COCC’s Accreditation Reaffirmed for Maximum Term Possible


The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) has reaffirmed Central Oregon Community College’s (COCC’s) accreditation for a full term of seven years, the maximum period possible.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the NWCCU conducted virtual site visits last spring. COCC’s virtual visit was scheduled in April, when the College was just weeks into closing its campuses for Spring term because of the emerging international health crisis. However, the pivot to a virtual visit did not negatively impact the College’s accreditation. In fact, the evaluation team and NWCCU Board of Commissioners specifically commended COCC for strengths including:

  • The board, faculty, staff and administrators creating an organizational climate that fosters optimism, collegiality, transparency and inclusiveness.
  • Strategic use of technology to enhance communications, transparency, institutional effectiveness and student success.
  • The students, faculty, staff and administrators for their high level of engagement and graciousness during a pandemic.

The NWCCU also made four recommendations for improvement. COCC will address and report on these findings to the NWCCU at regular junctures prior to the College’s next comprehensive visit in seven years. These recommendations include the following:

  • Set and articulate meaningful objectives and indicators of [COCC’s] Community Enrichment goal to define mission fulfillment, and to improve its effectiveness in the context of and in comparison with regional and national peer institutions (2020 Standard 1.B.2).
  • Refine its current practices to create an effective system of evaluation that systematically (integrated across all levels of course, program and general education) assesses student learning outcomes to ensure currency and improvement of teaching, learning and student success (2020 Standard 1.B.1, 1.C.5, 1.C.6, 1.C.7).
  • Regularly and systematically evaluate administrators based on clearly communicated criteria (2020 Standard 2.F.4).
  • Publicize the institution’s loan default rate on its website (2020 Standard 2.G.5) [now addressed as of this press release date].

COCC’s president, Dr. Laurie Chesley, commended the college and its employees for earning the maximum term for reaffirmed accreditation, saying, “Our virtual site visit came during an unprecedented time last April, but our entire College community rallied and successfully showed our evaluators the great work we do here. I could not be more proud of all of our faculty and staff!”

For more information, contact COCC’s Director of Communications, Jennifer Kovitz, at


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