WSU passed accreditation evaluation, commended

Evaluation team made recommendations for next NWCCU review


IAN SMAY | The Daily Evergreen

Provost Dan Bernardo discusses the accreditation team’s feedback for WSU.

IAN SMAY, Evergreen reporter

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities gave its evaluation feedback, which included commendation of the administration’s inclusion and transparency efforts, to end its on-campus WSU visit Wednesday.

The evaluating team, led by University of Alaska Fairbanks Provost Susan Henrichs, supplied a list of six commendations and three recommendations for WSU following the three-day on-site visit.

WSU President Kirk Schulz and Provost Dan Bernardo said the evaluation went well.

“This went better than I think any of us could have hoped for,” Schulz said.

Henrichs spoke on university-wide commendations, as well as special recognition of the Student Success Council and the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning, to a crowd of about 40 people.

The evaluation team commended the administration for transparency, inclusiveness and decision-making, Henrichs said. The group also praised the ATL’s assessment of student learning outcomes, especially in relation to UCORE curriculum.

Past evaluations listed the assessment of student learning outcomes as a recommendation for improvement and commended the university’s plans to revitalize classrooms, citing the new SPARK: Academic Innovation Hub as an example.

After listing the team’s commendations for WSU, Henrichs informed attendees of the three recommendations the group decided upon. These included separating data to more closely view issues faced by different parts of the university, creating a fully comprehensive emergency plan with contingencies and using the results of university assessments to inform decision-making and resource allocation.

Bernardo said he was happy with the recommendations made.

“Everybody receives some recommendations,” Bernardo said. “A couple of those are really insightful and I think really will be helpful.”

He said the group did not list those recommendations as major, meaning they are not time-sensitive in order to maintain accreditation. They instead indicate WSU should look into these concerns over the next seven-year cycle.

Many universities receive the emergency-planning recommendation, and the evaluation team mentioned places like the Vancouver campus, Bernardo said.

“I think they felt we … had better emergency preparedness on the Pullman campus,” Bernardo said, “and perhaps needed to work on that a bit on other campuses.”

WSU will keep its accreditation from the NWCCU as expected, Bernardo said.

“For an institution like us,” he said, “that really never was in jeopardy.”