For additional information about WASC accreditation at CSULB, contact the campus WASC representatives.
WASC is the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, a voluntary, non-governmental organization. It is one of six regional accrediting associations in the United States authorized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit schools, colleges, and universities.
Accreditation is the process of maintenance and certification of standards and quality in educational institutions by an external organization. In many countries, this maintenance and certification of quality and standards involve the government, but in the United States, the task is delegated to, and performed by, independent accrediting agencies such as WASC. An educational institution in the United States is not mandated to seek accreditation; however, most do because of the associated benefits (e.g., the ability to apply for federal grants).
The WASC accreditation process aids institutions in continuously improving the quality and effectiveness of educational programs and in developing high-quality innovative programs. WASC accreditation lends credibility to educational institutions and assures the educational community, the general public, the government, and other organizations that an accredited institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness – and has processes in place to continue to do so.
There are three steps in the accreditation process: the institutional proposal, the capacity review (and visit), and the educational effectiveness review (and visit). After that, a final decision is made. Each step requires a report to be submitted to WASC.
The institutional proposal outlines what CSULB plans to examine during the accreditation process for improvement. It is based upon self-reflection and concerns of the institution to maintain quality and standards. CSULB will address three core commitments: organizing; staffing; and student success. The proposal was sent by CSULB to WASC in October 2006 after broad input from the campus community and was approved by WASC in December 2006.
The capacity and preparatory review examines CSULB’s ability to meet WASC standards concerning structure, resources, and processes. The capacity review report will be sent by CSULB to WASC in fall 2008. In the interim period, data related to the themes will be gathered and analyzed. A team from WASC will visit CSULB in spring 2009.
The educational effectiveness review provides evidence of how well CSULB is meeting its stated mission. The educational effectiveness review report will be sent by CSULB to WASC in fall 2010. A team from WASC will visit CSULB in spring 2011. The final decision on accreditation will be made in spring 2011. The University may be accredited for a period of up to 10 years.
The entire WASC accreditation process is being coordinated by a WASC Steering Committee consisting of senior members of the administration, faculty, staff, and students. A smaller group called the WASC Implementation Committee will manage the process and the three core commitment groups on organizing, staffing and student success. Additionally, several working groups have already been established, and some others are likely to be established as the process unfolds. View the WASC Organizational Structure.
The accreditation process provides CSULB and the campus community with an opportunity to engage in a period of self-study, reflection, and specific action to promote improvement. This is your chance to ask probing questions about how well the university is performing, identify evidence to address these questions, and contribute to efforts to improve the university. You can also participate in conversations about its future direction. In short, accreditation affects the entire campus community.
CSULB has a vast and diverse human capital capable of making substantial contributions to its mission and changing lives. Your expertise in your subject area, coupled with your research and technical skills, can assist the university in analysis and synthesis of data and information resulting in recommendations for specific and overall improvement. You can be a good citizen and have a small, though not insignificant role, in the future of the university.
There are several ways you can participate in the WASC accreditation process. First, continue to check the WASC web site at www.csulb.edu/wasc for specific ways to become involved. Additionally, in spring 2008, to encourage broad participation from the campus community in the educational effectiveness review, Praveen Soni, chair of the Academic Senate, will issue a call inviting the campus community to participate in WASC projects/studies in areas of their interest and expertise in the 2008-2009 academic year.