TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The Higher Learning Commission notified Pima Community College this week that it is on probation. Probation means that Pima must make some prescribed changes in order to keep its accreditation. Accreditation is what gives value to the credits that Pima students earn, and allows those students to transfer them to state universities like U of A, ASU, and NAU. Right now, those schools have made it clear that they will continue to recognize the credits that students earn at Pima.
"It's a little bit nerve-wracking to hear about that, so hopefully it all gets squared away, though," said PCC student Mohammed Hansen.
"I believe it's really just the top administration that has caused this entire problem. i don't feel it's from the educational standpoint or teachers on down," said PCC student Pamela A. Anderson.
Pima Community College's probation with the Higher Learning Commission comes after allegations of sexual harrasment against former chancellor Roy Flores, and the commission's finding that Pima administration has a hostile work environment. But the commission had no concerns about educational quality at Pima.
"Nothing is going to change in terms of transfer credits. Courses that they took last year and this year and next year are still going to transfer just as they always have," said PCC provost Dr. Jerry Migler.
By August, Pima must strengthen faculty input on changes to student placement and strengthen how it handles complaints. Over the next year, Pima must also make changes to ensure it operates with integrity and follows fair ethical policies.
"As I've shared with our folks, it's going to be stressful, probably going to be a little bit painful, but ultimately we all agree we will emerge a stronger college," Dr. Migler said.
"I believe it will come out stronger. I guess my gut feeling si for the instructors and administration here that is trying to take over. I just hope and pray they have a good success with what they're about to do," Anderson said.
"I'm just going to keep going to school like I usually do and hopefully everything turns out for the best," Hansen said.
Migler said that the HLC likely does not want Pima to lose its accreditation, and that the two bodies will work together over the next two years. HLC's final vote on Pima's accreditation will be in February 2015.