Evaluator Webinar
Seeking Accreditation Visits and Special Visits
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
Please join the audio portion of this training:
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Your Hosts for Today
Barbara Gross Davis
[email protected]
Richard Osborn
[email protected]
Maureen Maloney
[email protected]
Richard Winn
[email protected]
Christopher Oberg
[email protected]
Six chairs
Four assistant chairs
Three first time team members
Thirteen experienced team members
Sixteen team members visiting 11
Overview of accreditation processes
WSCUC Standards
Preparing for the visit
Conducting the visit
Developing team commendations and
Writing team reports
Completing the process
Tools and resources
At the end of the webinar, participants
will be able to:
Identify what makes a good team member
Prepare for and conduct an effective visit
List characteristics of a useful high-quality team
Make sound judgments about institutions under
the Standards
Locate tools and resources for visits
Overview of Accreditation Processes
Seeking Accreditation (How to Become Accredited)
Seeking Accreditation Visit (SAV)
Reaffirming Accreditation (Handbook of Accreditation)
Comprehensive Review (OSR and AV)
Special Visit (SV)
Resource Manuals
Evaluator Guide for Institutions Seeking to
Become Accredited
Evaluator Guide for Special Visits
Institutions Seeking
American University of Health Sciences (SAV 1)
California Health Sciences University (SAV 1)
Life Chiropractic College West (SAV 1)
Northcentral University (SAV 1)
Reach Institute for School Leadership (SAV 1)
California Southern University (SAV 2)
Henley-Putnam University (SAV 2)
Rudolf Steiner College (SAV 3)
Summary of Seeking
Accreditation Process
Achieving Eligibility:
• Institutions must meet 16 eligibility criteria
• Eligibility granted for 5 years
Achieving Candidacy:
• No longer necessary to achieve Candidacy before Initial
• Institution achieves Candidacy if it meets the four Standards at a
minimal (not a substantial) level in 1, 2, or X visits
• Visits continue until institution is in substantial compliance with all
four Standards and achieves Initial Accreditation
• Subsequent visits focus only on those Standards/CFRs not found to
be in substantial compliance
• Candidacy granted for 5 years
Summary of Seeking
Accreditation Process (continued)
Achieving Initial Accreditation:
• No longer necessary to achieve Candidacy before Initial
• Initial accreditation can be achieved in 1, 2, 3, or X visits
• For each visit beyond the first, the team will only focus on
Standards/CFRs not found to be in substantial compliance
• Once substantial compliance with four Standards is found
by the team and confirmed by the Commission, Initial
Accreditation can be granted
Institutions with
Special Visits
Ashford University
Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science
Meridian University
Patten University
The Wright Institute
Summary of Special Visit Process
Commission authorizes Special Visit following a
comprehensive review or issuance of a Notice of Concern
or Sanction
Focus of visit is on specific areas or topics determined by
the Commission letter
Narrow in scope
Framed by the standards
Overview of accreditation processes
WSCUC Standards
Preparing for the visit
Conducting the visit
Developing team commendations and
Writing team reports
Completing the process
Tools and resources
2013 Core Commitments and
Standards of Accreditation
Three Core Commitments
Four Standards
Criteria for Review (CFR)
2013 Core
• Student Learning and Success
• Quality and Improvement
• Institutional Integrity,
Sustainability, and Accountability
Core Commitment:
Student Learning and
“Institutions have clear educational goals
and student learning outcomes….Institutions
support the success of all students and seek
to understand and improve student
Core Commitment:
Quality and Improvement
“Institutions are committed to high standards
of quality in all of their educational
activities…. Institutions demonstrate the
capacity to fulfill their current commitments
and future needs and opportunities.”
Core Commitment:
Institutional Integrity,
Sustainability, and
“…Institutions engage in sound
business practices, demonstrate
institutional integrity, operate in a
transparent manner, and adapt to
changing conditions.”
2013 Standards of
Standard 1
Standard 2
Standard 3
Standard 4
Standard 1:
Defining Institutional Purposes and
Ensuring Educational Objectives
Institutional Purpose
Integrity and Transparency
Standard 2:
Achieving Educational Objectives
Through Core Functions
• Teaching and Learning
• Scholarship and Creative Activity
• Student Learning and Success
Standard 3:
Developing and Applying Resources and Organizational
Structures to Ensure Quality and Sustainability
• Faculty and Staff
• Fiscal, Physical, and Information Resources
• Organizational Structures and Decision-making Processes
Standard 4:
Creating an Organization Committed to Quality
Assurance, Institutional Learning, and Improvement
• Quality Assurance Processes
• Institutional Learning and Improvement
Criteria for Review (CFR)
• Provide statements about the meaning of
the Standard
• Are cited by institutions in their report, by
teams in evaluating institutions, and by the
Commission in making decisions
• Offer examples of how an institution can address
a particular CFR
• Are not requirements or mandatory
A March through the
Standard 1
Defining Institutional Purposes and Ensuring
Educational Objectives
The institution defines its purposes and establishes
educational objectives aligned with those purposes.
The institution has a clear and explicit sense of its
essential values and character, its distinctive
elements, its place in both the higher education
community and society, and its contribution to the
public good. It functions with integrity,
transparency, and autonomy.
CFR 1.1
Institutional Purposes
1.1 The institution’s formally approved
statements of purpose are appropriate
for an institution of higher education
and clearly define its essential values
and character and ways in which it
contributes to the public good.
The institution has a published mission
statement that clearly describes its
The institution’s purposes fall within
recognized academic areas and/or
• A review under WSCUC begins with
and respects the mission of the
• A key question: “How well is the
institution fulfilling its own
• Institutional mission is often
reflected in institution-level learning
outcomes (ILOs)
• Institutions that rely in any way on
government support are expected to
contribute to the benefit of the larger
society – the “public good”
CFR 1.2
Institutional Purposes
1.2 Educational objectives are widely
recognized throughout the institution,
are consistent with stated purposes, and
are demonstrably achieved. The
institution regularly generates,
evaluates, and makes public data about
student achievement, including
measures of retention and graduation,
and evidence of student learning
• The fundamental purpose of an
educational institution is learning
• WSCUC is continuing a shift in
focus from inputs to outputs
• Output data should be intentional,
aligned with mission, and broadly
deployed across the institution
• Outcomes must be sufficiently clear
to be measurable
• WSCUS is committed to institutional
transparency – to making known
how well an institution is achieving
its goals
CFR 1.3
Integrity and Transparency
1.3 The institution publicly states its
commitment to academic freedom for
faculty, staff, and students, and acts
accordingly. This commitment affirms
that those in the academy are free to
share their convictions and responsible
conclusions with their colleagues and
students in their teaching and writing.
The institution has published or has
readily available policies on academic
freedom. For those institutions that
strive to instill specific beliefs and
world views, policies clearly state how
these views are implemented and
ensure that these conditions are
consistent with generally recognized
principles of academic freedom. Dueprocess procedures are disseminated,
demonstrating that faculty and students
are protected in their quest for truth.
• A core value of higher education is
the pursuit of knowledge as reflected
in dealing honestly with evidence in
an environment of safety and
• Faith-based institutions may hold
prior convictions about evidence;
these should be made clear in
advance to students, faculty, and
CFR 1.4
Integrity and
1.4 Consistent with its purposes and
character, the institution demonstrates
an appropriate response to the
increasing diversity in society through
its policies, its educational and cocurricular programs, its hiring and
admissions criteria, and its
administrative and organizational
The institution has demonstrated
institutional commitment to the
principles enunciated in the WASC
Diversity Policy.
• WSCUS considers three elements of
– Numeric approximation to target
– Inclusion in the curriculum and
– Actual experience of underrepresented students, faculty and
• The institution can document
Intentional planning, persons
responsible, budgets and other
evidences of goals and strategies
CFR 1.5
Integrity and Transparency
1.5 Even when supported by or
affiliated with governmental,
corporate, or religious organizations,
the institution has education as its
primary purpose and operates as an
academic institution with appropriate
The institution does not experience
interference in substantive decisions or
educational functions by governmental,
religious, corporate, or other external
bodies that have a relationship to the
• Operational and academic autonomy
means that the institution is
appropriately protected from
pressures and influence from outside
the institution’s own governance
policies and processes
• The scope of WSCUC’s role is
limited to the institution that it
accredits and not to parent or
sponsoring entities
• The interactions between the
institution and sponsoring entities are
subject to review
CFR 1.6
Integrity and Transparency
1.6 The institution truthfully represents its
academic goals, programs, services, and
costs to students and to the larger public.
The institution demonstrates that its
academic programs can be completed in a
timely fashion. The institution treats
students fairly and equitably through
established policies and procedures
addressing student conduct, grievances,
human subjects in research, disability, and
financial matters, including refunds and
financial aid.
The institution has published or has
readily available policies on student
grievances and complaints, refunds, etc.
The institution does not have a history of
adverse findings against it with respect to
violation of these policies. Records of
student complaints are maintained for a
six-year period. The institution clearly
defines and distinguishes between the
different types of credits it offers and
between degree and non-degree credit,
and accurately identifies the type and
meaning of the credit awarded in its
transcripts. The institution’s policy on
grading and student evaluation is clearly
stated and provides opportunity for appeal
as needed.
• The institution has high ethical
obligations to multiple
constituencies: students, employers,
taxpayers, families, and the larger
• These obligations are defined and
codified in clear and readily
accessible policies
• The institution can document that
published policies are followed.
CFR 1.7
Integrity and Transparency
1.7 The institution exhibits integrity
and transparency in its operations, as
demonstrated by the adoption and
implementation of appropriate policies
and procedures, sound business
practices, timely and fair responses to
complaints and grievances, and regular
evaluation of its performance in these
areas. The institution’s finances are
regularly audited by qualified
independent auditors.
• Financial integrity and sustainability
are key concerns for a WSCUS
• Higher education practice is complex
and changing and is best reviewed by
auditors with experience in the
higher education sector
• WSCUC does not monitor financial
aid under Title IV but is notified if
FSA auditors report serious findings
CFR 1.8
Integrity and Transparency
1.8 The institution is committed to
honest and open communication with
the Accrediting Commission; to
undertaking the accreditation review
process with seriousness and candor; to
informing the Commission promptly of
any matter that could materially affect
the accreditation status of the
institution; and to abiding by
Commission policies and procedures,
including all substantive change
• The institution should have a
formally approved statement on file
that commits it to open, candid, and
prompt communication with
• The ALO is expected to remain
current on reporting policies,
application processes for substantive
change, and other formal interactions
with WSCUC
Standard 2.
Achieving Educational Objectives
Through Core Functions
The institution achieves its purposes and attains its
educational objectives at the institutional and
program level through the core functions of
teaching and learning, scholarship and creative
activity, and support for student learning and
success. The institution demonstrates that these
core functions are performed effectively by
evaluating valid and reliable evidence of learning
and by supporting the success of every student.
CFR 2.1
Teaching and Learning
2.1 The institution’s educational
programs are appropriate in content,
standards of performance, rigor, and
nomenclature for the degree level
awarded, regardless of mode of
delivery. They are staffed by sufficient
numbers of faculty qualified for the
type and level of curriculum offered.
The content, length, and standards of
the institution’s academic programs
conform to recognized disciplinary or
professional standards and are subject
to peer review.
• An institution accredited by WSCUC
is expected to operate using accepted
conventions, definitions, and practice
within the higher education
• A clarified emphasis: The meaning,
quality, and integrity of each degree
• The design and expression of these
elements are the responsibility of the
institution’s faculty
CFR 2.2
Teaching and Learning
2.2 All degrees—undergraduate and
graduate—awarded by the institution
are clearly defined in terms of entrylevel requirements and levels of
student achievement necessary for
graduation that represent more than
simply an accumulation of courses or
credits. The institution has both a
coherent philosophy, expressive of its
mission, which guides the meaning of
its degrees and processes that ensure
the quality and integrity of its degrees.
• Each degree is more than an
aggregation of units; it represents a
coherent and intentional learning
• The following sub-sections express
how this is applied for both
undergraduate and graduate
education – which WSCUC views as
qualitatively different form of
learning in terms of rigor and levels
of student performance.
CFR 2.2a
Teaching and Learning
2.2a Baccalaureate programs engage
students in an integrated course of study
of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare
them for work, citizenship, and life-long
learning. These programs ensure the
development of core competencies
including, but not limited to, written and
oral communication, quantitative
reasoning, information literacy, and
critical thinking. In addition,
baccalaureate programs actively foster
creativity, innovation, an appreciation for
diversity, ethical and civic responsibility,
civic engagement, and the ability to work
with others. Baccalaureate programs also
ensure breadth for all students in cultural
and aesthetic, social and political, and
scientific and technical knowledge
expected of educated persons.
Undergraduate degrees include significant
in-depth study in a given area of
knowledge (typically described in terms
of a program or major).
The institution has a program of General
Education that is integrated throughout the
curriculum, including at the upper
division level, together with significant indepth study in a given area of knowledge
(typically described in terms of a program
or major).
• What is commonly known as the
“general education” component of a
baccalaureate degree is defined in
terms of competencies, in addition to
or rather than prescribed units
• Institutions are expected to be able to
define, set performance standards
for, assess, and report on the five
core competencies
• Competencies should be integrated
across the curriculum and assessed
near the conclusion of the student’s
baccalaureate career.
• Institutions are free to choose
assessment methods such as
capstones or e-portfolios.
CFR 2.2b
Teaching and Learning
2.2b The institution’s graduate
programs establish clearly stated
objectives differentiated from and more
advanced than undergraduate programs
in terms of admissions, curricula,
standards of performance, and student
learning outcomes. Graduate programs
foster students’ active engagement
with the literature of the field and
create a culture that promotes the
importance of scholarship and/or
professional practice. Ordinarily, a
baccalaureate degree is required for
admission to a graduate program.
Institutions offering graduate-level
programs employ, at least, one fulltime faculty member for each graduate
degree program offered and have a
preponderance of the faculty holding
the relevant terminal degree in the
discipline. Institutions demonstrate that
there is a sufficient number of faculty
members to exert collective
responsibility for the development and
evaluation of the curricula, academic
policies, and teaching and mentoring of
• Full-time faculty must be sufficient
to “anchor” the academic processes
such as policy development, program
review, and operational oversight
• WSCUS recognizes the value of
adjuncts, especially in applied
professional areas
• Graduate programs can “make their
case” about faculty composition and
describe how adjuncts participate in
key academic decisions
• Program faculty define and report on
key outcomes, performance
standards, assessment approaches,
and assessment results.
CFR 2.3
Teaching and Learning
2.3 The institution’s student learning
outcomes and standards of
performance are clearly stated at the
course, program, and, as appropriate,
institutional level. These outcomes and
standards are reflected in academic
programs, policies, and curricula, and
are aligned with advisement, library,
and information and technology
resources, and the wider learning
The institution is responsible for
ensuring that out-of-class learning
experiences, such as clinical work,
service learning, and internships,
which receive credit, are adequately
resourced, well developed, and subject
to appropriate oversight.
• The learning experience is designed,
owned, and assessed by all relevant
units at the institution
• Sustained and productive
conversations among these units are
CFR 2.4
Teaching and Learning
.4 The institution’s student learning
outcomes and standards of
performance are developed by faculty
and widely shared among faculty,
students, staff, and (where appropriate)
external stakeholders. The institution’s
faculty take collective responsibility
for establishing appropriate standards
of performance and demonstrating
through assessment the achievement of
these standards.
Student learning outcomes are
reflected in course syllabi.
• Well-crafted learning outcomes at
each level are the basis for analysis
of the academic enterprise as a whole
• The “unit of analysis” for outcomes
may be the institution, the college or
division, the program, the course,
and/or the student.
• Alternatively, analysis may follow a
single outcome (e.g., writing)
through multiple levels.
• Skill in defining and using highquality student learning outcomes
(SLOs) is a hallmark of a mature
CFR 2.5
Teaching and Learning
2.5 The institution’s academic
programs actively involve students in
learning, take into account students’
prior knowledge of the subject matter,
challenge students to meet high
standards of performance, offer
opportunities for them to practice,
generalize, and apply what they have
learned, and provide them with
appropriate and ongoing feedback
about their performance and how it can
be improved.
• Highly developed pedagogy,
informed by current research and
involving complex skills on the part
of faculty, is linked closely with
institutional effectiveness
• Program reviews should inform both
curricular and pedagogical
• Faculty will display skill in
producing and using providing both
formative and summative
CFR 2.6
Teaching and Learning
2.6 The institution demonstrates that its
graduates consistently achieve its
stated learning outcomes and
established standards of performance.
The institution ensures that its
expectations for student learning are
embedded in the standards that faculty
use to evaluate student work.
The institution has an assessment
infrastructure adequate to assess
student learning at program and
institution levels.
• Assessments aligned with outcomes
are key to measuring SLO
achievement. Current preferred
practice calls for direct assessments.
• Rubrics define levels of achievement
or performance, lead to consistency
of scoring among faculty, and inform
student learning efforts
• Creating curriculum maps ensures
the alignment of the instructional and
assessment efforts across all courses
in a program
• “Infrastructure” may include an
assessment committee, assessment
coordinator, technology, policies
ensuring use of results, etc.
CFR 2.7
Teaching and Learning
2.7 All programs offered by the institution
are subject to systematic program review. The
program review process includes, but is not
limited to, analyses of student achievement of
the program’s learning outcomes; retention
and graduation rates; and, where appropriate,
results of licensing examination and
placement, and evidence from external
constituencies such as employers and
professional organizations.
• Characteristics of expected program
– Well-planned in terms of required data,
evaluative processes, and outcomes
– Calendared
– Actionable results leading to
– Inclusive (faculty, employers, alumni,
student input, etc.)
– Including achievement, completion, and
(if available) placement data –
disaggregated to ensure equal outcomes
for all categories
– Also included: traditional inputs &
processes, e.g., faculty publications,
learning resources, community service,
curriculum review
– External evaluator(s) now the norm
CFR 2.8
Scholarship and Creative
2.8 The institution clearly defines
expectations for research, scholarship,
and creative activity for its students
and all categories of faculty. The
institution actively values and
promotes scholarship, creative activity,
and curricular and instructional
innovation, and their dissemination
appropriate to the institution’s
purposes and character.
Where appropriate, the institution
includes in its policies for faculty
promotion and tenure the recognition
of scholarship related to teaching,
learning, assessment, and co-curricular
• Faculty roles should not privilege
research but also value teaching and
• “Research and creative activity” can
include scholarship leading to
innovations in pedagogy and
• Co-curricular learning should reflect
these same values
CFR 2.9
Scholarship and Creative
2.9 The institution recognizes and
promotes appropriate linkages among
scholarship, teaching, assessment,
student learning, and service.
• This CFR addresses policies and
practice regarding faculty promotion
and tenure
• As appropriate, such policies include
considerations beyond just research
CFR 2.10
Student Learning and Success
2.10 The institution demonstrates that
students make timely progress toward
the completion of their degrees and
that an acceptable proportion of
students complete their degrees in a
timely fashion, given the institution’s
mission, the nature of the students it
serves, and the kinds of programs it
offers. The institution collects and
analyzes student data, disaggregated by
appropriate demographic categories
and areas of study. It tracks
achievement, satisfaction, and the
extent to which the campus climate
supports student success. The
institution regularly identifies the
characteristics of its students; assesses
their preparation, needs, and
experiences; and uses these data to
improve student achievement.
The institution disaggregates data
according to racial, ethnic, gender, age,
economic status, disability, and other
categories, as appropriate. The
institution benchmarks its retention and
graduation rates against its own
aspirations as well as the rates of peer
• Educational effectiveness is a
measurable goal and improvement
can be demonstrated
• Disaggregation of data ensures that
all student subpopulations are
attaining comparable levels of
• Collection, dissemination, and
analysis of key data informs planning
and resource allocation
CFR 2.11
Student Learning and
2.11 Consistent with its purposes, the
institution offers co-curricular
programs that are aligned with its
academic goals, integrated with
academic programs, and designed to
support all students’ personal and
professional development. The
institution assesses the effectiveness of
its co-curricular programs and uses the
results for improvement.
• What happens outside the formal
classroom setting can have a
powerful impact on the learning
• Often co-curricular learning
contributes most powerfully to
institutional-level learning outcomes,
such as service, health, leadership,
ethical decisions, etc.
• Co-curricular learning should be both
intentional and assessed
CFR 2.12
Student Learning and
2.12 The institution ensures that all
students understand the requirements
of their academic programs and receive
timely, useful, and complete
information and advising about
relevant academic requirements.
Recruiting materials and advertising
truthfully portray the institution.
Students have ready access to accurate,
current, and complete information
about admissions, degree requirements,
course offerings, and educational costs.
• There is heightened national concern
about students enrolling, incurring
debt, then dropping out without a
• Recruiting practices should be
ethical, transparent
• The institution must assume an
appropriate share of responsibility in
addressing concerns about retention,
degree completion, and debt
• This applies equally to both forprofit and non-profit institutions
CFR 2.13
Student Learning and
2.13 The institution provides academic
and other student support services such
as tutoring, services for students with
disabilities, financial aid counseling,
career counseling and placement,
residential life, athletics, and other
services and programs as appropriate,
which meet the needs of the specific
types of students that the institution
serves and the programs it offers.
• This underscores the institution’s
role in supporting the “completion
agenda” for students’ success
• This CFR is a focus for institutions
with low or declining graduation
CFR 2.14
Student Learning and
2.14 Institutions that serve transfer
students provide clear, accurate, and
timely information, ensure equitable
treatment under academic policies,
provide such students access to student
services, and ensure that they are not
unduly disadvantaged by the transfer
Formal policies or articulation
agreements are developed with feeder
institutions that minimize the loss of
credits through transfer credits.
• WSCUC does not prescribe numbers
of allowable transfer units
• Expected: Well-developed and
consistently applied policies that
seek to advantage the student
whenever appropriate
Standard 3
Developing and Applying Resources and Organizational
Structures to Ensure Quality and Sustainability
The institution sustains its operations and supports the
achievement of its educational objectives through
investments in human, physical, fiscal, technological, and
information resources and through an appropriate and
effective set of organizational and decision-making
structures. These key resources and organizational
structures promote the achievement of institutional
purposes and educational objectives and create a highquality environment for learning.
CFR 3.1
Faculty and Staff
3.1 The institution employs faculty and
staff with substantial and continuing
commitment to the institution. The
faculty and staff are sufficient in
number, professional qualification, and
diversity to achieve the institution’s
educational objectives, establish and
oversee academic policies, and ensure
the integrity and continuity of its
academic and co-curricular programs
wherever and however delivered.
The institution has a faculty staffing
plan that ensures that all faculty roles
and responsibilities are fulfilled and
includes a sufficient number of fulltime faculty members with appropriate
backgrounds by discipline and degree
• It is incumbent on the institution to
demonstrate adequate staffing for
each program, given the broad
national shift toward increased
reliance on adjunct/part-time and
non-tenure track faculty
• Some institutions are using “faculty
adequacy models” to guide planning
CFR 3.2
Faculty and Staff
3.2 Faculty and staff recruitment,
hiring, orientation, workload,
incentives, and evaluation practices are
aligned with institutional purposes and
educational objectives. Evaluation is
consistent with best practices in
performance appraisal, including
multisource feedback and appropriate
peer review. Faculty evaluation
processes are systematic and are used
to improve teaching and learning.
• Policies are in place ensuring both
fair and purposeful evaluation and
promotion for faculty
• Evaluation protocols and criteria
reflect broad higher education
CFR 3.3
Faculty and Staff
3.3 The institution maintains
appropriate and sufficiently supported
faculty and staff development activities
designed to improve teaching, learning,
and assessment of learning outcomes.
The institution engages full-time, nontenure-track, adjunct, and part-time
faculty members in such processes as
assessment, program review, and
faculty development.
• Expresses the WSCUC view of
higher education institutions as
“learning organizations”
• Development not limited to the onsite, full-time faculty but to all who
are engaged in deploying the
learning experience
CFR 3.4
Fiscal, Physical, and
Information Resources
3.4 The institution is financially stable
and has unqualified independent
financial audits and resources
sufficient to ensure long-term viability.
Resource planning and development
include realistic budgeting, enrollment
management, and diversification of
revenue sources. Resource planning is
integrated with all other institutional
planning. Resources are aligned with
educational purposes and objectives.
The institution has functioned without
an operational deficit for at least three
years. If the institution has an
accumulated deficit, it should provide a
detailed explanation and a realistic plan
for eliminating it.
• The institution demonstrates how it
links planning and budgeting with
mission, program review, etc.
• WSCUC is very alert to trends that
threaten sustainability and
effectiveness of the educational
mission, such as:
Declining enrollments
Explosively growing enrollments
Threatening legal or legislative actions
Rapid depletion of endowments
Undetected changes in the higher
education environment
CFR 3.5
Fiscal, Physical, and
Information Resources
3.5 The institution provides access to
information and technology resources
sufficient in scope, quality, currency,
and kind at physical sites and online, as
appropriate, to support its academic
offerings and the research and
scholarship of its faculty, staff, and
students. These information resources,
services, and facilities are consistent
with the institution’s educational
objectives and are aligned with student
learning outcomes.
The institution provides training and
support for faculty members who use
technology in instruction. Institutions
offering graduate programs have
sufficient fiscal, physical, information,
and technology resources and
structures to sustain these programs
and to create and maintain a graduatelevel academic culture.
• The proper deployment of current
technology, with training in its uses,
is increasingly critical
• Faculty engagement and
development to ensure the alignment
of technology with academic practice
are critical
CFR 3.6
Organization Structures and
Decision-Making Processes
3.6 The institution’s leadership, at all levels,
is characterized by integrity, high
performance, appropriate responsibility, and
• Concerns in this area may surface
through the confidential email
messages sent to a site team at the
time of the site visit.
• Third-party communications to
WSCUC may also surface concerns
CFR 3.7
Organization Structures and
Decision-Making Processes
3.7 The institution’s organizational
structures and decision-making
processes are clear and consistent with
its purposes, support effective decision
making, and place priority on
sustaining institutional capacity and
educational effectiveness.
The institution establishes clear roles,
responsibilities, and lines of authority.
• This CFR includes the relationship
between executive leadership and the
institution’s board
CFR 3.8
Organization Structures and
Decision-Making Processes
3.8 The institution has a full-time chief
executive officer and a chief financial
officer whose primary or full-time
responsibilities are to the institution. In
addition, the institution has a sufficient
number of other qualified
administrators to provide effective
educational leadership and
• This is a particular concern for new
institutions with small budgets for
executive leadership and/or the same
individual serving in multiple roles
• Many institutions engage with the
Association of Governing Boards
(AGB) for guidance in leadership
and governance matters
CFR 3.9
Organization Structures and
Decision-Making Processes
3.9 The institution has an independent
governing board or similar authority
that, consistent with its legal and
fiduciary authority, exercises
appropriate oversight over institutional
integrity, policies, and ongoing
operations, including hiring and
evaluating the chief executive officer.
The governing body comprises
members with the diverse
qualifications required to govern an
institution of higher learning. It
regularly engages in self-review and
training to enhance its effectiveness.
• See: WSCUC Policy on Independent
Governing Boards
• Consider AGB training
• Attend WSCUS Workshop for
Presidents and Board Members
• Teams expect operational
committees of the Board, e.g.,
– Nominating/membership
– Finance and Audit
– Education
• Regular, good practice Board review
of the CEO is expected
CFR 3.10
Organization Structures and
Decision-Making Processes
3.10 The institution’s faculty exercises
effective academic leadership and acts
consistently to ensure that both
academic quality and the institution’s
educational purposes and character are
The institution clearly defines the
governance roles, rights, and
responsibilities of all categories of fulland part-time faculty.
• Faculty governance, at minimum,
must own the academic processes of
the institution
• No single model, such as “Faculty
Senate,” is required so long as the
functionality can be demonstrated
Standard 4
Creating an Organization Committed to Quality
Assurance, Institutional Learning, and Improvement
The institution engages in sustained, evidence-based,
and participatory self-reflection about how effectively it
is accomplishing its purposes and achieving its
educational objectives. The institution considers the
changing environment of higher education in
envisioning its future. These activities inform both
institutional planning and systematic evaluations of
educational effectiveness. The results of institutional
inquiry, research, and data collection are used to
establish priorities, to plan, and to improve quality and
CFR 4.1
Quality Assurance Processes
4.1 The institution employs a
deliberate set of quality-assurance
processes in both academic and nonacademic areas, including new
curriculum and program approval
processes, periodic program review,
assessment of student learning, and
other forms of ongoing evaluation.
These processes include: collecting,
analyzing, and interpreting data;
tracking learning results over time;
using comparative data from external
sources; and improving structures,
services, processes, curricula,
pedagogy, and learning results.
• Standard 4 stresses aspects of the
institution as a “learning
• “Quality assurance” (for the benefit
of external stakeholders) and “quality
improvement” (an internal priority
relevant to all units) are intentional,
budgeted, and regularly reviewed for
• Focus here is on both the processes
(how it is done) and the outcomes
(results) achieved by doing it
CFR 4.2
Quality Assurance Processes
4.2 The institution has institutional
research capacity consistent with its
purposes and characteristics. Data are
disseminated internally and externally
in a timely manner, and analyzed,
interpreted, and incorporated in
institutional review, planning, and
decision-making. Periodic reviews are
conducted to ensure the effectiveness
of the institutional research function
and the suitability and usefulness of the
data generated.
• This CFR expects a dedicated,
informed, supported, and evaluated
Institutional Research function
engaging continuously with all
relevant institutional operations
• It assumes that each relevant unit is
involved in identifying the key data
needed, obtaining and analyzing
these data, and making decisions
based on the data
CFR 4.3
Institutional Learning
and Improvement
4.3 Leadership at all levels, including
faculty, staff, and administration, is
committed to improvement based on
the results of inquiry, evidence, and
evaluation. Assessment of teaching,
learning, and the campus
environment—in support of academic
and co-curricular objectives—is
undertaken, used for improvement, and
incorporated into institutional planning
The institution has clear, wellestablished policies and practices—for
gathering, analyzing, and interpreting
information—that create a culture of
evidence and improvement.
• WSCUC is recognized for
introducing the concept of a “culture
of evidence” into higher education
• Institutional research personnel
should have sufficient operational
authority to create this culture
• Administration, faculty, and other
staff may require development in
order to make full use of data and
CFR 4.4
Institutional Learning and
4.4 The institution, with significant
faculty involvement, engages in
ongoing inquiry into the processes of
teaching and learning, and the
conditions and practices that ensure
that the standards of performance
established by the institution are being
achieved. The faculty and other
educators take responsibility for
evaluating the effectiveness of teaching
and learning processes and uses the
results for improvement of student
learning and success. The findings
from such inquiries are applied to the
design and improvement of curricula,
pedagogy, and assessment
Periodic analysis of grades and
evaluation procedures are conducted to
assess the rigor and effectiveness of
grading policies and practices.
• Quality improvement processes need
to be systematic, inclusive, and
linked to strategic planning and
budget activities
• Plans must ensure “closing the loop”
so that performance indicators are in
fact actionable
• Grading plays a role in assessing
learning, but relying on grading
alone and reporting on grades are not
CFR 4.5
Institutional Learning
and Improvement
4.5 Appropriate stakeholders, including
alumni, employers, practitioners,
students, and others designated by the
institution, are regularly involved in the
assessment and alignment of
educational programs.
• Institutional effectiveness is
informed by the perspectives of
multiple stakeholders, both internal
and external
CFR 4.6
Institutional Learning
and Improvement
4.6 The institution periodically engages
its multiple constituencies, including
the governing board, faculty, staff, and
others, in institutional reflection and
planning processes that are based on
the examination of data and evidence.
These processes assess the institution’s
strategic position, articulate priorities,
examine the alignment of its purposes,
core functions, and resources, and
define the future direction of the
• This CFR speaks to multiple forums
and occasions for data-supported
conversations about effectiveness
and improvement
• Such conversations must be linked to
budget processes and strategic
CFR 4.7
Institutional Learning
and Improvement
4.7. Within the context of its mission
and structural and financial realities,
the institution considers changes that
are currently taking place and are
anticipated to take place within the
institution and higher education
environment as part of its planning,
new program development, and
resource allocation.
• Institutions are expected to develop
or refine a “futuring” function that
scans the relevant higher education
horizon for factors that will impinge
on its operations and sustainability or
that inspire the institution to offer
new forms of higher education
compatible with its mission.
Levels of Required
• Minimal compliance for Candidacy
• Substantial compliance for Initial
• Substantial compliance for reaffirmation of
• Substantial compliance for Special Visit areas
of focus
• Evidence of understanding the principles or
intentions of each CFR at a sufficient level to
support continued development
• Elementary or initial development and
implementation of structures, processes, and forms
that operationalize the CFRs
• Understanding of concepts held by key leaders but
less well understood at all levels of the
• Core concepts or intent of the CFR understood and
articulated clearly as it applies to relevant
• Thorough and widespread implementation of
structures, processes, and forms that operationalize
the CFRs
• Understanding of concepts held at multiple
relevant organizational levels
When Institutions Are
Not in Compliance
Team can consider recommending:
For Candidacy or Initial Accreditation
Deferral or Denial
Special Visit
Interim Report
Notice of Concern or Sanction
For Special Visit
• Special Visit
• Interim Report
• Notice of Concern or Sanction
Overview of accreditation processes
WSCUC Standards
Preparing for the visit
Conducting the visit
Developing team commendations and
Writing team reports
Completing the process
Tools and resources
Preparing for
the Visit
Timeline for review
Materials from WSCUC
Institutional report
Conference call worksheet
Conference call
Areas to explore
Pre-visit writing of the narrative
Preparing for the Visit: Timeline for Reviews
10 weeks
report on
Team holds
Site visit
conference held and
team report
8 weeks
to errors of
fact in
to final
acts at
February or
Preparing for the Visit:
• Chair: Guides the visit
• Assistant Chair: Guides the report writing; manages
team logistics
• Team: Assesses the institution under the Standards
and in the context of the institutional report
• WSCUC staff liaison: Guides the process
Preparing for the Visit:
Documents from WSCUC
• General: Standards; resources, checklists, forms; policies
• Institution specific: accreditation history; Commission
letter; last peer review report or letter
• Visit logistics: roster, timeline, expense report form
Documents from the institution
• Draft Schedule
• Report
• Exhibits
Assignments from the Chair
• Areas of responsibility
• Aspects of the report
Preparing for the Visit:
The Institutional Report
• Has the institution responded to previous
Commission actions?
• Has it collected and analyzed data effectively?
• Are its conclusions supported by evidence?
• What are the strengths of the institution?
• Are there serious problems or potential areas
of noncompliance?
• Does the report contain recommendations for
further institutional action?
Preparing for the Visit:
Conference Call Worksheet
• Organizes the team’s responses to institutional
• Helps the team make a preliminary evaluation
under the Standards
• Provides the basis for the team to work toward
• Submitted to Assistant Chair in advance of call
• Assistant Chair compiles individual worksheets
and sends to the team before the call
Preparing for the Visit:
Team Conference Call
During the call the team:
• Evaluates the institutional report and response to
previous action letter(s)/reports
• Identifies areas of good practice, improvement, and
further inquiry
• Identifies issues, strategies, evidence needed
• Reviews draft visit schedule prepared by institution
• Identifies persons and groups to be interviewed
• Makes or refines team assignments
• Reviews outline of the team report
• Sets due date for pre-visit narrative
• Plans visit logistics
Preparing for the Visit:
Areas to Explore
• What are the strengths and weaknesses of the
• What other evidence is needed?
• What is the best way to get it?
• What overarching questions should be asked?
Preparing for the Visit:
Pre-visit Narrative
Team members:
• Draft preliminary text for areas assigned, using report
and exhibits, inserting questions for follow-up, and
leaving space for additional evidence, analysis and
• Provide text to Assistant Chair who consolidates and
returns preliminary draft to team prior to the visit
• Do not reach final conclusions
• Be open to evidence obtained on the visit
Overview of accreditation processes
WSCUC Standards
Preparing for the visit
Conducting the visit
Developing team commendations and
Writing team reports
Completing the process
Tools and resources
the Visit
Executive session
Confidential email account
Conducting the Visit:
The team:
Meets in executive session on the eve of the actual visit
Holds interviews and meetings with individuals and groups
Reviews documents and materials
Meets during the visit to discuss observations and emerging
• Completes draft sections of report by the last day
• Agrees on report commendations, recommendations, and
confidential recommendation to the Commission
Conducting the Visit:
Executive Session
The team:
• Reviews the preliminary outline/draft team report
compiled by the Assistant Chair
• Identifies issues for exploration
• Refines lines of inquiry for meetings
• Confirms team assignments
• Discusses tools and rubrics
• Discusses options for the confidential team
recommendation to the Commission
• Reviews the visit schedule
Conducting the Visit:
• Executive sessions and debriefings with team
only throughout the schedule
• Meetings with key individuals and groups
• Open meetings with students, faculty and staff
• Time for document review
• Time for thinking and writing
• The final exit meeting time with the institution
Conducting the Visit:
Confidential Email Account
• Set up by WSCUC as an extension of open
• Checked by the Assistant Chair or team during
• Important emails are shared with the team and
investigated, where appropriate
• Comments are included in the team report only
if the institution has an opportunity to address
them during the visit always guaranteeing
confidentiality of the person who wrote
Conducting the Visit:
• Document review
• Individual Interviews
• Group meetings
Document Review
Use documents to:
• Check compliance
• Evaluate the level of institutional
• Examine the evolution of a policy or process
• Identify direct and indirect evidence of
student and organizational learning
• Confirm claims in the institutional report
Document Review
• In advance of the visit as much as
possible (exhibits, institution’s website)
• During the visit (some documents may
be provided by the institution, as
Individual Interviews
Use interviews to:
Gather information
Explore issues
Build relationships with the institution
Validate impressions and observations
Individual Interviews
Questions can:
• Be broad or narrow
• Elicit information, stimulate analysis, or
require evaluative judgments
Group Meetings
• Structuring Large Groups:
Listing; instant mini survey; straw poll
• Structuring Small Groups:
Brainstorming; go-round
Tips for Good Questions
• Prepare questions and lines of inquiry in advance
• Determine who will chair the session and ask which
• Ask questions that elicit information, stimulate
discussion, or require judgment
• Avoid interrogation, leading questions, or loaded
• Avoid consulting, giving solutions, or talking about
your own institution
• Let them do the talking
Conducting Interviews on Site
• “Guide to Conducting Interviews”
• Provides guidance on preparing for and
conducting interviews
• Lists sample questions for different groups
Overview of accreditation processes
WSCUC Standards
Preparing for the visit
Conducting the visit
Developing team commendations and
Writing team reports
Completing the process
Tools and resources
• Purpose
• Characteristics
• Numbers
Recommendations in the team report
Confidential recommendation to the
Team Recommendations:
• Available to the Public: Team
recommendations located at the end of the
team report and shared at the exit meeting
• Private: Confidential recommendation to the
Commission regarding accreditation action
(not shared with the institution); a form
submitted to WSCUC by Chair
Team Recommendations:
Effective report recommendations are:
Overarching and important
Clear and direct
Supported by evidence
Linked clearly to Standards and CFRs
Supported by the text of the report
Limited in number (3-8)
Distinct from minor recommendations and from
suggestions embedded in the report
Team Recommendations:
Exit Meeting
• Prior to the Exit Meeting, chair meets one-on-one with
the president to review what will be presented and to
discuss any information that is best shared privately
• Chair provides general comments about the visit,
expresses appreciation, and reads the commendations
and key recommendations that will be included in the
team report
• The meeting is not a dialog, discussion or debate
• Team members leave immediately following
• The confidential team recommendation to the
Commission is not shared with the institution
Team Recommendations:
Confidential Recommendation
to Commission
• A form that the Chair completes and sends to
• Lists options for action, depending on the type of
visit, such as:
Grant candidacy or initial accreditation
Specify length of time until next interaction with WSCUC
Issue a Notice of Concern or Sanction
Require Progress Report, Interim Report or Special Visit
• Takes into account Mid-Cycle Review
Mid-Cycle Review
A check-in near the midpoint of an institution’s period of
Focuses on student achievement:
 Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators
 Retention and graduation data
More information is available at:
Overview of accreditation processes
WSCUC Standards
Preparing for the visit
Conducting the visit
Developing team commendations and
Writing team reports
Completing the process
Tools and resources
Team Report
Use of CFRs
Use of Evidence
Writing Tips
Team Report:
• Follow report template
• Draft pre-visit narrative based on a review of
• Submit the pre-visit narrative to the Assistant
Chair for compilation before the visit begins
• Revise narrative based on information
gleaned during the visit
• Complete your section(s) during the visit; give
to Assistant Chair who compiles and edits
Team Report:
Effective reports:
• Reflect a thorough assessment of the institution
• Are based on evidence
• Cite the applicable WSCUC Standards and CFRs
• Provide the basis for a sound and supportable
Commission decision
• Identify institutional strengths: what it’s doing well
• Identify important areas for the institution to address
As of June 2012, Commission action letters and team
reports are publicly available on the WSCUC website.
Team Report:
Use of CFRs
• Criteria for Review (CFRs) link the interpretations of
various readers to a common source
• Standards and CFRs form the basis for Commission
• CFRs and Standards must be cited in each section of
the report and in findings and team recommendations,
but do not include too many CFRs
Team Report:
Use of Evidence
Include qualitative and quantitative evidence
Select evidence carefully and purposefully
Connect evidence to an assertion or question
Document the evidence (provide source)
Analyze data; do not just present data
Let evidence suggest improvements
Use evidence that speaks to the institution’s issues
and the team's questions
Team Report:
WASC Style Guide
• Provides information on editorial style and usage
conventions for writing team reports
• Offers writing tips
• Located on WASC website:
Overview of accreditation processes
WSCUC Standards
Preparing for the visit
Conducting the visit
Developing team commendations and
Writing team reports
Completing the process
Tools and resources
the Process
• Finalizing the report
• Commission review
• Members’ responsibilities
Completing the Process:
Finalizing the Report
• Assistant chair prepares draft for chair, team, WSCUC
staff review; changed as needed
• Chair sends final draft report as a PDF to institution
for corrections of fact and possible redaction of
proprietary information
• Chair addresses corrections, finalizes draft, and
submits to WSCUC
• Chair sends Confidential Team Recommendation to
• WSCUC sends report to institution
• Institution has the option to respond formally;
response shared with Commission and team chair116
WSCUC Commissioners
• 27 volunteer members
• Nominated and voted upon by the heads of member
• Represent the region and the general public
• Meet three times a year
Completing the Process:
Commission Review
• Commission Panel reads report and documentation
including institution’s written response, talks with team
chair and institutional representatives at Commission
• Panel makes recommendation to Commission, and
Commission acts
• Staff finalizes draft action letter on behalf of Commission
• Letter and team report are publicly available on WSCUC
website within one month of Commission action
• Link provided on WSCUC website, if desired, to
institution’s response to team report
Completing the Process:
Members’ Responsibilities
• Team members send reimbursement forms to
WSCUC within 30 days
 Hotel is arranged and paid directly by the
 Travel / food are reimbursed
 Rental car use must be approved in advance by
WSCUC staff
 Spouse or assistant costs are not covered
• Team members should not:
 have any contact with the institution about the visit
 consult with the institution for one year
Overview of accreditation processes
WSCUC Standards
Preparing for the visit
Conducting the visit
Developing team commendations and
Writing team reports
Completing the process
Tools and resources
Tools: WSCUC Resources
• WSCUC liaison
• Materials on box
- Repository of materials from WSCUC:
• Institution-specific materials
• General accreditation resources
- Can be used to:
• Send emails to the entire team
• Draft the team report
Materials on website
Your Liaison
Richard Winn ([email protected])
• Ashford University
• California Southern University
• Northcentral University
• Reach Institute for School Leadership
Moe Maloney ([email protected])
• American University of Health Sciences
• California Health Sciences University
Your Liaison
Dick Osborn ([email protected])
• Henley-Putnam University
• Life Chiropractic College West
• Meridian University
Christopher Oberg ([email protected])
• Charles Drew University of Medicine and
• Patten University
• The Wright Institute
Your Liaison
Barbara Gross Davis ([email protected])
• Rudolf Steiner College
Questions, Comments
Post-Webinar Survey
We want your feedback!
Please take a short survey to let us know how well the
webinar helped you to understand and be better
prepared for your role as a member of a visiting peer
review team.
The survey takes approximately 15 minutes. Responses
will be aggregated; comments will be reported
You will receive the survey shortly.
Thank you for your service
to WSCUC and the region

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