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Cuesta College faculty speak to accreditation problems 

San Luis Obispo

Given the recent news about Cuesta College being required to “show cause” as to why it should remain an accredited institution, the Cuesta College faculty wish to help our local community better understand what has brought about this situation, and also to suggest ways in which the community can become involved.

First, please be assured that the courses, degrees, and certificates that Cuesta offers and the services that the College provides are in no immediate jeopardy. The value of our students’ learning experiences and the course credits they earn is not in question, and never has been. The work that the Cuesta College faculty do in the classroom and in student support services, has been, and continues to be, of the highest quality. All faculty and staff excel in ensuring that the college effectively serves our students.

The accreditation issues the college is currently facing have nothing to do with the quality of the education and services students receive at Cuesta. The college’s sanctions, from the initial “warning” to the most recent “show cause” status, have focused on deficiencies in how the college has been administered.

Because the continued success of our students is of paramount importance to us, the faculty at Cuesta College share the local community’s shock and disappointment that Cuesta College is in danger of losing its accreditation. In fact, what is most disconcerting to the faculty is that the shortcomings cited by the accrediting commission are on point—there are serious problems in the way the college conducts its administrative business, and these problems need to be solved.

Faculty involvement in the accreditation process since 2009 has helped the college achieve resolution of six of the original nine recommendations by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC). We are committed to working with the administration in resolving the remaining three recommendations from ACCJC.

The faculty and staff of Cuesta College know that the local community values our college as highly as we do. We are asking for your assistance. Join us in urging the Cuesta College Board of Trustees and administration to take quick and effective action to address all the issues that have brought sanctions against the college. Attend a Board of Trustees meeting and express your concerns. Call or write to the board members and administrators and ask them what, exactly, they are doing to resolve these issues. Request that specific, timely, and frequent accreditation progress reports be provided to the public. All of us working together can ensure Cuesta’s future and restore its reputation as one of the premier community colleges in the State of California. A copy of the recommendations from the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges can be found on the Cuesta College website:

Contact information for the Board of Trustees is available at president/brdmem.htm.

This letter is signed by the Cuesta College Federation of Teachers Executive Board (Allison Merzon, president; Peet Cocke, vice-president; Mark Tomes, secretary/treasurer) and Council of Representatives (Victor Krulikowski, grievance officer; Debra Stakes, COPE chair; Michele McAustin, Council of Representatives co-chair; Tony Rector-Cavagnaro, Council of Representatives co-chair; Kathryn Logan, part-time Faculty Committee chair; Marilyne Cleeves, communications chair).

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