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October 12, 1998 Vol. III, No. 4

WASC Self-Study Committee Prepares for Reaccreditation

Faculty, Student and Alumni Surveys Underway; Two Staff Forums Upcoming

Teams of Cal State Northridge faculty, staff and students have spent the past year taking a close look at what the university does.

With almost another year to go in preparation for CSUNs reaccreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, members of the universitys WASC Self-Study Steering Committee say they are surprised about some of the things they are finding.

Were discovering things about ourselves that we didnt know, said Cynthia Rawitch, coordinator of the self-study. Were discovering that we are a lot better than we think we are on a daily basis. There are activities, new approaches and experiences going on all over the campus that you never know about until you make a concerted effort and seek out the people engaged in them.

The committee has just completed a survey of the faculty and their attitudes about the university on a variety of subjects, and is finishing a stratified random sample survey of students covering those across all hours of attendance, colleges, general education and majors. An alumni survey will be going out soon.

The self-study teams will hold two forums later this monthone from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, and the other from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29to seek the opinions of staff members who work closely with students about how the university is doing. The site for those meetings has yet to be set.

We want to make sure no one is left out as we take a close look at what we are doing as a university, Rawitch said. More than 60 people from throughout the campus have been meeting regularly during the past year collecting data for the self-study.

For the first time, the universitys self-study process is examining how the campus measures up on three self-selected themes, rather than the nine standards WASC traditionally has used to measure an institution during accreditation. The change was at the request of WASC.

Rawitch said three task forces have been established, one for each of the three themes: promoting student achievement, assessing student learning and the utilization of technology to enhance learning. Their findings will be compiled into a report that will be widely disseminated on campus in the spring for feedback.

A final draft will be sent to WASC in summer 1999 in anticipation of a visit to the campus by the WASC evaluation team in the fall. In the meantime, the campus can follow the self-study committees progress by visiting its web site at www.csun.edu/~wascreac/.

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.

The Northridge campus was first accredited in 1960, was reaccredited in 1980 and then again in 1990. Last time, the university received a generally favorable report that commended the administration, faculty, students and curriculum.

Rawitch said the new approach of examining the universitys progress on the three self-selected themes is kind of scary because there is no model to work from. But at the same time, its also exciting because of the things were learning about ourselves.

Carmen Ramos Chandler

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@csun.edu
October 12, 1998

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