By Oct. 15, CCSF must submit a self-evaluation report to the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, per the policy for which Tyler applied on behalf of CCSF on July 28. Most schools use at least a year to complete such a report, but CCSF is doing it in less than three months.
Tyler noted that time constraint and other concerns regarding restoration status in a recent interview with The San Francisco Examiner. But Tyler also pointed out that CCSF is in compliance with 95 percent of accrediting standards and said numerous changes for this school year will help the college succeed.
“I think our chances are very good,” Tyler said of whether CCSF will qualify for restoration status. He added, however, that the school is being held to a standard of perfection that to his knowledge has not been the case for other schools in a similar situation.
“That is of concern,” Tyler said. “But I also recognize that this institution, unlike any other, has the bench strength to rise to that standard of perfection.”
Tyler is focusing on three pillars for CCSF this school year: advance, transform and innovate. That’s how restoration will be achieved, he said.
For instance, on Aug. 18 — the first day of the fall semester — the college launched an online CCSF-specific search engine, Ask CCSF. In its first 10 days, the site received more than 150,000 hits, said Tyler.
Additionally, Tyler is adding appeal to each of CCSF’s eight centers by introducing credit courses and implementing full programs specifically tailored to a center’s location, such as cooking classes at the Chinatown campus or a communications focus at the Mission Center.
“Destinations [will ensure] each center has something unique that it’s known for, so that you know you’re going to be able to get a full program – whether it’s a certificate in something or an associate degree in something” at each center, Tyler said.
Following receipt of the self-evaluation report in October, the ACCJC will send an evaluation team to CCSF the week of Nov. 16. The commission is expected to decide by January whether to grant the college restoration status.
ACCJC President Barbara Beno said last month that she anticipates CCSF will meet the criteria for restoration status, which would give CCSF two more years to reach full compliance with accrediting requirements while remaining accredited.
“We’ll have to see what their work is showing, but that’s what the commission hoped when they adopted the policy,” Beno said. “My expectation is they will qualify for restoration status if all the work they said they’ve been doing has really been done.”
For Tyler, demonstrating sustainability is the ultimate goal. “We’ve been around for 80 years, almost,” Tyler said. “I want to make sure that what we’re doing today will be sustainable over the next 80 years.”
Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by the City Attorney’s Office against ACCJC alleging that the commission treated CCSF unfairly in its accreditation review process is scheduled to go to trial next month. A judge had previously issued an injunction blocking the ACCJC from revoking CCSF’s accreditation until the trial’s conclusion.
Losing accreditation would effectively force CCSF to close. The school remains open and accredited and continues to enroll students.