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March 12, 2008 > Ohlone College meets high accreditation standards

Ohlone College meets high accreditation standards

By Dustin Findley

A team of seasoned academic professionals evaluated Ohlone College to see if it continued to meet "Accreditation" standards. Last Thursday Dr. John Nixon, team chair, presented the exit report, a summary of the team's judgment, in the college's Jackson Theater. Overall, the team finds Ohlone College to be a "fine learning environment" that meets accreditation standards, with only a few areas that need improvement.

The Accrediting Team will send its report to the Accrediting Commission. The Accrediting Commission will review the report and make the final judgment on Ohlone's accreditation status in June. Ohlone's accreditation is not final or official yet.

The team's visit is required for accreditation; they offer the outside perspective necessary to make critical judgments about Ohlone's self evaluation and ways for Ohlone, as an accredited organization, to improve.

Dr. Jim Wright, Vice President and Deputy Superintendent of Academic Affairs at Ohlone College, and the college's Accreditation Liaison Officer, explained via email some of the details of accreditation.

What is the importance of accreditation?

Wright: Being accredited is essential for an institution of higher education. If not accredited, students would have great difficulty transferring their courses to other colleges and universities. We would also not be eligible to extend financial aid to students. Finally, accreditation is an indication of quality, which is a very important factor for educational institutions.

How is Ohlone College accredited?

Wright: Ohlone College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) through the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Every six years we must have our accreditation reaffirmed. This process involves completing and submitting an Institutional Self-Study in which we examine our performance on the accreditation standards. A team representing community colleges from the Western Region (usually 12-15 people) then conducts a Site-Visit to compare our Self-Study Report with their observations. The Visiting Team then sends a report to the ACCJC, which decides on the reaffirmation our accreditation.

This team's work involved attending meetings, interviewing individuals, and conducting open forums at the Newark and Fremont campuses, as well as "observing as much as we can in the three days that we're here" Nixon explained.

Ohlone College set a high bar for itself in its self study, and the team concluded that the college was as good as it said it was. They found the self study comprehensive, well organized, with excellent citation of references and evidence. They commended Ohlone's "honest self appraisal" and cooperation. Nixon especially appreciated the "Ohlone stories," testimonials within the self-study about Ohlone experience, calling them "excellent narratives."

Nixon commented that Ohlone has taken the challenge of accessibility (for the physically challenged) seriously. Nixon was impressed with Ohlone's commitment to sustainability.

Among the recommendations, Nixon noted that there is a "disconnect between the Board of Trustees and Ohlone College," but did not elaborate. One of the team's specific recommendations was that the board should seek "involvement in college and district operations and delegate all non-policy issues and policy implementation at the district level to the president."

To find out more about Accreditation (like "What is Accreditation") visit

Ohlone College's self-study is available at
If you act now you can see a web video of the exit report, with commendations
and recommendations spelled out in true academic detail.

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