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Report gives campus 18 months to address recommendations

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Cosumnes River College, along with the other three colleges in the Los Rios Community College District, have had their accreditation reaffirmed from the Accrediting Commision for Community and Junior Colleges.

CRC earned its reaffirmation, however, the school is being asked to provide a follow up report with improvements that the ACCJC has recommended  by March 2017.

This is the first time that the commission has implemented an 18-month reaffirmation, said Communication Studies Professor Georgine Hodgkinson, who is one of the Tri-chairs that helped in getting the college reaffirmed.

“The college is fully reaccredited,” said College President Edward Bush.

The ACCJC usually operates on a pass or fail kind of grade where colleges would be reaffirmed for three or six years or put on probation, Bush said.

Eleven community colleges were up for the accreditation process this year, and 10 of the colleges received the 18-month reaffirmation while one of the colleges received a warning, Bush said.

CRC was given two recommendations that needed to be worked on, while Los Rios, as a district, received four, Bush said.

The first recommendation is for the college to improve the outcome of student success in multiple programs, according to the report from the ACCJC.

“Are our students achieving what they are saying they want to?” Bush said.

All of the departments at CRC are going through the process to determine what they think can be improved within them, said Vice President Whitney Yamamura.

“The departments here have been asked to look at the most important things,” Yamamura said.

The college already had plans before the commission’s recommendations to adjust some of the outcomes to better improve the student success rate, however those plans are now being streamlined.

“We need to reduce and accelerate our initial plans,” Bush said.

The second recommendation is asking the college to document all of the ways that they are going to improve and accelerate the outcomes of student success within its programs, according to the report.

“It’s like a math problem and the commission is the teacher asking us to show the work,” Bush said.

The district recommendations mainly referred to the ways that the colleges are able to communicate with the district.

“All faculty have a survey they can fill out and send to the district chancellor,” Yamamura said.

The ACCJC has taken some heavy criticism in the past couple of years, especially after the commission decided to not award accreditation to Community College of San Francisco in the Fall of 2013, according to an article from The San Francisco Chronicle. 

“It’s like a math problem and the commission is the teacher asking us to show the work.””

— Edward Bush College President

The school and its faculty sought legal action with help from the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office. The school was able to get their accreditation put on hold and eventually returned to them, according to the article.

The attorneys claimed that the ACCJC focused more on what was happening at an administrative level within the college rather than quality of the education the students were receiving, according to the article.

With the new 18-month reaffirmation Bush said that it is another step of accountability for the commission, and although he said he feels in some ways all the standards were met he agreed with the commission’s decision.

“At the moment, there is nothing we can do, except deal with the recommendations we have been given by the commission,” Bush said.

The 18-month reaffirmation with a follow up report does not worry Yamamura.  

“It’s kind of like a fix-it ticket,” he said. “We could have had a follow up visit, but all we need to do is submit a report to the commission by the deadline.”

It also gives the campus a chance to work towards achieving something greater and improve collectively, which faculty tend to do naturally, Bush said.

“I think the recommendations will give the college an opportunity to grow,” Hodgkinson said.

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