The University's accrediting agency is WSCUC (WASC Senior College and University Commission), also known as WASC.
In June 2015, Pacific received a positive final Action Letter from WSCUC in response to the Interim Report Pacific submitted in March 2015 and the May 2015 follow-up conference call with the Interim Report Committee. In its Action Letter, the Commission commended University on its progress. There were no follow-up requirements from the Commission. This success is the result of the diligent and collaborative work of the WASC Interim Report Task Force and everyone across the University to make progress on the three issues, gather and analyze evidence of that progress, and write and review report sections.
The Provost serves as the University Accreditation Liaison Officer to WSCUC. Key stakeholder groups who reviewed and provided feedback on the Interim Report included: University Assessment Committee, Academic Affairs Committee, Student Success Committee, Academic Council, Council of Assistant and Associate Deans, Leadership Team of the Division of Student Life, the Provost's Leadership Council and the President's Cabinet. The Board of Regents reviewed the Interim Report at their April 2015 meeting. The Task Force would like to thank everyone involved for your part in this very successful report. It was truly a collective effort, but there is always more to do. Later this year the University will begin to prepare for its next full reaccreditation report (due in 2018) and site visit (in 2019). We will be required to provide updates on the three issues in the Interim Report, in addition to addressing issues typically part of the reaccreditation process.
What is New in the WASC/WSCUC 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. 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. WSCUC is attempting to "rebalance the dual role of accreditation to support both public accountability and institutional improvement" (2013 Handbook Draft, p.3) and calls 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.