• Commission Policy Changes and Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Changes

    November 28, 2023 - The Commission

Policy and Guide Changes

Public Access to the Commission Policy (revised)

The date of the policy’s creation is unknown; however, the Commission undertook a revision in 2016. The Commission revised the policy again in November 2023, reaffirming its commitment to ensuring public access to its work. The latest revision outlines various channels for public engagement, introduces an improved feedback collection process preceding institutional review, provides clarification on certain terminologies, and incorporates subheadings for enhanced readability. The new version is posted on the WSCUC website.

Staff contact: Barbara Gross Davis

Periods of Accreditation Guide (revised)

The Periods of Accreditation Guide provides an explanation for the different durations of accreditation granted by the Commission. The Guide has been revised to include the options of six, eight, or ten years for Initial Accreditation. This aligns with the six, eight, or ten years for reaffirmation of accreditation. The revision also provides clearer criteria for each accreditation period and additional context regarding the factors that the Commission considers when determining the appropriate length of accreditation. The new version is posted on the WSCUC website.

Staff contact: Barbara Gross Davis

Collegiate Athletics Policy (retired)

After two years of extensive deliberation and research, the Commission has made the decision to retire the existing policy. This decision is based on the recognition that the policy, even if revised, lacks the necessary currency and comprehensiveness required to effectively address athletics within all WSCUC accredited institutions. This is particularly crucial given the rapidly evolving and increasingly complex athletic landscape. In light of these dynamics, the Commission believes that a more comprehensive approach is necessary. Rather than maintaining a separate policy exclusively for athletics, the Commission has chosen to prioritize the review of institutions under its established Standards and accreditation process. This approach ensures that athletic programs are assessed within the broader context of institutional effectiveness, financial sustainability, and other accreditation considerations. Acknowledging the challenges and disruptions impacting collegiate athletics, the Commission remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding compliance across all institutional programs, including athletics. This shift underscores the dedication to maintaining the highest standards of academic and operational excellence in WSCUC institutions, promoting a more unified and comprehensive approach to accreditation and oversight.

Staff contact: Maureen Maloney


Request for Comments on Policies

WSCUC is seeking public comments on proposed changes to three policies. Click the link below for more information about each. Please send comments to policies@wscuc.org by January 19, 2024. Comments will be reviewed and considered for adoption by the Commission at its February 2024 meeting.

Substantive Change Policy

The Substantive Change Policy was last revised in 2020. The policy, informed by federal regulations, outlines review requirements for changes to programs, locations, and organizational structure needing WSCUC approval. Recent federal guidance has been issued for institutions seeking mergers with other institutions, where one institution becomes a location of or integrated into the acquiring institution. The Department of Education now mandates a two-step process for such changes, requiring two separate agency approvals. First, the change is reviewed as a transfer of ownership for the acquired institution. After the Department of Education completes this review and grants approval, the institution can then request a change to unite the two entities.

This policy was revised to integrate fresh federal guidelines, incorporate elements from the Levels of Review for Proposed Changes in Mission, Legal Status, Ownership or Control Policy (which will eventually be retired), and offer more extensive information on the circumstances that necessitate post-implementation site visits, including locations in correctional facilities.

Staff contact: John Hausaman

Complaints and Third-Party Comments Policy

Complaint and comment policies have recently drawn attention from the Department of Education and NACIQI. This policy has been revised to address concerns raised by both. These revisions encompass ensuring opportunities for complainant confidentiality, enhancing Third-Party Comment procedures, enabling submissions of Third-Party Comments when related to external factors affecting institutions, improving guidance for submitting complaints, extending the complaint filing period from one year to two years after the incident, and forwarding complaints involving the WSCUC president directly to the Commission chair.

Staff contact: Barbara Gross Davis