By Sara Bloomberg
Once every six years, City College submits to a rigorous process of re-accreditation administered by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. WASC oversees educational institutions in California, Hawai’i, Guam and American Samoa.
Central to the process of accreditation is the drafting of a Self-Study report, in which the college shows how they have met the standards set by WASC. The final Self-Study report is available to view online on the City College website.
Larry Klein, a former administrator for City College for over 30 years, is the acting accreditation liaison for the college.
His small office is tucked away on the second floor of Rosenberg Library. More than a dozen five-gallon plastic tubs contain reference materials for the accreditation process.
Klein said there are three major focuses of the Self-Study report this year: financial stability, learning outcomes — or tracking student progress — and coordinated planning.
The greatest concern facing the college right now is its financial situation, although Klein said that the threat of receivership — in which the state of California assumes financial control of the college if it determines the college to be insolvent — is unrelated to the accreditation process.
“If we’re not accredited, we’re not eligible for federal funds,” Klein said.
Ironically, City College’s current fiscal crisis is directly related to a series of mid-year budget cuts made at the state level.
As we reported in our last issue, the college was prepared for the initial $13.5 million “trigger cut” made in December 2011, but was recently rocked by another $3.6 million in unforeseen cuts from the state.
In his Jan. 13 welcome address on Professional Development Day Chancellor Don Griffin explained that accreditation is a quality assurance measure for the public and is required by other educational institutions that accept City College transfer students.
He also addressed the financial aspect of accreditation, saying that this November’s parcel tax ballot measure proposed by the Board of Trustees, which they are hoping will produce $13-$14 million per year for the college, will demonstrate the college’s long-term commitment to its financial responsibilities.
The next step in the accreditation process is the WASC team’s site visit March 12-15.
The team, made up of representatives from other California community colleges, will visit all City College campuses, review online courses and sit in on meetings. They may request private meetings with people. They will also make themselves available to talk to the campus community at large, Klein said.
After their site visit the team reports back to WASC. Their final report can recommend any of 10 potential outcomes under three categories: actions that reaffirm accreditation, procedural actions and sanctions.