ACCJC sanction roils campus
Although San Francisco’s City College has been at the eye of the recent accreditation storm, instructors at the College of the Sequoias in Visalia are also facing sanctions by the Accrediting Commission and faculty on other campuses are wondering who will be next.
College of the Sequoias first came under the scrutiny of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) in 2006, when the commission put the college on probation for several deficiencies. But after a stable couple of years, the college was notified by the commission this spring that it had failed to improve in several areas and was placed on “show cause” much like City College of San Francisco. College of the Sequoias has until October to issue a response. If that response is unsatisfactory, it’s possible that the college could lose its accreditation in May 2014.
Much of the Commission’s criticism of the college focused centered on “campus environment,” which has left faculty scratching their heads.
“Faculty never shirked their duties. We’ve always gone above and beyond,” said Ed Sense, president of the College of Sequoias Teachers Association. “If anything, our students were freaked out by the Commission’s scare tactics that our college would be closed.”
Another area where the Commission found fault was in establishing and publishing Student Learning Outcomes. Sense said the faculty association has since agreed to an SLO Pilot Program that should comply with the recommendation, but the association remains concerned that the commission is overreaching its jurisdiction.
Like COS faculty, CCA has long opposed the Commission encroaching on areas that should be determined at the bargaining table. Although the Commission has suggested that SLOs be part of instructor evaluation, CCA has maintained that the union be included in the process in determining how they will be used.
“We have always maintained that our members should hold the line against having SLOs incorporated into faculty evaluations unilaterally by administrations because they are intimidated by accreditation. This issue is within the scope of bargaining and should be determined in the negotiations process,” CCA President Lynette Nyaggah stated.
In the meantime, the COS faculty is standing its ground.
“We can’t afford to have our working conditions and professional responsibilities dictated to us by the ACCJC. I feel strongly about that and when we talk to our faculty about it, they do too,” said English professor Paul Tidwell.