Learn About the Accreditation Standards

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything begins and ends with one thing: Our Mission:

Pasadena City College is an equity-minded learning community dedicated to enriching students’ academic, personal, and professional lives through an array of degree and certificate programs, campus engagement, and customized student support.

From the Mission, we next look at the College’s primary planning goals, featured in the Educational Master Plan (EMP).  The goals of the College derive from the Chancellor’s Office Vision for Success: 

  1. Increase the number of students who earn an Associate Degree, Associate Degree for Transfer, or any credit or noncredit approved award.
  2. Increase the number of students who transfer to a four-year institution.
  3. Decrease the number of units accumulated by students who earn an Associate Degree or an Associate Degree for Transfer.
  4. Increase the median earnings, or the number of students who earn the regional living wage, after exiting the college.
  5. Close equity and achievement gaps in the above four goals. 

The College has developed strategies for fulfilling the EMP and organized them by Institutional Priorities that have been derived from the Mission: 

  1. Exceptional Academic Programs and Delivery
  2. Equity-Minded Learning Community
  3. Campus Engagement and Environment
  4. Customized Student Support

Accreditation is a system based on peer-reviewed accountability to ensure that we as a college are fulfilling our mission. Peer review is the most effective way to evaluate a complex environment such as ours. Peer review means that members of other colleges like our own will evaluate how well we are fulfilling our mission based on evidence we have submitted in our Institutional Self-Evaluation Report (ISER)

The ISER is a report of how PCC is meeting the accreditation standards, based on the evidence we have provided, thus demonstrating our progress in fulfilling our Mission and strategic planning goals. The ISER is honest and is based on collected evidence. The ISER addresses the Standards… and ONLY the Standards. It is also focused and CONCISE. The ISER is produced through a collaborative effort involving all constituent groups on campus, including students, faculty, classified staff, administrators, and Board of Trustees members. The Accreditation Standing Committee of the College Council, chaired by the Accreditation Liaison Office (Crystal Kollross) and Faculty Accreditation Co-Chair (Thea Alvarado), spearhead the collection of evidence and composition of the ISER.

Accreditation is a self-evaluation process conducted cyclically by community colleges (peers) to assure institutional quality. It is also an opportunity to identify areas of improvement to better serve our students. 

All California Community Colleges1 are accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). The ACCJC and WASC have established quality standards that all colleges seeking accreditation must demonstrate through use of evidence.

1The ACCJC also accredits institutions in Hawaii, the Territories of Guam and American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, the Republic of Palau, the Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Accreditation assures the public that PCC has established standards of quality and provides courses, certificates, and degrees that the community and other colleges can trust. Accreditation also maintains our eligibility to offer Federal Financial Aid (Title IV) to our students, as well as eligibility to apply for and receive Federal Grants (Title III, Title V, NIH, NSF).

Yes. PCC conducts what is called a Comprehensive Review every seven years. This includes a process of the College as a whole writing the ISER, as well as a site visit from an external peer review team chosen by ACCJC. The site visit for PCC is in March of 2021. The peer review team will prepare an evaluation report that will be shared with the College and provided to ACCJC, our accrediting body, to review and determine our accreditation status. In the fourth year of the cycle, PCC will prepare a Midterm Report. The Midterm Report addresses any recommendations to the College that were made by the peer review team at the end of the site visit as well as our Actionable Improvement Plans (AIPs) that were identified in the ISER. There are also required annual fiscal and institutional reports as well as possible follow-up reports, which may be requested by ACCJC.

All site teams consist of six to eight members, led by a team chair. Our peer review team chair is Dr. Ed Bush, the President of Cosumnes River College, part of the Los Rios Community College District in Sacramento, California.  The team chair will make a one-day visit to campus prior to the full team visit. The site team is made up of faculty and administrators from other ACCJC-accredited institutions (peers). All team members have received our ISER and review it prior to the visit. The team also participates in a full day training with ACCJC on comprehensive site visits prior to visiting our college.  Team members will ask to interview key faculty, staff, and administrators during their visit. They will also attend campus meetings, such as Academic Senate, Shared Governance committee meetings, and the Board of Trustees. The Team will host two open forums to give every PCC constituent the opportunity to have direct access to the team and participate in the process. Before leaving, the team will provide an overall summary of their visit to the campus community.

Yes! This is the timeline that we are following:

  • Fall 2018: Complete Standards Study, Establish Writing Groups and Standards Co-chairs
  • Late Fall 2018: Beginner ISER Training
  • Spring 2019: Gather Evidence
  • Late Spring 2019: Begin Writing
  • Summer 2019: QFE Topics Discussion
  • Fall 2019: Writing Groups Complete Writing, QFE Completed
  • Winter 2020: FAC Edits 1st draft ISER
  • Spring 2020: ASC Approves Draft for Online Review
  • Late Spring 2020: ISER Draft Online Review
  • Summer 2020: FAC Final Edits
  • September 2020: ASC Approves Draft for Shared Governance Approval Process
  • Fall 2020: ISER Shared Governance Approval
  • December 2020: ISER approved by BoT
  • December 20, 2020: ISER Submitted to ACCJC
  • March 2021: ACCJC Site Visit

The first, and most important, thing to do is to familiarize yourself with the ISER. It is available via PCC's website at: https://pasadena.edu/accreditation/index.php

Spend some time reviewing this guide and get to know the various talking points it provides, especially with regard to our Mission, Educational Master Plan, college goals, integrated planning, and how we have demonstrated meeting the Accreditation Standards. 

Finally, be yourself, be honest, and celebrate PCC and all the fantastic work we do for our students!