Putting Learning First
It is with great pleasure that I share with you that on March 19, 2012, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Institutional Actions Council voted and approved continued accreditation of Estrella Mountain Community College.
The accreditation approval also included two critical expansion initiatives for the College, including its approval for EMCC’s Buckeye Educational Center to serve as an additional location, plus, the approval to expand our distance education up to 100 percent of degree programs.
This has been an amazing process, and I know that we are all very proud of the outcome. Estrella Mountain is much more than just a college campus; we are a family. A family committed to the value of education and the success of our students, which is demonstrated through the level of engagement by faculty, staff, and even our community.
The 2011-2012 academic year marked a significant milestone for Estrella Mountain as it brought closure to its third accreditation visit with the HLC. During our first two visits, the College focused on efforts toward becoming a comprehensive community college by highlighting access to a variety of degrees, programs and services to our surrounding communities. During the fall 2011 accreditation visit, the College demonstrated to the HLC that Estrella Mountain was not only on the path to becoming more comprehensive, but that we do it as a learning-centered organization that deeply values teaching, learning and caring.
What does this mean for our employees? We ask that they continue to play a role in our commitment to the continual assessment of our college programs, policies and practices. As a part of these efforts, we asked them to remember to always put learning first. When faced with a decision in their daily work, one must always ask one’s self:
- How does this improve learning?
- How do I know?
These two simple Learning College questions force us all to rethink our daily activities, and which also provided an important framework for our self-study process, in which we strived to prove that we meet our college mission. To answer these questions with certainty, together we entered into a period of organizational self-reflection and asked each employee to do three things:
- Think deeply about what you do each and every day.
- Ask questions about what you are doing, and how you contribute to learning.
- Look for examples that prove how the College is fulfilling its mission.
Once again, thank you for all of the work that you did to help us achieve our re-accreditation. As we celebrate our 20th Anniversary as a college, we can continue to take pride in the opportunities that we provide for students. Moving forward, let us continue to focus on student completion and success so that all EMCC students can achieve their dreams and transform their lives.