Cuesta College accreditation renewed for six years
On Friday, the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC), the regional accrediting agency that evaluates two-year colleges in California, took action to reaffirm Cuesta College’s accreditation. In a letter from ACCJC President Barbara A. Beno, the commission affirms that Cuesta College has provided evidence that it continues to be in compliance with accreditation standards, policies and eligibility requirements.
“I am thrilled with the action announced by the accreditation commission to reaffirm Cuesta College’s accreditation status for the next six years,” said Superintendent/President Gil Stork. “Cuesta College has demonstrated sustained efforts to maintain its accreditation, as evidenced by the seven commendations we received in the fall by the visiting accreditation team. Additionally, I cannot say enough about the commitment of our faculty, staff, administration, students, and Board of Trustees to work together to ensure Cuesta’s place at the center of excellence.”
In February of 2014, the ACCJC removed Cuesta College from warning status and reaffirmed its accreditation. As part of the regular six-year evaluation cycle, a visiting team from the ACCJC reviewed the college’s comprehensive self-evaluation report and interviewed dozens of Cuesta College faculty, staff and students in September 2014. The most recent reaffirmation action by ACCJC reaffirms the college’s accreditation for the next six years.
According to the commission’s letter, “the commission would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Cuesta College on the remarkable turnaround that it has accomplished between 2011 and 2013. It has followed all commission directives for reports and visits and resolved the considerable deficiencies that led the college to non-compliance with accreditation standards. The college has resolved those deficiencies, meets standards and should take pride in its accomplishments.”
Cuesta College received seven commendations from the visiting team in September 2014 regarding its commitment to address accreditation issues, the college’s ability to work with the Cuesta Foundation and expand the Promise Scholarship to a full year, implementing student success and support programs, and more.
“The commission has once again recognized the achievements and commitment at Cuesta College to the education of our students. Our faculty, staff and administration have again been acknowledged for their student-focus, hard work and commitment to performing at the highest levels.” said Pat Mullen, President of the San Luis Obispo County Community College District/Cuesta College Board of Trustees. “This reaffirmation also signifies our commitment to providing the excellent education that the voters of San Luis Obispo County believed in when they passed Measure L in November.”
Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Deborah Wulff – who also serves as the college’s Accreditation Liaison Officer – also praised the efforts of the college as a whole: “Reaffirmation and the visiting team’s commendations recognize the college’s achievements. I am thankful for the excellent and collegial work of faculty, staff and administrators in developing the self-evaluation report, which demonstrates to our peers and the commission that we continue to meet the standards, and also validates the college’s efforts of continuous quality improvement”
According to the commission’s letter, the college’s reaffirmation comes with a single directive to submit a follow-up report to the commission in October of 2016. Cuesta College will address a recommendation to improve the quality of its distance education programs.
Accreditation is the primary means that educational institutions assure and improve quality. California community colleges must apply to the ACCJC, which is overseen by the U.S. Department of Education. The process focuses on self-evaluation, peer review and quality improvement. Institutions are either reaffirmed or placed on sanction, which include four levels: warning, probation, show cause and termination of accreditation.