February 5, 2016

Dear Southwestern College Community,

On Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) released its decision for Southwestern College’s application for reaffirmation of accreditation.

The Commission considered the External Evaluation Team’s report, but also considered our written response to the team’s report and my appearance before the Commission before acting to issue a warning and a follow-up report and visit in 18 months.

A warning is the first level of corrective action and the least severe of the ACCJC’s three sanctions. It is issued when an institution has not met or partially met standards. Our accredited status continues during this 18-month period.

I do not believe this ruling accurately reflects the hard work and significant progress all of our faculty, students, staff and administrators have made since our last accreditation visit. While I am disappointed, I am confident we will address each of the recommendations with the same level of professionalism and excellence we have for the past six years. In fact, we have already effectively addressed several of the recommendations.

I want to express my sincerest gratitude to all the faculty, staff and administrators who prepared our Self Evaluation Report. We are a much stronger institution than six years ago, and I know we have the dedicated personnel to accomplish the purpose of the visit—continuous improvement.


Melinda Nish, Ed.D.

In June, 2016, Southwestern College – in consultation with staff at the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges – incorporated the Commission's revisions into the Team Report.


Documents posted during the 2015-2022 Accreditation Cycle:

The accreditation process assists colleges in improving institutional effectiveness to ensure colleges offer high quality educational programs and services. During the 2015-2022 Accreditation Cycle, Southwestern College continues its focus on providing the community with high quality educational programs and services. Areas of particular focus include:
  • Supporting Student Learning Outcome (SLO) assessment and the use of SLO results to make improvements
  • Bolstering Distance Education (DE) offerings and services
  • Maintaining an environment that promotes inclusivity, civility, and diversity

More Accreditation Info

Accreditation FAQSouthwestern College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). Accredited colleges are recognized by the United States Department of Education (DOE) as providing educational programs, services, and training that meet acceptable levels of quality.

Southwestern  College has maintained its accredited status since it opened in 1961.

You can learn more about accreditation on the ACCJC website, www.accjc.org, and the DOE website, www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/index.html.

 2015-2022 Accreditation Cycle
 2009-2015 Accreditation Cycle
 Accreditation Archive Reports
 2015 SER Cover

2009 Self Study Cover

2003 Self Study Cover 
For questions or comments related to accreditation at Southwestern College, please contact Linda L. Gilstrap, Accreditation Liaison Officer, (619) 216-6614.
Students and members of the public who desire to file a formal complaint to the ACCJC about Southwestern College can view complaint requirements and processes at the following website, http://www.accjc.org/complaint-process.

The ACCJC is located at 10 Commercial Blvd, Ste 204, Novato, CA 94949, and can be contacted by phone at (415) 506-0234.

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Last updated: 9/7/2016 11:34:52 AM