Commission Procedure Update - Procedure Changes

Retroactive Accreditation Date Procedure

In a change from previous guidance, the US Department of Education stated on June 25, 2018, that accrediting agencies could establish a retroactive accreditation date for institutions granted Initial Accreditation.  The Commission approved a procedure to set a retroactive accreditation date by adding language in the How to Become Accredited handbook.  The new language states that the Commission can establish a retroactive accreditation date up to one year prior to the Commission action for institutions granted Initial Accreditation (IA). The retroactive accreditation date is not automatic, but must be intentionally stipulated by the Commission on a case-by-case basis.

Institutions that received Initial Accreditation on February 16, 2018 or June 29, 2018 will be notified no later than February 2019 about the possibility of a retroactive date for accreditation.

Staff contact: Maureen Maloney

 

5th Year Review of New Doctoral Degrees Procedure

The Commission approved elimination of the 5th Year Review of New Doctoral Degrees. As WSCUC institutions began expanding their doctoral offerings, questions were raised about whether institutions could create appropriate doctoral programs and culture to be considered quality degrees. As a result, WSCUC created guidelines in 2012 that stated in the fifth year after Structural Change approval of its first doctoral program, the institution would prepare a report on the program to be reviewed by individuals with expertise in doctoral education.

The review process has been in place for six years. Upon evaluating how the process has worked, WSCUC staff recommended that the fifth-year review of newly approved first doctoral programs be discontinued. This is because there have been no major issues in the six years the procedure has been in place, the structural change review process is already very rigorous, and the new doctoral program is expected to undergo program review, as part of the institution’s regular process, that would identify any potential problems. Official communication will be forthcoming to those institutions with already scheduled fifth year reviews.

Staff contact: Richard Osborn