February 10, 2010
Dear Faculty and Staff Members,
As you know, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) peer review team visited California State University, Northridge on Wednesday through Friday of last week, February 3-5, as part of the second phase of our WASC re-accreditation effort, the Capacity and Preparatory Review.
The entire WASC re-accreditation process includes three phases: An Institutional Proposal (ours was submitted in 2007), a Capacity and Preparatory Review, and a culminating Educational Effectiveness Review phase, the goal of which is reaffirmation of our regional accreditation.
At the end of their visit on Friday, the team held an exit meeting with select campus representatives to share an oral summary of their observations, recommendations, and commendations about California State University, Northridge.
They will now submit a written draft report which the campus will have the opportunity to review and respond to issues of fact. We then expect to receive the final report sometime this summer, clearing the way for the Educational Effectiveness Review and visit in Fall 2011.
Though it is always possible that the oral and written reports will differ somewhat, I am pleased to report that, in delivering the oral report, the peer review team was extremely complementary of Cal State Northridge.
The team’s list of commendations about Cal State Northridge was lengthy and included recognition of our University’s commitment to student learning, our collaborative and consultative work across divisions (which the team described as “horizontal, vertical, and circular”) to carry out the University’s mission, our effective short- and long-term planning, and our use of evidence and institutional research in decision-making. The team commented on improvements in many areas since we were last accredited 10 years ago, including improved facilitation of student success and graduation through both curricular and co-curricular efforts; General Education reform; and enhanced student advisement, information technology, and program assessment.
Recommendations largely encouraged Cal State Northridge to continue work and progress on efforts already underway – use resources wisely to facilitate student graduation, continue initiatives and look for further ways to improve student retention and graduation rates, advance advisement efforts for transfer students, establish an appropriate balance between centralized and decentralized information technology, and enhance our capacity to develop alternative sources of funding by focusing on fundraising, branding, and alumni relations.
It is clear from the team’s feedback that members of the campus community demonstrated and communicated to the team that we at Cal State Northridge share a rare and distinctive unity of purpose and unity of how we go about our work. Diverse members of the campus community speaking to team members in all venues communicated how much we care about student success and learning in all parts of the University. It was also clear to the team that, on the whole, members of the campus community work collaboratively across all campus divisions with focus on that goal.
I would like to personally thank the members of the Cal State Northridge WASC team, participants in the visit, and support staff for their work. Their cooperation and contributions reflect the commitment and dedication that are important parts of Cal State Northridge’s success and excellence. I would also like to once again express special appreciation for the extraordinary efforts of Dean Elizabeth Say, College of Humanities, and Professor Michael Neubauer, Department of Mathematics, who served as the co-chairs of the WASC Steering Committee; of Dr. Bettina Huber, Director of Institutional Research, whose expertise in data collection and analysis was instrumental in facilitating the Capacity and Preparatory Review; and of Dr. Cynthia Rawitch, Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies, the University’s accreditation liaison officer, whose phenomenal organizational ability and attention to detail assured a smooth and productive peer review team visit.
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