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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, February 13, 2006

2 UH community colleges shed accreditation warnings

By Loren Moreno
Advertiser Staff Writer

Honolulu Community College and Hawai'i Community College have been removed from warning status by their accreditation agency, said University of Hawai'i officials.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges' Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges had placed six of the state's seven community colleges on warning early last year, citing lack of sufficient assessment and program review. Kapi'olani, Kaua'i, Leeward and Maui Community College were removed from warning in April 2005. At that time, Hawai'i Community College was placed on warning.

Only Windward Community College remains on warning status.

Both Honolulu and Hawai'i community colleges were able to demonstrate progress and an ability to evaluate their academic programs sufficiently, said UH officials.

The commission "made a series of recommendations that were valid," said Ramsey Pederson, Honolulu Community College chancellor. "I am pleased that the campus as a whole pulled together ... and made it a mission to get off warning."

Warning status is the mildest form of sanction by the accrediting agency and reflects concern about a college's ability to meet eligibility criteria, standards and policies, according to UH. All community colleges are fully accredited by the commission, even during a warning period.

Windward Community College remains on warning and must demonstrate further progress to an evaluation team scheduled to visit all community college campuses this fall, according to UH.

To provide centralized assistance to the community colleges, the UH system created the position of vice president for community colleges. In a letter to UH interim president David McClain, the accreditation agency praised the creation of the new administrative position and said UH "made significant changes in order to support the accreditation of the colleges."

Michael Rota, associate vice president for academic affairs at community colleges, said the creation of a centralized office to oversee the community college system helped the Hawai'i and Honolulu community colleges get removed from warning status. He added that it is "further evidence that we've made significant progress to meeting the accrediting standards."

Reach Loren Moreno at lmoreno@honoluluadvertiser.com.