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Accrediting team wraps up visit at COS

An 11-member team spent several days earlier this month at College of the Sequoias as part of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges’ accrediting process. The accrediting team held a public forum in the Ponderosa Building at the COS Visalia campus.

“Preparation for the accreditation visit was a two-year process and a joint collaboration with faculty, staff, administration and students,” said Dr. Jennifer Vega La Serna, COS vice president of academic services. “The entire campus came together this week to provide a welcoming atmosphere for the visiting team and coordinate logistics. I am very proud of the entire campus community in making this a successful visit that highlights the outstanding work we all do at COS.”

WASC accreditation is conducted in six-year cycles, and this week’s team visit was part of a long and ongoing process. The 11-member visiting team is made up of volunteer staff, administrators and faculty from community colleges around the state. The team spent months reviewing COS’ self-evaluation as well as COS’ self-evaluation from 2006, follow-ups to recommendations from 2007 and 2008, and mid-term report from 2009. The team spent the past four days gathering evidence on site; visiting COS locations in Visalia, Tulare and Hanford; conducting interviews; and having discussions with students, faculty and staff.

Accreditation has been a mixed process for the California community college system during this year. At its January meeting, WASC’s Accrediting Committee for Community and Junior Colleges placed five California community colleges on warning, continued warning status for two, placed six on probation, continued probation for one and ordered two to show cause, a status that is in effect the brink of losing accreditation.

At its June meeting, the ACCJC issued warnings to two California community colleges, continued warning status for five, continued probation for six and ordered one to show cause.

COS was placed on warning following its comprehensive evaluation in 2006 but was subsequently reaffirmed by WASC in 2008 after making changes based on ACCJC recommendations.

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