Building a Culture of Quality: A Retreat for Institutional Leaders

Friday, November 16, 2018 
9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Mills College, Oakland, CA

Click here
for a draft of the program schedule.

At their heart, WSCUC accreditation standards are simply a definition of a quality institution of higher education in the 21st century, and the purpose of accreditation is to move your institution to an even greater level of excellence. In this retreat, we will move away from focusing on individual accreditation standards to focus on this big picture:

  • What is a quality institution of higher education in the 21st century?
  • What steps can you take to move it to greater levels of excellence…and thereby strengthen your compliance with WSCUC accreditation standards?

The retreat will focus on strategies to develop cultures of evidence (assessment) and improvement. Under the guidance of the retreat facilitator, institutional teams will appraise their institutional culture along each of these dimensions and brainstorm strategies to build a culture of excellence.

Intended Audience

If any of the following are true for you, this retreat can help:

  • We’re trying to change things, but it’s hard to get everyone on board
  • Our institution seems mired in the 20th century
  • Our institution has pockets of excellence but pockets of mediocrity as well
  • We know we need to change things, but we’re not sure where or how to start
  • Complying with WSCUC standards is a perpetual struggle for us
  • We’re never completely sure if we’re doing what WSCUC wants us to do

The Building a Culture of Quality retreat focuses on the kinds of things that institutional leaders can do to foster a culture of quality. The content and exercises will relate to making budget decisions that promote the institution’s quality agenda, valuing the people who work on the institution’s quality agenda through mechanisms such as promotion and tenure criteria for faculty and performance evaluation criteria for institutional leaders, and using assessment evidence to address pervasive, institution-wide issues.

Each institutional team participating in the retreat needs to include someone empowered to lead and facilitate change, such as a president or CAO. We want teams to get the most value out of the workshop as possible and to be able to affect meaningful change and progress at their institution. There have been past participants whose teams did not include institutional leaders that found the day to be unproductive.


Linda Suskie

Linda Suskie is an internationally recognized consultant, writer, speaker, and educator on assessment and accreditation and a former vice president at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Her book Assessing Student Learning: A Common Sense Guide is one of the best-selling books on assessment in higher education. Her latest book is Five Dimensions of Quality: A Common Sense Guide to Accreditation and Accountability. She holds a B.A. in Quantitative Studies from Johns Hopkins and an M.A. in Educational Measurement and Statistics from the University of Iowa.

Hotel Reservations: We encourage participants to make their hotel reservations as soon as possible. Given the Assessment 101 workshop is being held on a campus, WSCUC has not contracted nor secured a group rate with any particular hotel. There are many websites online that help with finding reasonably priced hotels.

Registration: Registration fee includes lunch. Beverages and snacks will be available during breaks. Attendees will be on their own for all other meals.

Registration fees: $325/per team member until 11/1/18.  After the registration deadline, if space is available, the late registration fee will be $375/per team member.

Discount for Combined Registration: Assessment 101: Meaningful Assessment for Student Learning will be offered on November 15, 2018 at Mills College. The special rate for a combined registration for Assessment 101 and Building a Culture of Quality is $550 until the registration deadline, 11/1/2018. After the registration deadline, if space is available, the late registration fee will be $650 /per team member.


This educational program has been developed by national and regional experts and is offered as a service to WSCUC member institutions and others who wish to learn about good practices applicable to all institutions. It is entirely optional, and our hope is that member institutions will find it helpful. WSCUC staff will be present to answer questions related specifically to accreditation expectations.

Event Details

Date: November 16, 2018 - 9:00am - 4:00pm

Fee: Free