March 15, 1999 Vol. III, No. 12

Campus Open Forums Slated on Accreditation Report

Final Report Due to WASC by Summer, With Evaluation Visit Slated in the Fall

Cal State Northridge faculty, staff and students are invited to two open forums Monday, March 22, to offer their opinions of the first draft of the university's accreditation self-study report. A team of faculty, staff and students has spent the past year examining how well CSUN does its job in preparation for seeking reaccreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

The first draft of the WASC report is completed and available for review on the Internet at /!wascreac/. Copies also are available in the Oviatt Library, the President's Office and in each college dean's and department chair's office.

"We are at a critical point now in the self-study," said Cynthia Rawitch, chair of the self-study committee(left). "We've spent a year studying and amassing data. And we've reached a point where it's now up to the faculty, staff and administrators to carefully read this draft report and give us feedback as to its strengths and flaws.

If we don't get good feedback, then we don't have a good report." The first forum is scheduled from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the Grand Salon of the University Student Union. The second forum will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Grand Salon. Refreshments will be served.

More than 60 people from throughout the campus community have been meeting regularly for more than a year collecting data for the self-study. For the first time, the review is examining how the university measures up on three self-selected themes-student achievement, assessment and the utilization of technology-rather than the nine standards WASC has traditionally used to measure institutions during accreditation. The change was at WASC's request. For now, Rawitch said the draft paints an incomplete picture of the campus. "Because we don't have the feedback yet, the picture we are painting is not finished yet," she said.

"But what it shows so far is that a number of very impressive things are happening on this campus," Rawitch said, "including how far we've come on assessment and technology, and how we are weaving it [technology] into our academic programs and onto campus, and how we're striving to become better at one of the core issues, promoting student achievement."

Rawitch said the draft self-study also includes the results of a student survey indicating that students are happy with their CSUN experiences. "In particular, they are happy with what they are learning in the classroom and the contact they have with faculty," said Rawitch, who has titled the draft "They Like Us, They Really Like Us: Cal State Northridge Looks at Itself."

Once faculty, staff and student feedback has been incorporated, a final draft will be sent to WASC this summer in anticipation of a campus visit by the WASC evaluation team in the fall. WASC, one of six regional accrediting associations in the country, evaluates schools, colleges and universities in California, Hawaii, Guam and the U.S. Pacific Island territories. An institution must be accredited for its students to receive government financial aid or to transfer their credits to other colleges.

CSUN was first accredited in 1960 and was re-accredited in 1980 and again in 1990. The last time, the university received a generally favorable report that commended the administration, faculty, students and curriculum.

-Carmen Ramos Chandler

March 15, 1999

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