1. The state board of education shall establish an accreditation process for community college programs by July 1, 1994. The process shall be jointly developed and agreed upon by the department of education and the community colleges. The state accreditation process shall be integrated with the accreditation process of the north central association of colleges and schools, including the evaluation cycle, the self-study process, and the criteria for evaluation, which shall incorporate the standards for community colleges developed under section 260C.48; and shall identify and make provision for the needs of the state that are not met by the association's accreditation process. If a joint agreement has not been reached by July 1, 1994, the approval process provided under section 260C.4, subsection 4, shall remain the required accreditation process for community colleges. For the academic year commencing July 1, 1995, and in succeeding school years, the department of education shall use a two-component process for the continued accreditation of community college programs.
a. The first component consists of submission of required data by the community colleges and annual monitoring by the department of education of all community colleges for compliance with state program evaluation requirements adopted by the state board.
b. The second component consists of the use of an accreditation team appointed by the director of the department of education, to conduct an evaluation, including an on-site visit of each community college, with a comprehensive evaluation to occur during the same year as the evaluation by the north central association of colleges and schools, and an interim evaluation midway between comprehensive evaluations. The number and composition of the accreditation team shall be determined by the director, but the team shall include members of the department of education staff and community college staff members from community colleges other than the community college that conducts the programs being evaluated for accreditation.
c. Rules adopted by the state board shall include provisions for coordination of the accreditation process under this section with activities of accreditation associations, which are designed to avoid duplication in the accreditation process.
2. Prior to a visit to a community college, members of the accreditation team shall have access to the program audit report filed with the department for that community college. After a visit to a community college, the accreditation team shall determine whether the accreditation standards for a program have been met and shall make a report to the director and the state board, together with a recommendation as to whether the program of the community college should remain accredited. The accreditation team shall report strengths and weaknesses, if any, for each program standard and shall advise the community college of available resources and technical assistance to further enhance strengths and improve areas of weakness. A community college may respond to the accreditation team's report.
3. The state board shall determine whether a program of a community college shall remain accredited. If the state board determines that a program of a community college does not meet accreditation standards, the director of the department of education, in cooperation with the board of directors of the community college, shall establish a plan prescribing the procedures that must be taken to correct deficiencies in meeting the program standards, and shall establish a deadline date for correction of the deficiencies. The deadline for correction of deficiencies under a plan shall be no later than June 30 of the year following the on-site visit of the accreditation team. The plan is subject to approval of the state board. Plans shall include components which address meeting program deficiencies, sharing or merger options, discontinuance of specific programs or courses of study, and any other options proposed by the state board or the accreditation team to allow the college to meet the program standards.
4. During the time specified in the plan for its implementation, the community college program remains accredited. The accreditation team shall revisit the community college and shall determine whether the deficiencies in the standards for the program have been corrected and shall make a report and recommendation to the director and the state board. The state board shall review the report and recommendation, may request additional information, and shall determine whether the deficiencies in the program have been corrected.
5. If the deficiencies have not been corrected in a program of a community college, the community college board shall take one of the following actions within sixty days from removal of accreditation:
a. Merge the deficient program or programs with a program or programs from another accredited community college.
b. Contract with another educational institution for purposes of program delivery at the community college.
c. Discontinue the program or programs which have been identified as deficient.
6. The director of the department of education shall give a community college which has a program which fails to meet accreditation standards at least one year's notice prior to removal of accreditation of the program. The notice shall be given by certified mail or restricted certified mail addressed to the superintendent of the community college and shall specify the reasons for removal of accreditation of the program. The notice shall also be sent by ordinary mail to each member of the board of directors of the community college. Any good faith error or failure to comply with the notice requirements shall not affect the validity of any action by the director. If, during the year, the community college remedies the reasons for removal of accreditation of the program and satisfies the director that the community college will comply with the accreditation standards for that program in the future, the director shall continue the accreditation of the program of the community college and shall transmit notice of the action to the community college by certified mail or restricted certified mail.
7. The action of the director to remove a community college's accreditation of the program may be appealed to the state board. At the hearing, the community college may be represented by counsel and may present evidence. The state board may provide for the hearing to be recorded or reported. If requested by the community college at least ten days before the hearing, the state board shall provide for the hearing to be recorded or reported at the expense of the community college, using any reasonable method specified by the community college. Within ten days after the hearing, the state board shall render a written decision, and shall affirm, modify, or vacate the action or proposed action to remove the college's accreditation of the program. Action by the state board is final agency action for purposes of chapter 17A.
90 Acts, ch 1253, §49; 90 Acts, ch 1254, § 2 ~IC91, § 280A.47 ~I92 Acts, ch 1040, §1 ~IC93, § 260C.47 ~I93 Acts, ch 82, § 5, 6, 11
Referred to in § 260C.22B, 260C.47
© 1996 Cornell College and League of Women Voters of Iowa
Last update: Thu Feb 8 18:14:51 CST 1996