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July 9, 2008 > Accreditation Commission releases report on Ohlone College

Accreditation Commission releases report on Ohlone College

Submitted By Sarah Daniels

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges has completed its review of Ohlone College's institutional self-study report in conjunction with the findings of the evaluation team that visited Ohlone College this past March. The Commission has acted to issue a Warning and asks Ohlone College to correct deficiencies noted in the evaluation report.

As a result of this ruling, the college is required to complete two reports. The first report is due by October 15, 2008, and the second report is due by March 1, 2009. Both reports will be followed by a visit of Commission representatives. The college continues to be accredited during the warning period.

Incoming Ohlone President, Dr. Gari Browning stated, "I want to reassure our students, faculty, staff and the community that the accreditation visiting evaluation team gave extremely high marks to Ohlone's academic programs and student services, as well as the general operations of the college. It is very important to note that the visiting team had no recommendations related to the college's student learning programs and services. This is quite unusual and indicates the visiting team's very high assessment of Ohlone's academic programs and student services."

The first report to the Commission will address four recommendations related to issues concerning the function of the District's Board of Trustees. These recommendations include the following:

"The team recommends 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 team recommends that 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 team recommends that the Board of Trustees takes measures to bring all constituent groups together to enable the college to A) 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 B) Create an environment which ensures greater administrative stability and empowerment at the college."

"The team recommends that the Board of Trustees develop a process to implement identified improvements derived from regular self-evaluations."

Dr. Browning stated, "The Board is serious about addressing these recommendations in a timely manner. Work began shortly after the accreditation visit in March, and a second special meeting has been scheduled for July 19 to continue required improvements. The complete Evaluation Report has been provided to the Board members."

The second report due in March, 2009, will address four recommendations related to college planning and program review, as well as classified staff and management employee evaluation processes. Browning indicated that plans are already underway to address these four recommendations. "The substance of these recommendations involves areas of improvement that are fairly common at community colleges. I am confident that these can be addressed to meet the Commission's expectations."

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