Article - Office of College Advancement

Ohlone officials receive accreditation "warning"

By Wes Bowers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008—Reprinted from Fremont Bulletin.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges' Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges completed its review of Ohlone Community College's self-study report and issued a warning to the school to correct several deficiencies.

Ohlone is now required to complete two reports, one due by Oct. 15, and another due by March 1 over ways to improve operations at the school. Commission representatives will visit the school after each report is submitted.

The commission visited Ohlone in March as part of a routine accreditation process, and found the school's Board of Trustees needed to improve on several levels.

Ohlone College President Geri Browning said while the accreditation team had several recommendations for improvement it also holds the school in high regard.

"It's a stern reprimand from the commission we can't ignore," she said. "But it's important to know the college is in really good shape in terms of its academic programs and student services, as well as the general operations of the college. There were no recommendations for student services or programs."

The Oct. 15 report to the commission will address four recommendations related to issues concerning the function of Ohlone's Board of Trustees, including:

That the Board of Trustees ceases involvement in college operations, and delegates all non-policy issues and policy implementation at the college level to the president.

The Board of Trustees and college leadership define, publish, adhere to, regularly evaluate, and continuously improve the respective leadership roles and scopes of authority of college constituency groups and governance committees in meaningful, collegial decision-making processes.

The Board of Trustees takes measures to bring all constituent groups together to enable the college to develop a positive and in-depth dialog on decision making roles and responsibilities that will ultimately lead to strengthening student learning and success at the college; and create an environment which ensures greater administrative stability and empowerment at the college.

The Board of Trustees develop a process to implement identified improvements derived from regular self-evaluations.

The March 1 report will address four recommendations related to college planning and program review, as well as classified staff and management employee evaluation processes.

"We will address these very quickly, particularly the recommendations regarding the Board of Trustees," Browning said. "Work started immediately after the accreditation team's March visit."

Browning added it could take up to two years for the school to resolve the issues presented by the accreditation team according to federal requirements. Two years is the federal requirement given to colleges on warning.

She said the college would still be accredited during the warning period, meaning financial aid will still be available to students and credits would be accepted at other institutions.

Board president Garrett Yee said the college's report last week was as detailed and forthcoming as possible.

"There weren't any surprises that I saw, because the team provided an exit report in March," he said. "In a way, we're repeating some of the stuff already presented by the accreditation team. We're working on the recommendations already."

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