CSUN earns 10-year WASC reaccreditation

Agnes Constante

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Cal State Northridge (CSUN) has been reaccredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) for another 10 years.

The university received a letter from WASC on March 8 reaffirming CSUN’s focus on student success and learning.

“The Commission commends CSUN for becoming a model learning organization characterized by collaborative and evidence-based planning, decision making and problem solving,” WASC President Ralph Wolff wrote in the letter to the university.

The accreditation process began in early 2007 and included two detailed self-studies (where the school assessed and examined its programs) conducted by CSUN administrators, faculty, staff and students, Hellenbrand said in a statement to the campus community.

Accredited institutions are student-oriented and continually evaluate student performance, are focused on a goals and a mission for students, have qualified faculty, regularly assess the quality of its programs, accept objective evaluations from WASC-trained peer professionals and plan for the future, according to the WASC website.

“I think CSUN’s reaccreditation for the maximum 10 years is a wonderful testament to the excellence of the university, its faculty, staff and students. Being described by WASC as a ‘model learning institution’ affirms what is closest to our hearts—our mission to serve students’ educational needs and aspirations,” said Vice Provost Cynthia Rawitch.

“It also is an acknowledgement of the five years of work on the part of hundreds of people who helped CSUN demonstrate our excellence and success to WASC.”

Michael Neubauer, WASC accreditation co-chair and mathematics professor at CSUN, said the five-year duration was the most challenging aspect of the process.

“We started working on (this) in 2006. It was at times hard to see the end of that road,” he said.

Neubauer, along with Rawitch and co-chair Elizabeth Say, College of Humanities Dean, had to make sure CSUN met WASC accreditation standards. Throughout the process they had monthly meetings, adhered to timelines, and consulted with the proper people on relevant issues.

Outside reviewers, which consisted of administrators and faculty from other universities throughout the country, also visited the campus in 2010 and 2011.

An exit meeting between WASC, Rawitch and Hellenbrand took place earlier this year. The meeting was the last step in the accreditation process that allows the commission to ask final questions and for the president to present any additional information.

“Everyone should take great pride in our earning a full 10-year reaccreditation, which reflects the strength and commitment of the entire campus community, particularly faculty and staff, to our students,” Hellenbrand said in the statement.

Hellenbrand gave a special thank you to WASC accreditation co-chairs, Liberal Studies Director and Mathematics Professor Michael Neubauer, College of Humanities Dean Elizabeth Say, members of the Steering Committee, Proposal Development Committee, and other task groups.

Reviewers who visited CSUN in September 2011 were: Provost Emeritus at Portland State University; Portland, Oregon, Mary Kay Tetreault, who was the chair of the evaluation team; Mark Pavelchak, academic information officer at Cal State LA; Jillian Kinzie, associate director of the Center for Postsecondary Research at Indiana University Bloomington and Mary Kirlin, associate professor at the Department of Public Policy and Administration at Cal State Sacramento.