WASC Accreditation Review Process Continues

by University Relations

The four-year accreditation review by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) process culminates in fall 2012. The onsite Capacity and Preparatory Review (CPR) in March 2011 resulted in a positive report.

Leading up to that visit, APU underwent a self-study to provide its constituencies with an understanding of university policies that are in congruence with WASC standards and the four themes of the APU Academic Vision 2016: transformational scholarship, faith integration, God-honoring diversity, and intentional internationalization.

The CPR team assessed how the university responded to previous WASC recommendations, and whether capacity evidence existed to support the university’s claim that it has the resources to collect, analyze, and use data to facilitate educational effectiveness. The team’s final analysis included commendations for:

• Establishing and following a clearly defined mission statement and vision.

• Extensive and sustained efforts made in the area of faith integration.

• Increased diversity in all areas, including a rise in the number of students from varied ethnic groups, particularly in graduate and adult programs.

• Advancing the pursuit of international understanding and engagement among students, faculty, and staff through a wide variety of curricular and cocurricular programs that prepare students to live and serve more effectively in a multicultural world.

“Our dedicated teams of faculty and staff that spearheaded this process on campus worked faithfully to guide the university toward progress and success,” said President Jon R. Wallace, DBA. “Because of their efforts, the WASC review team ascertained that APU has a clear sense of mission, a strong commitment to transformational scholarship, active engagement in faith integration, a well-established understanding of God-honoring diversity, and significant participation in intentional internationalization. The team also reported that we are deeply engaged and mobilized around our mission to deliver educational effectiveness, we have a clear understanding of who we are, and we intentionally develop a culture that supports the achievement of our mission. It doesn’t get much better than that.”

“The WASC review did much more than affirm our direction and efforts,” said Vicky Bowden, DNSc, RN, professor of nursing and WASC accreditation liaison officer. “This process has engaged administrators, faculty, staff, and students in important discussions about APU’s future, such as maintaining our institutional identity while operating effectively among our peers in the academy. Across disciplines and at every level, a spirit of collaboration sets the foundation for meaningful research and honest self-evaluation.”

The university now turns its attention toward the final phase of the accreditation review process, the Educational Effectiveness Review (EER), which involves a process of inquiry and engagement that enables the WASC Commission to make a judgment about the extent to which APU fulfills its Core Commitment to Educational Effectiveness: “The institution evidences clear and appropriate education objectives and design at the institution and program level, and employs processes of review, including the collection and use of data, that assure delivery of programs and learner accomplishments at a level of performance appropriate for the degree or certificate awarded.” Following the October 10–12, 2012, EER visit, the commission will incorporate the findings from the CPR and EER reviews, note the progress made since the CPR visit in March 2011, and issue the overall judgment regarding APU’s accreditation.