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Accreditation Proposal Being Readied for WASC

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As it does every 10 years, CSULB is currently going through its accreditation process overseen by The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
In October, a university blue ribbon committee will submit to WASC its proposal outlining specific items CSULB intends to address during the next four years (2006-10). The committee, which was recommended by the Academic Senate and approved by the president, represents all areas within the university and for the past nine months has been working on preparing the proposal.

“The WASC accreditation process is critical for any institution,” said President F. King Alexander. “This committee has worked diligently and, with WASC’s guidance, has identified essential issues that we can address in an effort to continue the advancement of this university.”

“The reaffirmation of accreditation, as specified by the Higher Education Act of the U.S. Congress, is something that has to be done periodically,” said David Hood, history professor and CSULB’s accreditation liaison officer since 1980.

“What we are doing now is getting WASC approval for our work plan for the next four years,” he explained. “The proposal tells WASC what issues we want to take a look at and it outlines our work plan for doing that. It tells them what areas we’re going to examine, when we’re going to do it, and who’s going to do it.”

Hood will share the proposal with campus organizations such as the Academic Senate and will make presentations at chairs’ meetings and college council meetings in the coming weeks. The proposal will be submitted by the Oct. 15 deadline.

After it has received CSULB’s proposal, WASC will review it and make its recommendations to the campus. “Once WASC approves the proposal, we are committed to the plan for the remainder of the time,” Hood said.

CSULB’s current proposal focuses on three areas; the first two at the suggestion of WASC through its action letter to the university:

Assessment of student learning outcomes: Assessment of student learning outcomes, in both general education and in the department major programs, is a current thrust in higher education.

Organization of the campus: WASC noted that CSULB decision-making points were distributed across campus and suggested a study of the efficiency of this decentralized structure.

Service to faculty and staff: This section of the Self-Study Plan will focus on what improvements can be made in areas such as employee recruitment, satisfaction and retention.

In an effort to determine the campus community’s thoughts, a survey was distributed to all faculty and staff and to 29,000 students.

“We had enough responses to be able to draw conclusions,” Hood said. “For instance, employees are concerned about workload and students are interested in the quality of instruction, and those are things we are looking at. We solicited topics of concern from the campus community and are planning to study those topics as part of our effort to use the accreditation process to strengthen our university and to increase the value of the degrees our students earn.”

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