Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dear Colleagues,

The three weeks since the catalytic conversation about accreditation at the statewide CEO Symposium on March 14, 2016 have passed quickly. The California Community College Board of Governors approved a resolution on March 21 supporting the leadership of California community college presidents and chancellors in the effort to address challenges and opportunities involving accreditation. On March 18, Contra Costa Chancellor Helen Benjamin and I met with the full ACCJC Commission at their spring workshop to discuss the development of two accreditation workgroups. We shared with the Commissioners that the first is focused on the immediate task of improving ACCJC function, structure and relations. The second workgroup is focused on exploring models of accreditation that could better align all segments of higher education in the western region.

Using the regional structure of our statewide CEO Board and relying on the leadership of your elected representatives, we have identified more than twenty California colleagues who have volunteered to serve on the two workgroups. The latest iteration of the growing list of participants is attached. In addition to our California community college CEOs, Academic Senate Leadership, and Accreditation Liaison Officer representatives, a private community college president has agreed to participate on the first workgroup. We are also in communication with the leadership of the Hawaii community college system about engaging presidents from member colleges of the Hawaii and Pacific island community college systems to participate in both workgroups.

Chancellor Benjamin and I met with ACCJC President Barbara Beno this past Wednesday, March 30. After that meeting, ACCJC appointed a Commissioner to serve on the first workgroup. No one has yet been designated by ACCJC for the second workgroup. We remain hopeful President Beno and ACCJC will also designate a Commissioner to serve on the second workgroup.

The first meeting of the first workgroup will take place later this month. Chancellor Benjamin will chair the first workgroup and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Chancellor Cindy Miles will chair the second, which will meet in late April or May. The chairs of both workgroups will make every effort to coordinate their efforts with any projects or initiatives underway or in development by ACCJC. The next meeting of the Commission is in June 8-10. Ideally, the chairs of the workgroups will engage in dialog at the June meeting with the Commissioners to discuss specific, concrete action steps. We will also provide a progress report to the Board of Governors at an upcoming meeting.

Another important date is the April 25, 2016, deadline for nominations for at least five vacancies for election as Commissioners to ACCJC including one faculty and three public members. Public members can include retired faculty, presidents, or other administrators. Given the strong interest in working together to develop a model for accreditation in alignment with the rapidly changing realities in higher education today, having strong Commissioners to lead the effort has never been more important. Candidates can be nominated or self- nominate. The Commission Nominating Committee includes four Commissioners and four non-Commissioner presidents. If an individual is not selected by the Nominating Committee, a petition of 10 CEOs can have that name added to the ballot.

We will continue to make every effort to keep you informed about the efforts of the workgroups in the coming weeks and months. Thank you to the many leaders who are investing their time and making a significant commitment to this vitally important work.

Brian King
President-Elect, CEO Board
Chancellor, Los Rios Community College District