8: Institution-specific Theme(s) (optional)

(CFRs as appropriate) 

The accreditation review is an opportunity for institutions to align their own priorities with WSCUC’s quality improvement process. In the 2001 Handbook, the theme-based approach to self-study offered institutions the clearest opportunity for this kind of campus-wide engagement and improvement, and the vast majority of institutions took advantage of it. Thus the 2013 Handbook continues to offer this option. In addition to addressing the components described above, institutions may identify and study one or two themes that are specific to the institution and of critical importance. The theme may emerge from institutional planning or other processes; in any case, it should connect to the Standards. 

If the institutional report includes a theme, the component on institutional context is the place to introduce the theme and orient the reader to the part(s) of the institutional report where the theme will be developed. Origins of the theme, analysis, recommendations for action, and related steps can be included as a separate component of the institutional report, or the theme can be woven into one of the other components, as appropriate. Whatever the institution decides, it is helpful to inform the WSCUC staff liaison of the theme early on, so that an individual with relevant background can be included on the evaluation team. 

Prompts: The following prompts may be helpful in getting started, but the institution is not required to follow these prompts or respond to them directly. 

  • What one or two themes would advance institutional priorities and add value to the accreditation review?
  • What are the institution’s goals or outcomes in pursuing this theme? What is the timeline, what evidence and metrics will show progress, and what resources (financial, human, other) will be required?