With the recent trend in community colleges losing accreditation throughout the state, it’s no wonder the documents being presented by the San Mateo County Community College District are double or triple the size they were during the district’s last accreditation review.
The district has buckled down since City College of San Francisco was told this summer it will lose its accreditation in less than a year, which could lead to the closure of the its campuses. Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, the agency that certifies two-year colleges in the western United States, will visit the district Oct. 21-23 for interviews.
“We’re dotting every i and crossing every t,” said Barbara Christensen, director of community and government relations for the San Mateo County Community College District. “We’re providing lots of evidence, minutes from meetings and gone over the top.”
The accreditation visits happen every six years and last took place for the district in 2007. The district submitted self studies a couple months ago, Christensen said. This week, teams of eight to 10 at each college and the district office are providing the auditors with additional information as documents are reviewed.
Board members are optimistic about the district maintaining its accreditation.
Trustee Patricia Miljanich believes the district is in good shape and that she’s really proud of the organization.
“We’ve done what is expected,” she said. “We’ve taken the opportunity to make sure we’ve refined and are as strong as we can be as an organization not just to comply.”
Some of the accreditation commission’s additional requirements this time around were over the top, Miljanich said. One example is that you don’t just have to show connections between planning groups, but provide flow charts.
“It’s excessive,” she said. “The community would be shocked to find out how much money has been spent on things that are not necessarily related to making sure we’re providing good education for the community. What used to be an educational process has become more of a punitive, legally documenting process.”
The district has spent a tremendous amount of time preparing, said Trustee Richard Holober.
“We are totally prepared,” Holober said. “We look forward to the visits next week.”
With the potential closure of City College, there has been no effect on the district thus far, Christensen said. Overall, enrollment is steady, she said.
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