Officials from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) will visit CSUN from Feb. 3-5 as the second step in the university’s attempt for re-accreditation.
Every 10 years, universities and colleges undergo a process to renew its accreditation status to be considered a proper educational institution.
According to the executive summary report, CSUN began this three-step process when faculty and staff submitted the Institutional Proposal (IP) in 2007 and the Capacity and Preparatory Review (CPR) this past fall to the WASC board.
“I expect we’ll have a successful visit,” said Dr. Elizabeth Say, administrator co-chair of the WASC Steering Committee. “We’ve worked [for] 18 months to prepare a good report to reflect what’s important here at Cal State Northridge. The CPR that the committee has read accurately reflects what we’re doing and what the vision of the university is. They will come away with a good sense of who we are.”
The WASC committee will consist of six assessment experts who will survey the campus for three days, according to the executive summary report.
They will meet with administration, President Jolene Koester vice presidents, faculty and staff, and students.
The WASC committee will submit an initial review to CSUN but an official report will not be issued for six weeks.
Students who are interested in voicing their praises or concerns to the WASC committee can do so by attending the student meeting on Feb. 4 from 10:15 a.m. to 11 a.m., said Say. They can also send comments to email@example.com.
The e-mails will be confidential and CSUN personnel will never see them, according to the executive summary report.
Cynthia Z. Rawitch, associate vice president of undergraduate studies, said she is confident about the visit and eventual re-accreditation.
“I know how good we are, it sounds over-confident, but the fact of the matter is we’re good at what we promise,” Rawitch said. “We have a loyal and engaged staff and faculty who care about what this university does and looks like. For example, how clean the campus is, the food the students eat and the ambience of the campus. I think we will pass with flying colors and there’s no doubt in my mind that we will measure up. If we don’t get accredited you could knock me over with a feather.”
The WASC committee will be referring to the CPR to determine if CSUN has fulfilled its promises of success that are described in this report, said Rawitch. The three themes include Student Success through Engagement in Learning, Faculty and Staff Support for University Success and Learning as an Institution,according to the CPR report.
Michael Neubauer, faculty co-chair of the WASC Steering Committee and director of liberal studies and a mathematics professor said the visit will help CSUN learn what needs to be improved.
“We would like to show WASC how well we do and get ideas about what else we could do to improve the institution,” he said. “We want this process to be helpful for us and help us become a better institution. Instead of doing, we reflect on what we’re doing.”
A main topic this year is how CSUN will cope with the current fiscal questions of budget, said Rawitch.
Provost Harry Hellenbrand said the university had a savings in case of a financial crisis but said the budget issue still will not significantly hurt the chances of re-accreditation for CSUN.
“It’s a national issue with every university in the United States; it’s not anything distinctive,” said Hellenbrand. “The things that are in our control we’re doing well.”
After the WASC visit, CSUN must still undergo the third step in the re-accreditation process, the Educational Effectiveness Review (EER), according to the executive summary report. It will commence in 18 months and will consist of another written report and a second WASC visit to the campus.