College’s accreditation in tact; officials have two years to correct ‘deficiencies’
July 06, 2011 5:36 PM
Natasha Lindstrom
Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE • The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges has placed Victor Valley College on probation for failing to comply with several accreditation standards, ranging from maintaining stable leadership to fostering a healthy campus culture.

The college’s accreditation will remain intact during a two-year probationary period, and the sanction will not affect student services, credits, degrees or transfers.

But VVC faces the potential of losing its accreditation if it fails to correct deficiencies cited by the commission by March 2013.

VVC President Christopher O’Hearn said he’s confident that won’t happen.

“I think if we handle this properly this is going to be a wake-up call for the college and an opportunity for us to come together,” said O’Hearn, who took the helm as permanent president in April. “The college needs to rally around and address these recommendations and we’re doing so as we speak.”

The ACCJC, a regional branch of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, made the determination after a March campus visit and a June meeting. College officials received the June 30 letter announcing the decision on Tuesday.

While representing the college in June, O’Hearn said he had told commissioners that the idea of placing VVC on probation was “absolutely shocking.”

In its self report presented to the commission, VVC had identified many of the same areas for its own improvement, O’Hearn said. He firmly disagreed that those issues merited the commission’s action.

The probation label comes two years after the ACCJC lifted the college off an accreditation warning list, praising VVC’s leadership for a “productive transformation and reorganization.”

The college had been placed on that warning list in 2007 after visits from the accrediting commission in 2005. O’Hearn was on that ACCJC team in 2005 and hired at VVC in 2008 by former college President Robert Silverman to lead the effort to restore VVC’s status.

“The same commission that took us off (the warning list) has now put us on probation,” O’Hearn said. “Two years ago we were given blue ribbons … We cannot have deteriorated to the degree that they seemed to be outlining in their recommendations.”

Probation is a step closer to losing accreditation than the warning list.

To read more about VVC’s probation, see the full story in Thursday’s Daily Press. Get complete stories every day with the “exactly as printed” Daily Press E-edition, only $5 per month! Click here to try it free for 7 days. To subscribe to the Daily Press in print or online, call (760) 241-7755, 1-800-553-2006 or click here.