FREMONT -- Ohlone College has earned eight commendations for displaying "academic quality and institutional effectiveness," according to a report that reaffirms its accreditation for the next six years.

Ohlone's accreditation, which will run until 2020, ensures that it remains eligible for state funding and that its students can receive financial aid and transfer their credits to other colleges.

The accreditation report also recommended several improvements for the Fremont community college.

"The college does meet or exceed standards," said Eliza Chan, spokeswoman for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, which reviews 117 campuses statewide. "However, the whole idea behind accreditation is to have continuous improvement."

Students file through the student services building on the campus of Ohlone College on Aug. 31, 2009, in Fremont.(Aric Crabb/Staff file)
Students file through the student services building on the campus of Ohlone College on Aug. 31, 2009, in Fremont. (Aric Crabb/Staff file)

The commission praised Ohlone for offering services for deaf students, constructing environmentally sustainable buildings and improving the "ongoing education and development" by the board of trustees for its members.

But it also called for the college to do more for students.

"The report was good news," Ohlone College President Gari Browning said. "The accreditation process is a lot of work but it's helped us improve our board and other parts of the college that otherwise would be more difficult to do."

Ohlone College has 16,500 students, about 650 employees and a $55 million annual budget.

This year's report was much more positive than the 2008 version, which warned that the board of trustees' dysfunction and micromanagement threatened its approval. Given another chance the following year, the college received accreditation.


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"We feel very proud that we got a commendation regarding our board," Browning said. "The board once had caused us to be put on warning, and now we've come all the way to getting a commendation for it."

The new accreditation report, issued earlier this month, followed a challenging year in which the nine-member board unexpectedly lost two members. Kevin Bristow took a job in Merced and board President Garrett Yee, an Army Reserve brigadier general, was sent overseas for a year of duty in Kuwait.

The 69-page report had some criticism, as well.

The commission listed seven deficiencies, including three that the college must demonstrate it has solved in a follow-up report next March.

Ohlone must establish a minimum standard for student achievement, make student learning a part of faculty evaluation, and create a plan for support services for students that shows how the college makes a measurable difference in their success, Browning said.

"There are always recommendations in accreditation reports," she said. "And we had already begun analyzing how to solve those ones (before the report)."

Contact Chris De Benedetti at 510-353-7011. Follow him at Twitter.com/cdebenedetti.