Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has adopted at least eight resolutions expressing concerns about the processes followed by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) since 2007 and has communicated its concerns both independently and through a 2009-2010 Consultation Task Group on Accreditation;
Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, participating in the Consultation Task Group on Accreditation along with representatives from state-level organizations including the Board of Governors, the Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), the Chief Instructional Officers (CIOs) , the Academic Senate, the California School Employees Association (CSEA), the Community College Association (CCA), and the Chancellor's Office over the past 11 months, helped to develop a survey which was sent to college presidents and accreditation liaison officers (ALO) and which resulted in the following seven recommendations sent to ACCJC in December 2009:
- Develop a means for colleges to provide periodic feedback to ACCJC on the accreditation processes and their experiences, including both commendations for what went well and identification of what needs improvement.
- Strengthen standards-based training of both visiting-team members and ALOs. Consider instituting an annual multi-day statewide California community college conference to provide training and information to all interested constituencies. This could be co-presented with the Academic Senate and the Community College League of California at the November annual California community college conference. Colleges could also present their best practices.
- Review the ACCJC visiting-team selection process and consider means to involve a wider cross-section of the individuals in our system who desire to participate. Team participation should be treated as a professional development opportunity.
- Scale accreditation expectations of Western Region colleges to benchmarks formulated relative to evidence of best practices documented in all of the accrediting regions in the country.
- Consider lengthening the cycle of accreditation to 8 -10 years.
- Employ cooperative ways to have accreditation result in improvement rather than just compliance. Also, develop more non-public ways to communicate to campuses their need for improvement.
- Avoid recommendations that encroach on negotiable issues
Whereas, The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges embraces the essential, foundational principles of an effective accreditation process that requires sincere introspection, effective dialog, self criticism, continuous improvement, and a willingness to change, and yet these characteristics have not been demonstrated by the ACCJC through its own actions and processes; and
Whereas, Because of the weaknesses in ACCJC processes, some of which were identified by the Consultation Task Group on Accreditation, many colleges have found that the ideals and principles of peer review and self study have been damaged and undermined because faculty and others are unwilling to participate in a process that focuses on punishment rather than continuous improvement;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges endorse the seven recommendations developed by the Consultation Task Group on Accreditation;
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges express to the Consultation Task Group on Accreditation the Senate’s ongoing concerns about the operations of Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and grave disappointment at the lack of responsiveness to the recommendations that were given to ACCJC in the spirit of a sincere desire to strengthen accreditation processes and ultimately the quality of the colleges; and
Resolved, That the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges commit to continuing efforts with the Consultation Task Group as the group pursues possible next steps which might result in actions including but not limited to the following: a) writing a letter of no confidence in the Commission leadership from the Academic Senate and/or in conjunction with the Consultation Council; b) seeking advice and support from federal education agencies; and c) considering legislative alternatives.
MSU (96-0) Disposition: Local Senates, ACCJC, Board of Governors, Consultation Council Task Force on Accreditation
Senate representatives participated in discussions with Consultation Council and other constituent groups about issues related to accreditation and the ACCJC. In 2013, the Accreditation Task Force was re-convened and Senate representatives have been included on the task force and in the relevant conversations. The principles in this resolution will be shared with others as the conversation continue.