Educators from peer institutions across the Western Association of Schools and Colleges conducted virtual site visits of the Peralta Community College District and the four colleges last week, March 1-4. These peer reviews were conducted on behalf of the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and were part of an accreditation process that included the Special Reports we submitted last November and the Institutional Self Evaluation Reports (ISERs) submitted in December 2020. The visits went well. We’re writing to share with you some preliminary good news that we received during the accreditation site visits last week.
Our gratitude goes out to all who helped make these virtual site visits a success. It takes a village. Thank you!
The Exit Review comments for Laney College were provided by Dr. Pamela Luster, the President of San Diego Mesa College. She will be recommending commendations for Laney for the excellent work done supporting students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Laney Guided Pathways work, and work with college planning.
The visiting team recommended Laney College continue to work on outcomes assessment, continued improvement to distance education practices and a review of the student services program. All of the recommendations were initially put forward by Laney College and the Accreditors agreed. The College was informed in the exit meeting that none of the three recommendations for improvement rose to the level of being compliance issues.
Berkeley City College
The Exit Review comments for BCC were provided by Dr. Keith Curry, President & CEO of the Compton Community College District. Dr. Curry stated that the College met all accreditation standards. He will be recommending commendations for BCC for the excellent work in meeting the mission of the College and serving students as a Student-Centered institution, with praise for BCC Live Chat and for Transfer and Completion Outcomes.
The visiting team recommended Berkeley City College implement an outcomes assessment and formal evaluation of the College’s governance and process, and neither of these recommendations were related to compliance.
The Exit Review comments were provided by Dr. Keith Flamer, the President/Superintendent of College of the Redwoods. Dr. Flamer reported that the visiting team found Merritt to be compliant with accreditation standards. There were no recommendations presented. Dr. Flamer said, “Let me repeat that...we have no recommendations at this time.”
The visiting team liked what they saw from Merritt in the ISER and during the visit and felt there were no compliance issues for the College needing recommendations.
College of Alameda
The Exit Review comments were provided by Dr. Julianna Barnes, the President of Cuyamaca College. She reported that College of Alameda also met all of the Accreditation standards and that there were no college recommendations. The visiting team was complimentary about the well written ISER and will be recommending a commendation for COA's commitment to its diverse students in advancing its mission.
District & Board
In addition to the feedback each of the four colleges received, the visiting teams shared feedback regarding the District and the Board of Trustees. A few concerns were raised over Standard 3: the District’s financial stability, internal controls and administrative capacity. The teams recognized the ongoing efforts of the colleges, the District, and the entire Peralta community as we work together to solve these issues.
Some concerns were also shared over Standard 4: the Board’s ability to make financial decisions, delegate authority and make decisions independent of outside influence. The team also recognized the effort of the Board of Trustees to become a high functioning team, and believe if the efforts of the last few months are sustained, the Board will accomplish their goals and clear up these concerns.
Following the site visits, the lead from each of the visiting teams will author a report to be submitted to ACCJC. This draft report will be shared with the College Presidents who will have the opportunity to make “Corrections of Errors of Fact” within a 30-day period, and then the final reports are sent to the ACCJC. At the June 2021 meeting, the ACCJC will make a determination informed by the reports, and subject to any material changes that may happen between now and then.
We will continue to provide updates as the Accreditation process continues and as we get closer to the June 2021 ACCJC meeting.
Thank you and be safe,