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California Community Colleges Board of Governors approves plan to change accreditation

March 21, 2016
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California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office

The California Community Colleges today approved plans to better align the system’s 113 colleges with other segments of higher education through changes to the current accreditation structure.

The resolution approved by the board comes a week after college presidents and district chancellors voted overwhelmingly to pursue a dual approach to improve the operations and governance of the current accreditor, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), while planning for the ultimate transition to an accreditor that would include all higher education institutions in the Western region.

The Board of Governors declared that the community college system’s establishment of a bachelor’s degree program and its strengthened transfer pathways, such as the Associate Degree for Transfer program and the UC Transfer Pathways, require peer review from four-year colleges and universities to ensure top quality for students.

“This change in accreditation, though it may take several years to implement, makes sense given that our colleges will start offering the bachelor’s degree and because our state’s four-year institutions are increasingly reliant on transfers from community colleges,” said Board of Governors President Geoffrey L. Baum. “During this transition, an improved ACCJC will continue to serve California Community Colleges.”

Brian King, chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District, said, “The presidents and chancellors who lead California's community colleges are focused on working together to improve the current state of accreditation for our students. We are also committed to a new model for accreditation that is in better alignment with the strong relationships that are evolving between community colleges and four-year colleges and universities.”

The resolution approved by the board supports immediate changes to the ACCJC that include enhanced financial transparency, reformed governance and leadership, better communication with colleges and better training. The ACCJC is currently not in compliance with federal standards and has been warned by the U.S. Department of Education that it could lose its authority to accredit colleges.

The Board of Governors directed the state Chancellor’s Office to participate in the college-led planning required to implement the changes and to advocate for resources to ensure a smooth transition to an accreditor that aligns all of higher education in the Western region, which also includes Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.

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