9 Things to Know About WASC
As the University continues the heavy lifting with work toward WASC reaccreditation, those navigating behind the scenes wanted to share some key details with the campus community.
1. Who is WASC?
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is an official academic body responsible for the accreditation of public and private universities, colleges, secondary and elementary schools in California.
2. What is accreditation?
The WASC Senior College and University Commission employs the peer review process using member-set standards to encourage continuous institutional improvement. This ensures accredited institutions are fulfilling their missions in service to their students and the public good.
3. Why should I care?
Not only does accreditation affirm our high-quality education, but we use its evaluation criteria to collect evidence that substantiates our strengths and identifies our weaknesses. Together—with a focus on improvement and accountability—we use it to become a better University and enhance our students’ experiences. Without accreditation, we would lose funding opportunities and suffer devastating reputational consequences.
4. What do we hope to showcase?
Our student learning and successes, our quality of educational offerings, our improvements since the last accreditation, and our institutional integrity, sustainability, and accountability. We also hope to show how we engage students at a residential campus, how we assess our programs, how we use technology innovatively, and how we invest in our data infrastructure to improve effectiveness and accountability.
5. What have we done so far?
Over the course of the fall semester, the WASC steering committee engaged people from across campus, asking them to think about how Chico State can better serve our students. This exercise was in direct response to the WASC standards and criteria for review. Additionally, programs across campus are directly engaged in the production of their portfolios, which will address what they are doing individually.
6. What are the milestones in the process?
We have three major milestones:
- The draft Institutional Report will be released to campus for review and open forums later this semester.
- The final Institutional Report will be submitted to WASC by September 25, 2018.
- WASC will visit Chico State to complete its review from March 5–7, 2019.
7. Where can I get updates?
The WASC website will be the home for information, participation, and communication regarding the accreditation process. Check back often.
8. What will be in the report?
The institutional report focuses on what makes our University unique, student success, and the meaning, quality, and integrity of a Chico State degree. We will answer questions like:
- What does having a Chico State degree say students are capable of doing?
- How rich and rigorous are the experiences we offer?
- To what extent does the institution deliver what it promises to deliver?
- How well do students learn?
- How do we define and promote student success?
- Are resources aligned with institutional priorities?
- What local, national and global challenges will affect the institution?
- What is the intuition’s vision of education for the coming decade?
9. What is my role?
As we make reaccreditation a priority, you are asked for your participation and your understanding, as other projects may be forced to yield the spotlight to WASC. Understand the WASC process and its purpose, read the draft report and provide input, participate in campuswide conversations, and prepare to be on campus during the March 2019 visit. Help us, as we not only put our best foot forward but critically and honestly examine ourselves and prepare to unleash our true potential. As President Gayle E. Hutchinson says, “Together, we WASC.” We are one University. We are Chico State.