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Major Review Milestones

The WASC Re-Accreditation Process

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), requires the colleges and universities under its jurisdiction to be re-accredited every 10 years. Cal State Northridge was last re-accredited in 2000 and has been preparing for its next review since mid-2006.

The Institutional Proposal (IP) is the first step in the current multi-year WASC process. In the IP, a campus must identify areas of focus designed to weave together two subsequent self-studies that examine aspects of the University’s mission, values, and vision, and delineate what the campus community values most.

Two years after submitting the IP, institutions undergo a Capacity and Preparatory Review (CPR). In preparation for a site visit, campuses prepare a report that examines their capability and resources to meet the institutional goals addressed by the areas of focus or themes outlined in the institutional indicators that match resources with expenditures and services. Instead, the CPR is a bridge through which campuses link where they are to where they want to go, with “capacity” defined as the means needed to get there.

Shortly after the CPR site visit, campuses begin preparing for an Educational Effectiveness Review (EER). It involves a second site visit and submission of a new report that assesses whether the institution is enabling its students to develop in the ways that its mission implies. The report should include evidence of how a campus is realizing the educational goals it has set for its students and that, where needed, programs are taking steps to strengthen their curricula. WASC places a premium on direct evidence, not opinion surveys and not grades. Site visitors, therefore, expect to see direct evidence that students are integrating and synthesizing learning from their majors, general education courses, and co-curricular activities.

Progress To Date in Current Accreditation Cycle

Here at Cal State Northridge, we see the WASC process as an important aspect of, but not separate from, purposeful planning that accepts the premise that there is great value in collective deliberations on mission and evidence of our effectiveness, both of which, in turn, inform action.

As CSUN did in 2000, we have again decided to use a thematic approach to the current review cycle, which will take us through the 2010-11 academic year. After widespread campus discussion over a year-long period, we submitted our Proposal on October 15,2007; among other things, it outlined the three major themes we plan to investigate. The IP process and the selection of themes were informed by the presidential priorities; the campus’s annual planning processes; the CSU’s strategic plan, “Access to Excellence;” and our response to the Board of Trustees Retention and Graduation initiative. The IP was approved by the relevant WASC committee in December 2007.

In Fall 2008, a number of task groups began the hard work of assembling the information needed to prepare CSUN’s Capacity and Preparatory Review (CPR) report, which was due in mid-November 2009. In keeping with WASC guidelines, we used it to explain how we plan to develop the capacity to move from the present to a more educationally effective future, with relevant data provided to illustrate our capacity—both willingness and resources—to fulfill our mission. Prior to submission of the CPR report, widespread campus feedback was sought on one or more preliminary drafts. As they become available, these drafts and other related documents were posted on this web site.

The CPR was submitted on time in November 2009.  The WASC Capacity and Preparatory Review team visited the CSUN campus in February 2010.  CSUN was commended, among other things, for

The WASC Steering Committee immediately began work on the third phase of the accreditation process, the Educational Effectiveness Review (EER).  The EER was structured along the same three themes as the IP and the CPR.  As before, the Steering Committee sought campus-wide input and recommendations for the report’s preliminary drafts.  The final report was submitted to WASC on June 21, 2011.

The WASC Educational Effectiveness Review team will conduct a final campus visit in September 2011.