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Cal State Northridge Last Re-Accreditation Review (2000)

(an excerpt appearing in From the President's Desk, July 31, 2000)

In a very strong endorsement of the campus' success, we have been notified by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) that Cal State Northridge¹s accreditation has been reaffirmed and we have been given the maximum 10-year period until our next review. Both the notification letter to the campus and the report of the WASC evaluation team that visited here in April had very positive things to say about the university's accomplishments.

The decision by WASC's Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities means the university has been judged by outside reviewers to be operating at a high level of quality consistent with our mission. In particular, the WASC review lauded the university for its significant progress in addressing a number of concerns raised in the university's last formal evaluation in 1990. Everyone who has worked very hard in recent years to improve the institution and sharpen our focus on student success should feel a sense of satisfaction at what has been accomplished. That CSUN has been able to achieve this result despite the major disruptions of the 1994 earthquake is a true testament to the quality and dedication of our faculty and staff.

In his notification letter to the university, Accrediting Commission Executive Director Ralph Wolff wrote: "The Commissio5/23/11e visit in November 1990, CSUN has made significant progress in many areas, having t10/8/09Particularly impressive is the improvement in the advising program, which is n10/8/09stem, and the transformation of the University¹s budget system from a closed, 'top-down' approach to one that5/19/11ghly participatory and involving the entire campus community. The Commission commends CSUN for these accomplishments, among others."

The WASC evaluation team likewise had praise for the university. "The team believes that California State University, Northridge continues to meet and, in most cases, exceed the goals it has set for itself. The University has accepted the many challenges of higher education, including a demographically changing student body and a technological revolution, to name just two. CSUN continues to provide exceptional quality education to the students of the San Fernando Valley and beyond. The University stands as a model to other public urban institutions of higher education who have the mission of establishing a learning-centered institution."

As part of the accreditation process and with the encouragement of WASC, Cal State Northridge submitted a thematic self-evaluation titled "Becoming a Learning-Centered University." CSUN's report focused on three important areas for the future: promoting student achievement, utilizing technology to enhance learning, and assessing student learning in academic and co-curricular programs. The university's self-evaluation was a very important element in our successful review. The document also won high praise from WASC for making a "significant contribution" to the emerging trend in accreditation reviews of focusing on educational effectiveness and student learning, rather than on measuring levels of various institutional resources.

More than 75 CSUN faculty, staff, students and administrators participated in the preparation of the self-evaluation, too many to list here. But Provost Louanne Kennedy and Associate Vice President for Undergraduate Studies Margaret Fieweger, our accreditation liaison officer, did an excellent job of overseeing the long and demanding accreditation process. Others deserving special recognition include Journalism Department Chair Cynthia Rawitch, who chaired our WASC Steering Committee, Ms. Nancy Jean Pement, who coordinated the work of the committee, and the six task force co-chairs: faculty members Roberta Madison, Ann Perkins and Steven Stepanek, and administrators Robert Danes, Joyce Feucht-Haviar and John Mason. The WASC review is a strong confirmation that CSUN is on the right path. Now our challenge is to build on this success to provide an even better education for our students in the years ahead.