Presentation to the ACCJC Regarding Cuesta College's 
Comprehensive Review

January 8, 2015

On January 10, 2014, I informed you that we would be back again to visit with you in January 2015 as you, once again, act on the comprehensive accreditation status of Cuesta College.  I indicated that this would be the true demonstration of our commitment to sustainable practices, integrated planning, and continuous quality improvement.  I also indicated that Cuesta College would continue to value the guidance of the Commission and whole-heartedly supports professional self-regulation as the most effective means of assuring the integrity, effectiveness, and quality of our District. So we are back.

 On behalf of the students, faculty, staff, administration, and the Board of Trustees of the San Luis Obispo County Community College District, I want to thank you for the opportunity to be here today to reassure the Commission that Cuesta College has continued to make every effort to achieve and maintain compliance with the Commission’s Eligibility Requirements, Standards, and Policies.

It has been quite a journey since the last comprehensive self-evaluation in 2008 when Cuesta College was initially placed on sanction by this Commission in January 2009.  Over the past five Januarys, the Commission has deliberated over the efforts of Cuesta College to regain its reputation of being at the forefront of excellence.  You should know us very well by now and have witnessed the dramatic turn-around that has been achieved over the last four years.  The Board of Trustees has become an active player in all accreditation processes which has been made possible by the strong leadership of Trustee Mullen who has served as board president all during this period.  Over the last three years, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Deb Wulff has brought decisiveness and a commitment to evidence-based planning to the position of Accreditation Liaison Officer.  In addition, our Academic Senate President, Dr. Kevin Bontenbal, has ensured effective and meaningful faculty participation in the accreditation process. I would also hope that I have brought the necessary leadership to our District that is required to fully implement a sustainable planning and decision-making process that directly improves student learning and achievement.

The response from our college community after achieving sanction-free status by the action taken by this Commission a year ago, fueled an energized completion of our comprehensive self-evaluation.  We were very proud of our report which was supported by over 1,569 pieces of evidence.  Our faculty, staff, administration, students, Trustees, and community were eager for the team visit in late September.  Individuals volunteered to be interviewed and went through our internal mock-interview process to prepare them for the visit.  Those who were not asked to be interviewed were actually disappointed.  As superintendent/president, I can attest to the transformation that has occurred throughout the District.  We now have a viable Educational Master Plan, a Facilities Master Plan, a Strategic Plan, an Integrated Planning Manual, and a Participatory Governance and Decision-Making Handbook.  Specific training has been conducted with all staff regarding the integrated planning process, how it affects decision-making, and its ultimate impact on resource allocation that leads to improvement of student, program, and institutional outcomes.  These are plans and processes that I consider “president proof.”  

The Board of Trustees  has continued its accreditation training efforts which have become imbedded in its annual Board Development Plan.  In addition, the Board, under the leadership of Trustee Mullen, has developed its own strategic plan with accountability features, timelines, and assessment components. The Board of Trustees and I are fully committed to provide the necessary leadership to guide the District’s resources toward the evaluation, improvement and sustainability of these efforts.

The visiting team report substantiates our sustained efforts to achieve compliance of all Eligibility Requirements, Standards, and Policies.  We were pleased with the seven commendations noted by the visiting team and were not surprised by the one compliance recommendation relative to distance education in Standard IIA.  We also appreciated the four areas that the team noted where we could increase effectiveness to be even a stronger college.

The Board of Trustees, the faculty and staff, and I, as superintendent/president, are equally, if not more confident, that Cuesta College has demonstrated its sustained efforts to establish the “burden of proof” as to why its accreditation should be reaffirmed. Since the visiting team was at Cuesta College and Dr. Wyse gave his exit report to our staff on October 3, the feeling of pride, accomplishment and ownership among our employees has been evident.

One day, in the next few years when I decide to retire again, I will also feel a sense of pride, accomplishment, but not ownership.  The institution and its people own the processes and plans by which it makes decisions and allocates resources.  With that realization, my 50 year career at Cuesta College will be complete.

We thank you, again, for the opportunity to be here today and hope you will give my comments serious consideration during your deliberation of Cuesta College’s accreditation status.


Dr. Gil Stork

Deborah Wulff
Vice President Academic Affairs
Cuesta College 
805 546-3122


College Communications Archive