• WSCUC Newsletter: March 2020

    March 15, 2020 - WSCUC

Table of Contents


Letter from the President

On February 14 WSCUC decided, in the spirit of its core principles — putting student success front and center and honoring institutional mission and diversity, to consider applications from WSCUC-accredited and affiliated institutions that would result in WSCUC accrediting institutions in states outside its historic region.

Chair Reed Dasenbrock and President Jamienne S. Studley shared this decision in a letter to the WSCUC Community, sent to CEOs and Accreditation Liaison Officers. We encourage you to read that letter. The letter and news articles are posted on our website.

Our announcement has been greeted with respect for WSCUC’s values, standards, innovation, and leadership, which we appreciate. While the landscape for accreditation, and much about higher education, is changing, we remain committed to student success and rigorous accountability, and to helping every institution we work with improve and thrive.

Some of you have wondered whether this decision might mean changes for WSCUC-accredited institutions. Simply: no, or we wouldn’t be doing it. We intend to maintain our support and responsiveness to accredited and applicant institutions. This decision indeed is an example of being open to changes that a few institutions with ties to WSCUC want to make.

Beyond this step, WSCUC will consider how to use our experience and energy to promote what is best in higher education. We hope to engage many of you in thinking about WSCUC’s priorities and plans for the future, linking important discussions about our values, standards, innovations, and educational programs. We will reach out for your ideas to design our future.

Jamie's Signature
Jamienne S. Studley


Commission Policy Updates

Policy Changes

The Commission approved two revised policies during the February 2020 meeting after receiving comments from the region. Click the links below to learn more about each policy. Contact WSCUC vice president Barbara Gross Davis with any questions.

Policy Retirements

The Commission retired two policies during the February 2020 meeting:

  • Study Abroad Policy: This policy appears to be based on a very specific type of program and does not address the wide array of study abroad opportunities that now exist in colleges and universities.
  • Overseas Educational Programs for Non-US Nationals Policy: It is not recorded when this policy was originally approved or if it has ever been revised. It is rarely accessed, and the language of this policy is out of date. Considerations described in the policy are taken into account through the Substantive Change process for approval of new locations and in the process for international accreditation.

Staff contact: Barbara Gross Davis


WSCUC Signs Joint Statement on Transfer of Credit

WSCUC has joined many higher education stakeholders in signing a 2017 statement reinforcing the fact that individual institutions have autonomy over decisions regarding transfer of credit. The statement, developed by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, American Council on Education, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, offers guidance to help institutions develop and implement transfer policies and/or accept credit from other institutions or extra-institutional settings, such as workplace courses or military experience and training.

President Studley said, “WSCUC’s longstanding Transfer of Credit Policy makes clear that institutions determine their own transfer of credit policies and their application to individual situations. That said, students’ pathways are made easier when institutions are transparent about their policies and decisions, and open to accepting credits for all appropriate purposes when they meet quality and relevance standards. We applaud institutions that support students by being attentive to transfer credit analysis and management, working to understand credits from varied learning experiences, and investing time in development of articulation agreements.”


Announcing #2020ARC: Making it Real

ARC2020 Logo

Join us for WSCUC’s 2020 Academic Resource Conference (ARC) on April 22 – 24 in Garden Grove, California, and we’re ready to dig into the details with this year’s theme: “Making it Real.”

Through compelling plenaries, tactical workshops, and concurrent sessions, the #2020ARC will take an in-depth look at the real students we serve, the real leadership we strive to provide, and the real results we work to realize. Experienced and insightful speakers and presenters will explore tangible programs and solutions underway on campuses across the region and around the country and delve into how WSCUC can serve as a constructive partner in realizing greater success and progress.

  • A few highlights of the upcoming #2020ARC include:
    Remarks and reflections from Tim White, Chancellor of the California State University
  • Making it Real with Data – real stories, insights, challenges, and strategies for how evidence can drive change from two compelling leaders, Archie Cubarrubia and Amelia Parnell
  • Better Conversations, Better Data – multiple sessions will explore understanding and using evidence of student success for improvement and accountability

Visit www.arc.wscuc.org to read about our speakers, explore the schedule, and register to attend. And follow us on Twitter (@wascsenior) to join the real conversation!

Staff contact: David Chase


Meet the Commissioner: Prof. Tracy Poon Tambascia

Tracy Tambascia photo

Professor of Clinical Education
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California

On learning as a new commissioner

“If someone had told me twenty years ago that I would be a commissioner for WSCUC someday, I would have laughed heartily. In my mind, accreditation was mysterious, mercurial, and bureaucratic. Fast forward to 2018 when, as a first-year Commissioner, I found myself learning a whole new accreditation language and an alphabet soup of acronyms.”

“What was not new to me, however, was WSCUC’s focus on fostering a culture of continuous improvement in universities, student learning outcomes, and the idea that universities of all sizes and missions are essential for offering a diversity of learning options for students. That message is reinforced through all of the work of the commission, from detailed standards to training for the hundreds of volunteers who participate in the peer review process. I no longer view accreditation as mysterious (though at times it can seem bureaucratic!), and I have a greater appreciation for the ways WSCUC supports innovation in higher education through its incubation program and accreditation of universities in other countries. The ability to examine how learning takes place in different institutional, national or cultural contexts benefits all WSCUC accredited colleges and universities.”

Personal perspective

“As a commissioner and university faculty member, WSCUC’s focus on student success is important to me. I have a genuine appreciation for the role of accreditation in fostering a culture of continuous improvement, a focus on student learning outcomes, and ensuring institutional diversity for tens of thousands of students who, like me, were the first in their families to attend college. When I had the good fortune to attend Occidental College, I did not know that accreditation worked on behalf of students and families to improve educational outcomes, and I certainly lacked the knowledge and social capital to evaluate the quality of my education. I unknowingly relied on this system of peer review and university leaders who came together to set standards for themselves that insured strong outcomes for all students. In a time when the value of a college education is debated, WSCUC leads the conversation on how our member campuses make a difference in the lives of all its students, including those who are first generation college, to fulfill the promise of higher education.”

Learn more about Prof. Tambascia and how you can serve on the WSCUC Commission.


Staff Updates

Group Photo from Dick Osborn's going away party.

After a decade as a vice president at WSCUC, Dick has retired, calling his time here the “capstone” of his 49 ½ years in education. Dick guided numerous institutions smoothly, professionally, and attentively through eligibility, reaffirmation, and special visits, in the US and overseas. He welcomed, oriented, and coached scores of ALOs, CEOs, team chairs and members, and new staff at WSCUC – including me. In so doing he captured in his stories the infinite variety of our institutions, the people who compose them, and the ways they have a difference in the lives of their students and communities.

At Dick’s farewell dinner in February, commissioners and staff colleagues, pressed to describe Dick’s qualities in just one word, offered: Gracious. Wise. Knows everyone. Smooth. Gentlemanly. Mentor. Humor. Dedication. Cool. Devoted. Storyteller, Knowledgeable. Teacher always. Integrity. Witty. Photographer. Caring. Faith. Legend. Retired?!?

Dick returned the favor by describing the seven ingredients in the WSCUC Secret Sauce, and we’re all part of the recipe: presidential leadership; Vice presidents and staff; the WSCUC Commission; visiting teams; institutions; students, and the standards, CFRs, and accreditation processes.

Please join the Commission, staff, and me in expressing our gratitude and respect to Dick, and wishing him and Norma every happiness, Jamie Studley.


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