• WSCUC Newsletter: March 2023

    March 22, 2023 - WSCUC

Table of Contents


WSCUC Gets Accredited, Too: President’s Letter

Greetings, colleagues, as this busy Winter turns to Spring. Like our institutions, WSCUC goes through a quality assurance review. Every five years we seek re-recognition from the US Department of Education, which is what allows our accreditation to qualify schools to participate in federal student aid programs. One step in that review process is an appearance before the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), which resulted in its recommendation to the Secretary of continued recognition.

Our opening statement to NACIQI emphasized that WSCUC places students at the center, actively creates and uses evidence of student achievement, and insists on rigor. Commission Chair Phil Doolittle, Vice Chair/Chair-Elect Tracy Poon Tambascia, Executive Vice President Christopher Oberg, Vice President Stephanie Huie, and I reported on our institutions’ and WSCUC’s achievements and shared our vision of WSCUC moving forward. The transcript of the opening and 90-minute Q&A is available here, with the WSCUC section beginning on page 251.

Highlighting WSCUC’s approach to evidence and outcomes in context, with equity at its core, we explained how WSCUC expresses rigor through our Standards, process, transparency, and commission composition. In using evidence for improvement and monitoring, we emphasized the importance of multiple measures and that no one metric is a definitive indicator of performance. NACIQI members were especially impressed with our leadership in creating and making public our Key Indicators Dashboard (KID), which provides institutions and evaluators easy access to relevant and timely metrics, in numeric and visual form.

NACIQI is interested in how each accreditors’ universe of institutions performs, using an Accreditor Dashboard. We were able to report, for example, that WSCUC institutions overall have six- and eight-year IPEDS bachelor’s graduation rates about 10% higher than the national average, and this holds true when we focus in on high Pell and high URM enrollment institutions. We also explained our interest in expanding the variety and subtlety of measures to help us all understand and improve student success.
Chair Doolittle spoke to some of WSCUC’s core values, including its tradition of transparency and the strong representation of public (not from WSCUC institutions) members on the Commission, currently about a third of the 35-member body. WSCUC pays special attention to having members from outside higher education to assure independent perspectives.

We also explained the thoughtful and inclusive process and clear principles that led to adoption of the new Standards in November 2022, underscoring student success, evidence in action, and equity and inclusion woven into all four dimensions of performance. A theme of our presentation of the agency is that WSCUC asks institutional leaders to understand their students first using a data informed approach to identify determinants of and barriers to student success, and then to develop the capacity to respond to challenges in a systematic process of improvement. This is consistent with the agency’s commitment to what, not how the institution’s goals are achieved.

I’m excited to have deep conversations with you about your accomplishments, our shared challenges, and WSCUC’s plans at ARC2023: The Challenge of Excellence: Realizing the New Standards, April 19 – 21 in Garden Grove, CA. We’ll explore how the 2022 Standards create opportunities for advancing quality, accountability, and improvement to support student learning, student success, and institutional effectiveness. In two full plenaries we’ll discuss implementation of the new Standards and what you think of proposed new self-study and institutional report models (Plenary #2) and how accreditation works with DEI for student success (Plenary #3). And as always, we’ll talk about new models, brave institutions, and important lessons for radically changing times, and how accreditation, equity and inclusion, and evidence reinforce each other to advance student success.

I can’t wait to see you there!

Jamie Studley


Educational Programming Updates

Congratulations to the 2022 Cohort of the WSCUC Accreditation Leadership Academy (ALA) which met for its final session in San Diego this past January.

WSCUC’s signature professional development program for higher education leaders, the ALA emphasizes action derived from analysis with a curriculum that addresses both the need for effective leadership, systems, and evidence to achieve quality and the importance of equity and inclusion in higher education culture and practice.

Presentations featuring the work of ALA participants will take place at the ARC2023, as will opportunities and sessions to learn about the ALA for those interested in participating in future cohorts.

Join colleagues at ARC2023 on April 19 – 21, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Garden Grove, CA. Today is the last day to secure early bird pricing! Read more.


Commission Policy Changes and Opportunity to Comment on Proposed Changes

The Commission has approved updates to the Separately Accreditable Institutions Policy, Sharing Information with Other Agencies and Regard for their Decisions Policy, and Institutional Appeals Policy, and WSCUC is requesting comments on the Proprietary Information Policy. Read more.


Commission Actions

The Commission took action on many institutions for initial or reaffirmed accreditation and following special visits at its February meeting. Copies of the Commission Action Letters (CALs) and visiting team reports relating to these and all other actions are available on the WSCUC website on each institution’s page.


WSCUC Commission Calendar​​

  • Commission Meeting
    June 28 – 30, 2023
  • Commission Retreat Meeting
    Nov 1-3, 2023
  • Commission Meeting
    February 14 – 16, 2024