advice was that we keep growing.” This last bit of information was met with highly enthusiastic applause from the assembled ASCC stakeholders.

ASCC continues to be accredited until the Commission acts to either withdraw accreditation, or concludes that the WASC-ACCJC issues and concerns which prompted them to initiate Show Cause have been fully resolved and the College is removed from sanction. The Commission is scheduled to convene in January 2016 and rulings regarding ASCC’s Show Cause Sanction status will be publicized in February 2016.