The Office of Planning, Research and Accreditation (OPRA) facilitates college-wide continuous improvement, innovation, data driven decision making, and accountability through the integration of strategic planning and institutional research. Together, these functions play a central role in the decision-making needs of the college, promote institutional effectiveness, and sustain vitality in a rapidly changing environment.

As a department under the Office of the President, OPRA is responsible for leadership, administration and advocacy in the functions of strategic planning, institutional research and accreditation.

OPRA's planning responsibilities include leading the development of the College's Strategic Plan, overseeing its implementation, monitoring progress toward achieving goals and objectives, evaluating the planning process, and assessing the achievement of plan outcomes.

OPRA's research responsibilities include working closely with college constituencies, instructional units, and administrative units, to develop and implement a research agenda that addresses college strategic planning goals, State initiatives and accreditation requirements. As well, the department supports data analysis in the areas of outcomes assessment, program operations, and program impact. OPRA also supports college data collection and reporting needs as these activities relate to required state and federal accountability initiatives and compliance with state and federal laws and regulations.

OPRA's accreditation responsibilities include providing support for the self-study that is conducted every six years and the mid-term report every three years. Additionally, OPRA monitors the implementation of planning agendas and recommendations, and plays a lead role in developing the ACCJC annual report.

We look forward to assisting you!

Saddleback College is affiliated with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the branch of Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) which accredits community and junior colleges. All colleges and universities must reaffirm their accreditation every six years. 

"The accreditation process requires the college to do a self study. This self study is a three-part process of accrediting an institution. This process includes an institutional self appraisal, an on-site visit by a team of peers, and a review and a decision on the accredited status of the college by the Commission."

Please visit our Accreditation page for more information.

OPRA plays a very strong supporting role in accreditation.  From staying abreast of standards, to reading details about proper document and data preparation, the OPRA team is dedicated to supporting the college's success with accreditation.  The director of OPRA supports the college's ALO.  OPRA is responsible for providing the ACCJC annual report.  Examples of this work are on the right hand navigation panel under "Accreditation" within this section we also have our ACCJC reports.

The college is also committed to addressing institutional effectiveness through engaging in dialogue and setting academic standards.

Dialogue about Institution-Set Standards for Job Placement Rates (only programs with 10 or more completers for the applicable year) and Programs Requiring Licensure Pass Rates:

Advanced Technology and Applied Sciences Division

Economic Workforce Development and Business Science Division

Fine Arts and Media Technology Division

Health Science and Human Services Division

Social and Behavioral Sciences Division

The college creates ISS for successful course completion, volume of degrees, certificates and transfers. In addition, the college also creates and discusses licensure passage rates for CTE programs requiring licensure. In addition, for CTE programs, the college participates in dialogue and discussion of job placement rates.

Dialogue about College-wide Successful Course Completion Rate ISS:

Finally, the college engages in the setting and dialogue of institution-set standard for course success rates within each department.


Saddleback College is committed to protecting the welfare, rights, and privacy of all persons who participate as subjects in research projects conducted under its auspices, and to ensuring that the subjects of such research are fully aware of their rights and of the protections available to them.

The body charged with this task is the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects (IRB) which is guided in its work by the Federal Regulations on human subjects research adopted by seventeen federal agencies and known as the Common Rule.

Steps to IRB Approval

Step 1: Submit a Saddleback IRB Application. Review this application carefully to ensure that all sections are complete and that all required attachments are included (NOTE: you will need to provide a bio-sketch to illustrate your qualifications and experience that demonstrate you are fit to conduct the research activities in your proposal).

The IRB chair will notify you about missing information or documents through email only.  The check boxes indicating "Expedited", "Exempt", "Full Board" require you to examine pages 6-12 in Saddleback College's IRB Standard Operating Procedures (extracted here).  Do not worry if you are uncertain, the IRB will make the final call.

Step 2: Register for CITI training.  Note, Saddleback has a hosted site. The IRB administrator will assign you training ONLY after you register first.  Incomplete training will not be considered for review beyond initial screening.  This means your study will not be approved unless you complete the training.

Step 3: Wait for your protocol review #.  Your study proposal will be assigned a protocol number.  Save this for your records.

Step 4: Wait for information about your study and its level of review required from the IRB Chair.  You may need to provide additional information to the IRB at any point in time.  This includes before, during and after your study is: submitted, in process, approved, approved subject to restrictions, tabled, or disapproved.

Utilizing external and internal scans and other planning documents, decisions are made about the strategic directions of the college and the goals and strategies needed to move in those directions. Once a strategic plan is finalized, it will largely inform budgeting and other resource allocation decisions in conjunction with the needs of instructional programs and administrative units on campus as expressed in completed Program and Administrative Unit Reviews. The strategic plan will not predetermine decisions. Instead, it will provide a guide or framework within which decision making will take place.

2020-2025 Strategic Goals

  • Goal 1: Ensure Student Equity In Access And Achievement
    • Objective 1.1: Reduce and eliminate the achievement gap among underrepresented students
    • Objective 1.2: Reduce and eliminate the achievement gap for completion rates in transfer-level math and English
    • Objective 1.3: Reduce and eliminate the achievement gap between online and traditional classroom classes
    • Objective 1.4: Increase equity of access into college
    • Objective 1.5: Reduce and eliminate student Fall to Spring and Fall to Fall retention equity gaps
    • Objective 1.6: Cultivate culturally responsive and inclusive learning and working environment free from explicit/implicit bias
    • Objective 1.7: Cultivate a culturally responsive and inclusive learning and working environment free from institutional bias


  • Goal 2: Transform Lives Through Learning And Achievements
    • Objective 2.1: Increase the number of students annually who earn associate degrees, certificates, or 9 units in a CTE program that prepare them for an in-demand job
    • Objective 2.2: Increase the number of students transferring annually
    • Objective 2.3: Increase completion rates in transfer-level math and English
    • Objective 2.4: Increase course success in online and traditional classroom classes
    • Objective 2.5:Increase spring to spring and fall to fall retention
    • Objective 2.6: Increase the percent of exiting CTE students who report being employed in their field of study
    • Objective 2.7: Reduce average units accumulated by students who complete degrees
    • Objective 2.8: Implement educational programs and student services to Indicator non-traditional students
    • Objective 2.9: Increase and support the number of outside classroom learning opportunities available for students in each division (and participation in those opportunities)
    • Objective 2.10: Create and support inter-disciplinary learning opportunities both within and across the colleges
    • Objective 2.11: Increase the number of professional development opportunities for faculty and staff


  • Goal 3: Engage With The Community Through Athletic and Cultural Events, Enrichment Programs, And In Creating Economic Prosperity For All
    • Objective 3.1: Strengthen and expand industry engagement to support student learning, program development, and regional economic development
    • Objective 3.2: Increase the number of students who reporting obtaining a job closely related to their field of study that strongly support the regional economy
    • Objective 3.3: Increase participation in extended learning (community and adult education programs, and emeritus institutes)
    • Objective 3.4: Increase the number of students who earn college credits while still in high school
    • Objective 3.5: Increase partnerships with higher education institutions
    • Objective 3.6: Increase community participation in civic, athletic, and cultural events


  • Goal 4: Optimize Our Institutional Design And Structure With A Student-Centered Focus
    • Objective 4.1: Identify and streamline all institutional policies, practices, and processes pertaining to facilities and technology
    • Objective 4.2:Develop an organizational culture of collaboration across the district
    • Objective 4.3: Create a sustainable and robust participatory governance evaluation process
    • Objective 4.4: Provide enhanced student support with a student-centered design
    • Objective 4.5: Develop and build out the ATEP vision for the colleges including public-private partnerships

Strategic Planning Updates: Public Sharing

2016 Documents

2017 Documents

Strategic Planning Documents

Strategic Planning

Education and Facility Master Planning

  • 2011-2031 SOCCCD Education and Facilities Master Plan
  • 2011-2031 Saddleback College Education and Facilities Plan
  • 2006 Saddleback College Educational Resource Plan
  • 2006 Saddleback College Campus Master Plan

Equity Planning

Technology Plan

Economic & Workforce Development Plan

Student Success Coordinating Plan

Basic Skills Plan

College Integrated Plan (Draft)


Internal Scan Documents

External Scan Documents



Saddleback College’s Governance and Organization Manual documents the college’s decision making processes and administrative structure with emphases on the strategic planning process, roles of the college and South Orange County Community College District, participatory governance and committee structure, and college administrative functions in fulfilling the college’s mission.


View the Administrative and Governance Page