State accreditation team doesn’t cut it

Written by Yvette Alvarez

The Community College Board of Governors passed a resolution on Nov. 16 in order to remove the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of over 100 schools across the state.

In August, Brice Harris, the Chancellor of California Community Colleges, released the Accreditation Task Force Report which stated that ACCJC “no longer meets the current and anticipated needs of the California Community Colleges.”

According to this report, the organization has “consistently failed to meet expectations” and has “led to few significant improvements” in detailing their reports of community colleges’ performance.

The report also states that the Chancellor’s office should investigate all the possible outlets in order to establish a new accreditation process.

The first of the two recommendations is that the Board of Governors replace the accreditation team with another agency, such as Western Association of Schools and Colleges. 

The second recommendation is that the Board of Governors seek out other regional accreditors that could serve the California Community Colleges.

Although no decision has been made yet, the Community College League of California, met Nov. 19 to Nov. 21 in San Francisco, and were surveyed on their opinions as to what they recommend be done about the accreditation commission.

About 25 percent were in favor of keeping the commission with minor changes, 50 percent were in favor of keeping them with major improvements, and about 25 percent were in favor of replacing them with an entirely different accrediting agency.

“I think it’s a bad decision,” said Thomas Allen, the faculty accreditation chair of Riverside City College. “It’s going to create a lot of problems to try to change it, it takes an accreditation body 10 years or so to change. I’ll be long gone before anything changes. It’s less disruptive to work with what we have.”

The Chancellor’s Office has until Spring 2016 to bring a recommendation for action in front of the Board of Governors.

Until a new accrediting system is created, the Accreditation Task Force Reports said that community colleges should continue to work “in a cooperative and proactive manner with the ACCJC to ensure the continuity of the accreditation process for all colleges within the system.”

“I fall with those who recommended to keep it with major changes in its leadership and process,” Wolde-Ab Isaac, president of RCC said in an email. “Until a final decision is made on the fate of ACCJC everything will go on as before,  we will continue to communicate, collaborate and respond to ACCJC’s accreditation requirements.”