A California community college system-convened task force has decided that the state's 113 two-year colleges should seek to be overseen by a new regional accrediting body.
The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is one of seven regional accreditors and the only one to specialize in two-year colleges. For years the commission has feuded with supporters of City College of San Francisco over that institution's accreditation status. City College is one of many California community colleges the accreditor has sanctioned in recent years, which periodically has led to tension between ACCJC and the community college system's leadership.
California's community colleges also this year began offering a limited number of four-year degrees. That change and the dispute over sanctions led the office of the two-year system's chancellor, Brice Harris, to create a committee to review the current state of accreditation for the colleges. The system released the report Friday.
"The task force concluded that the structure of accreditation in this region no longer meets the current and anticipated needs of the California Community Colleges. Furthermore, the task force concluded that several past attempts to engage with the ACCJC to make the accreditation process more effective and collegial have yielded very little in the way of progress," the chancellor's office said in a written statement. "Simply put, the task force concluded that the California Community College system and its member institutions have lost confidence in the ACCJC and that change is needed. The recommendation is to develop a plan by spring 2016 to begin transitioning California community colleges to a different accrediting body."
Several state lawmakers have introduced bills to move the California community colleges away from the ACCJC's oversight. But Harris will not take a position on those bills, the system said. The discussion about whether, and how, to seek a new accreditor will take much longer than this legislative session. And the transition could take up to 10 years to complete.