By HARRIET RAMOS
Dallas College received a clean report with no recommendations from its accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, after their virtual visit Feb. 8-10.
SACSCOC previously accredited each campus separately under the Dallas County Community College District model. This visit was to verify that Dallas College is in compliance with accreditation standards now that they are one entity.
Danielle Valle, the SACSCOC liaison for Dallas College, said no recommendations on the report means the accrediting agency found Dallas College in compliance with all of their accreditation standards.
“It’s not impossible, but it’s not common,” Valle said. “It’s an excellent outcome, and we’re really proud that that’s where we landed.”
Valle said if there had been recommendations, Dallas College would have had until June to work on those things, and then the SACSCOC report would have been sent to their board of directors for approval in December. The fact that there were no recommendations means the cycle of approval on Dallas College’s consolidation will close in June instead of December.
Typically, a team from SACSCOC would have toured all Dallas College campuses in person, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the entire visit took place remotely over Webex.
“Normally all of [the Dallas College employees] would have been on campus,” Chancellor Joe May said. “There would have been certainly a lot of hoopla about that, and having a virtual visit was somewhat different for all of us.”
Valle said she had to send representatives from SACSCOC videos of campus resources to review, minutes from board meetings and finance and facilities reports.
Valle said the fact that the consolidation process took place during a pandemic could have made it more challenging, but they found ways to work around the difficulties.
“And that’s one of the things I’ve been really proud of us for from the beginning,” Valle said. “Not kind of throwing our hands up and going ‘Well, it’s hard, so we’re not going to do it.’ Instead, we’ve said ‘It’s hard, so we’re going to do our best.’”
The process to consolidate the seven colleges in the Dallas County Community College District into one college began in March 2020. SACSCOC approved the application in June, and DCCCD became Dallas College on July 3.
One of the main motives for making the change to Dallas College was the SACSCOC guideline that in order to graduate students had to take at least 25% of their credits from only one college, according to previous reporting by The Et Cetera. Students who took credits from several of the colleges were not able to graduate with an associate degree. Now that all seven colleges of the former DCCCD are one college, students can take credits from any of the campuses without it affecting their degree plans.
“While there is still much to do, this report confirms that our effort to come together as one institution to solve our student’s problems is working,” May said in an email announcing the results of the SACSCOC visit.