DVC’s future unsure until Feb. 1

Oksana Yurovsky

DVC will learn in January whether it has improved sufficiently to continue as an accredited college.

The Accreditation Commission for Community and Junior Colleges will make its decision Jan. 6 after President Judy Walters provides additional evidence that DVC has changed for the better since it was placed on “show cause” status a year ago.

“Show cause” is one step short of losing accreditation.

“I just appear in front of them for five minutes … to add any additional information the committee may find helpful as they deliberate,” Walters said.

A copy of the Commission’s January report will be sent to Walters, who will check it for factual errors. Its content, however, will not be made public until a final report is received no later than Feb.1.

Loss of accreditation would result in DVC becoming a satellite center of either Los Medanos or Contra Costa colleges.

A four-member evaluation team paid a visit to the college Nov. 3-4 to review its response to a previous team’s recommendations that landed DVC on the “show cause” list.

The team met with faculty, staff and students to find out how the college went about creating student learning outcomes for each course, began operating with more transparency, involved the whole campus in decision-making and much more. The team sought to verify the 82-page report submitted by DVC.

ASDVC President Lindsay St. Hill, who served on the college work group that focused on changing committee structures, was the only student interviewed by the visiting team.

“We showed them good opportunity for change,” she said of her committee’s work. “We just need to implement it.”

St. Hill said the team’s visit went well. “I came out of the meeting with a good feeling in my heart,” she added.

Saying she was optimistic about the college’s future, Walters said of the team’s visit, “They could see a change in the college from when they were here a year ago.”

The Commission could decide to move DVC up one level to “probation,” meaning the college has failed to meet some standards, or it could deliver the less serious “warning,” meaning the college has only strayed from Commission standards.

And if the Commission finds no problems, then a status of “no sanction” would be declared, putting DVC in the clear.

Commission President Barbara Beno said only three schools have lost their accreditation in the past 20 years.

Two of them – Compton Community College and private, two-year Kelsey-Jenney College, which closed due to bankruptcy in 2002 – did not attempt to regain their accreditation. Solano Community College was on “show cause” until June 30, when it was moved to “probation.”

Beno said it typically takes five to six years for a college to earn its accreditation back.

A two-year waiting period is followed by at least two years of self-study. The college then files an application for eligibility and must prove it has the practices and resources to comply with accreditation standards, Beno said.