Central Washington University is an institution of higher education that is driven by planning, prioritization, assessment and continuous improvement. Institutional and programmatic accreditation is an important element of CWU’s quality assurance and self-improvement efforts.
Accreditation itself is a form of self-regulation in which universities and programs develop policies and procedures for self-evaluation and judgment by peers. While each accrediting organization establishes its own standards by which institutions and programs are accredited, these standards all address similar areas, such as expected student achievement, curriculum, faculty, services and academic support for students and financial capacity. In most cases, a self-study is prepared that addresses how the institution or unit addresses and meets the standards of the accrediting organization. Accreditation “teams” may visit the institution to determine whether or not the standards of the accrediting are being met. A report of findings is presented. Based on these findings, an accreditation decision-making body provides a determination as to whether an institution or unit within the institution receives accreditation.
Central Washington University is currently an accredited institution through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The NWCCU is one of six regional accrediting associations that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. CWU also maintains 13 specialized accreditations of various programs and units throughout the university. In addition to specialized accreditation, education related programs are reviewed and approved through a review process (similar to accreditation) by the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board.