The WASC 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. California State Northridge was last re-accredited in 2010 and has been preparing for its next review since mid-2016.
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.