This just in from College of the Redwoods
CR Receives “Warning” from Accrediting Commission
- College Stays Fully Accredited While Addressing Concerns
On June 30, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) notified College of the Redwoods (CR) that the Commission has returned CR to warning status.
The ACCJC emphasized that CR continues to remain fully accredited while working to resolve two findings. The Commission stated “that while College of the Redwoods had appeared to make progress resolving its deficiencies in the fall semester, 2008, the College appears to have slowed or reversed its direction.”
The Commission stated areas of recommendations that the college must address to be removed from warning status:
- Complete a template for program review of all academic, vocational, administrative functions of the college. CR has been developing this over the past several years and is well on the way to completing this important and major task.
- A new recommendation requires that CR undergo a review of roles and responsibilities of each internal constituency group.
The Commission’s warning follows a protest letter it received last April from CR’s Academic (faculty) Senate. The letter included a claim that the draft of the CR Education Master Plan submitted on December 31, 2008, was “seriously flawed” and had “not been widely discussed and did not have broad-based support.”
The Senate, a faculty leadership group, challenged the Commission’s acceptance of the draft CR Education Master Plan, saying the plan lacked “integrity” and did not meet the ACCJC standards. The Commission has rejected the Senate’s claim.
However, after receiving the Academic Senate letter and meeting with the Senate during their April 2009 evaluation visit, the Commission decided that it was necessary to return CR to warning status. The Commission expressed a concern that the college was in danger of reversing its earlier positive direction. The Commission believes that a lack of understanding exists about who is responsible for running CR’s academic operations and for setting policy.
CR President Dr. Jeff Marsee responded that “CR is an organization that is going through significant change to better address the needs of our students and the community. The transformation is very worthwhile but predictably difficult. Our accrediting commission has directed us to focus on creating more effective working relationships in this changing environment.
“This recommendation is giving CR the opportunity to address a long overdue challenge that must be fixed if we are truly going to be the premier college district that we envision. Our outstanding, newly formed administrative team is committed to work with the faculty to quickly resolve the concerns noted by the commission.”
Many successes have been achieved at CR during Dr. Marsee’s first year as president. CR is financially strong and ready to operate at full capacity despite a difficult state-wide financial situation. CR’s enrollments are growing at an unprecedented pace—20 percent above last year’s enrollment. By saving the Student Union building, CR will retarget $10.5 million in local bond funds to other facility needs. Construction on two new $48 million state-funded projects is set to begin. New instructional sites will open this fall at McKinleyville and Arcata, and the district is planning to establish a permanent instructional site in Garberville. The curriculum is growing thanks in part to a $2.5 million Department of Labor grant, and the CR Shively farm has become viable following the receipt of the CalTrans $2.5 million mitigation grant late last year.
George Truett, President of the CR Board of Trustees, views the Commission’s recommendations “as an opportunity to streamline operations and move forward in CR’s services to our students and communities.” Truett says, “The commission’s findings will not affect CR continuing to offer excellent and fully accredited academic and job-training programs. As a college, we have met and exceeded former Commission recommendations. Under Dr. Marsee’s leadership, we are confident that student success will continue, even during this time of change.”
To review the ACCJC action and letters, refer to this link on CR’s website.