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OCC has some work to do

Accreditation report largely approves of what the college is doing but issues warnings for 7 perceived deficiencies.

July 10, 2013|By Jeremiah Dobruck

Orange Coast College was told this month that it must rework some of its governance and educational practices or risk losing its accreditation.

A 57-page report from the college's accrediting body said OCC is in line with the vast majority of requirements, but seven deficiencies drew warnings.

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges notified OCC about the report's findings in a July 3 letter.

Every six years, the organization evaluates colleges' compliance with a set of regulations governing what they must do to receive accreditation — a stamp of educational quality.

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In March, an evaluation team visited OCC and its two sister colleges operated by the Coast Community College District — Coast Community College in Westminster and Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

Golden West and Coast also received warnings for deficiencies.

An OCC official said a "warning" is the least serious infraction colleges can receive after an accreditation visit.

OCC must submit a report by March detailing fixes to the problems. Probation or other consequences wouldn't take affect until March 2015.

"Hopefully, we'll have most of the things taken care of by the end of fall semester," said OCC spokesman Doug Bennett.

Evaluators wrote that there should be consistent and substantive contact between instructors and students taking online classes, and faculty evaluations should include how effective employees are at producing results in student learning.

There's no evidence that faculty are currently evaluated on how well their students meet desired outcomes, according to the report.

Including that benchmark in an employee evaluation is something the district will have to negotiate with the faculty union, Bennett said.

Like many of the required fixes, those negotiations will take place at the district level, Bennett said, because instructors share a contract across all three colleges operated by the Coast Community College District.

The report's other recommendations focused mostly on administration and governance deficiencies.

"I'm confident that we will take steps quickly to address any issues," said Martha Parham, the district's spokeswoman.

The board of trustees' accreditation committee will meet July 30 to begin working on solutions.

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