Community college gains accreditation

March 21, 1996|By Anne Haddad | Anne Haddad,SUN STAFF

Confidence in the outcome didn't absolve Carroll Community College from the work involved in gaining full accreditation from the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, President Joseph F. Shields said as he announced the completion of the process.

"There was never any doubt in my mind," Dr. Shields said. "But it was just something we had to live through. Higher education institutions move at glacial speed. [Accreditation] is not something they give you. It's something you have to achieve."

To do so, every member of the faculty and most of the nonteaching staff participated in a thorough examination of the college, from academic courses to data processing of grades or paychecks.

Three teams of educators drawn from other member schools in the East visited the school to evaluate the college.

The accreditation is essential so that students can qualify for financial aid and so that the courses they take can be transferred to other schools across the country. Carroll had been operating for 17 years as a branch of Catonsville Community College and was accredited through that school.

When the college became independent nearly three years ago, Carroll Community applied for accreditation and was approved for conditional accreditation while the full evaluation was conducted.

James P. Bruns, vice president for academic affairs, said the college had to make a few changes in its courses and schedule to qualify for accreditation.

"One of the things they recommended is we should have more full-time faculty in the coming years," he said.

The evaluating team also made minor suggestions about the college's admissions process and testing.

"We had 17 years of history and experience with Catonsville," Dr. Bruns said, which could account for the fact that CCC already operates at the standards required for accreditation.

"That's a relief for us to be done," Dr. Bruns said.

The college must go through reaccreditation the whole thing all over again in five years. If it succeeds, the reaccreditation interval will be extended to 10 years.

Pub Date: 3/21/96

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