CCSF’s math department recovering after accreditation crisis

City College of San Francisco’s math department is bouncing back this fall with its highest enrollment yet after the school almost lost its accreditation two years ago.

Official enrollment numbers are not yet available for the fall semester, but the math department – which has typically boasted among the greatest number of students enrolled in credit courses – is projecting a 10 percent increase in enrollment since the spring semester last school year, said Dennis Piontkowski, the department’s chair.

The boost is a significant achievement for the once-thriving department after years of declining enrollment.

“The really good news is that we’re on an upswing,” Piontkowski said. “We went through years of decline because of the accreditation publicity, and now that City College is moving forward…the students are coming back.”

CCSF’s accreditor in 2013 announced the school would lose its accreditation, effective the following summer. That move was quickly blocked by the City Attorney’s Office, which sued the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges.

CCSF has since been given two more years to meet accrediting requirements thanks to a new policy called restoration status, and the school remains open and fully accredited today.

But while the threat of losing its accreditation was all but eliminated last school year, enrollment in math classes continued to decline until this semester, when both entry and higher level classes like calculus are seeing a major resurgence.

In fact, the department hired three new teachers for the fall semester and it has already been given the green light from the administration to hire two more full-time math instructors. That brings the total to about 35 full-time and 30 part-time teachers who offer more than 170 classes.

Piontkowski credits the dwindling accreditation crisis and an increased interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) classes.
“There’s been a lot of emphasis in STEM from everywhere from President Obama to studies that show we need to fight to maintain our edge over scientists in other countries,” Piontkowski said.

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