The University conducts regular assessment of each academic, academic support, and non-academic program, in order to:
- Ensure that University activities are aligned with institutional mission and goals
- Ensure that academic programs are of highest quality and that student learning is sustained at high levels
- Serve the goal of continuous institutional improvement
- Provide data for resource management and decision-making
- Satisfy the requirements of accreditation
The University's program planning procedures have currently been redesigned and approved. All programs, departments, and offices of the University, both academic and administrative, are required to submit brief annual reports and conduct a periodic self study. The Program Planning guide is available online via this link.
The Provost serves as the University Accreditation Liaison Officer to WASC. The WASC Commission reaffirmed the University's accreditation status for seven years at the conclusion of the University's last review, in April 2012.
What is New in the WASC 2013 accreditation redesign: The 2013 redesign builds on the educational effectiveness emphasis of the Core Commitments and Standards in the 2001 and 2008 Handbooks, but calls for a more focused review process and shorten the time required for reaccreditation by reorganizing the Institutional Review Process. The current practice of two campus visits is reduced to one, accompanied by external (off-site) compliance reviews of financial and student success data (accounting for both degree completion and learning). The new guidelines also include changes to the accreditation standards as well as changes to the Criteria for Review (see table). In terms of evidence of educational effectiveness, the 2013 redesign moves from a focus on creating assessment infrastructure and processes to the demonstration of results and findings about the quality of learning. WASC is attempting to "rebalance the dual role of accreditation to support both public accountability and institutional improvement" (2013 Handbook Draft, p.3) and is calling for:
Accountability for student achievement
Transparency in reporting the results of accreditation
Demonstration of institutional contribution to the public good
A significant new requirement instructs institutions to demonstrate that graduates of every degree program meet institutionally defined performance standards for oral and written communication, quantitative reasoning, information literacy, and critical thinking. Claims about student achievement must use evidence from assessment. As such, Pacific will need to set expected performance standards and systematically assess these core competencies.