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Coast making progress on accreditation complaints

Committee says the college district plans to file a report with the accrediting agency by February.

September 12, 2013|By Hannah Fry

Coast Community College District is taking steps to mend employee and educational practices that have placed its three colleges at risk of losing their educational credentials, accreditation committee members said Tuesday.

The committee plans to file a report with the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges by February, showing that the district and its colleges have fixed issues the commission raised earlier this year.

"We have a plan in place at the district and college levels," said Vince Rodriguez, vice president of instruction and student services at Coastline and a committee member. "There will be a tight timeline, but I think we'll be OK."

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Every six years, the commission evaluates colleges to ensure that they are complying with regulations that govern what they must do to receive accreditation — a measure of educational quality that ensures students can transition to four-year universities.

In March, an evaluation team toured Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa and its two sister colleges, Coastline Community College in Newport Beach and Golden West College in Huntington Beach. Each of the schools received a warning, the least serious infraction a college can receive after an accreditation visit, said John Weispfenning, vice president of instruction at OCC.

Regarding OCC, evaluators wrote in a July report 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 educational results. The report added that no evidence could be found that faculty are evaluated on how well their students are learning.

"We're now just looking at how to make it [contact between instructors and students] consistent in all of our online classes," Weispfenning said.

The issues are ones the college was already addressing before the visit, Weispfenning said.

Meanwhile, evaluators wrote in Golden West's report that the school must work to ensure that students are taking the correct courses to move through their programs, provide all students with a course syllabus, and develop a better financial plan to achieve long-term goals.

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