Accreditation

The mission of Central Washington University is to prepare students for enlightened, responsible, and productive lives; to produce research, scholarship, and creative expression in the public interest; and to serve as a resource to the region and the state through effective stewardship of university resources.

NWCCU Reaffirmation of Accreditation - Deans and Associate Deans

A Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) peer review committee is coming to Ellensburg October 22-24, 2018 to evaluate the extent of CWU’s mission fulfillment across five core themes based on the NWCCU Eligibility Requirements and Standards for Accreditation. Deans and Associate Deans have a key role in this process.

Any NWCCU Eligibility Requirement or Accreditation Standard is fair game for a question from an evaluator. Evaluators will likely be particularly interested in your perspectives on CWU’s student profile, mission, core themes, changes, challenges and adaptability, sustainability (both financially and in terms of the quality and competitiveness of academic offerings and student services), and interactions between/among faculty, staff, students, and administrators. They will also be extremely interested in examples of your college’s planning, implementation, effectiveness, and improvement.

Below you will find a series of questions we expect the NWCCU evaluators to ask. In all likelihood, the most important questions will be:

What are the primary, most important, changes you have implemented to improve your college?

  • What data/information did you use to determine these specific changes were necessary?
  • What information did you (or will you) use to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of these changes?
  • To date, how effective have these changes been? What is working well – and what is not?

Other (Also Important) Questions You Should Be Prepared to Answer:

  1. What is the primary mission of the institution? Who are the students CWU serves?
    • Has that mission – or the student profile – changed since the last NWCCU comprehensive site visit (fall 2009) or since the NWCCU Mid-Cycle Evaluation visit (fall 2014)?
    • Thinking about the institution’s future, is the mission likely to remain the same – or change?
    • Will the student profile change – or remain the same?
    • If the mission and/or student profile is likely to change, how and why do you see them changing?
  2. How does your college support the institution’s mission? How do your strategic goals and initiatives promote the institution’s mission?
  3. What are the institution’s five core themes?
    • How do those core themes relate to the institution’s mission?
    • Have those core themes changed since the last NWCCU site visit (fall 2009) or since the NWCCU Mid-Cycle Evaluation visit (Fall 2014)?
    • Thinking about the institution’s future, are those core themes likely to remain the same – or change?
    • If they are likely to change, how and why do you see them changing?
  4. How does your college support the institution’s core themes? How do your strategic goals and initiatives promote the institution’s core themes?
  5. To what extent is the institution fulfilling its mission and core themes?
    • Where and in what ways is the institution meeting or exceeding the expectations it set for itself?
    • Where and in what ways is the institution falling short?
    • How is the institution addressing those shortcomings?
  6. To what extent is your college fulfilling its mission and core themes?
    • Where and in what ways is your college exceeding the expectations you have set?
    • Where and in what ways is your college falling short?
    • What are you doing to address those shortcomings?
  7. Since the last NWCCU site visit, in what ways have the institution and your division had to adapt to changing circumstances – in terms of both external and internal factors?
    • How well have the institution adapted to change?
    • Thinking about the future, how well-equipped is the institution to adapt to change?
  8. What are the primary challenges the institution and your college have had to overcome since the last NWCCU site visit (Fall 2009) or since the NWCCU Mid-Cycle Evaluation visit (Fall 2014)?
    • What are the primary challenges the institution and your college currently face?
    • What challenges are on the horizon?
    • How do you see the institution and your college addressing and overcoming those challenges?
  9. Given the time, energy, and effort devoted to General Education, you are also likely to be asked the following:
    • Would you please describe the process by which CWU created a new GE program during AY2016-17 and AY2017-18?
    • How would you describe the current GE at CWU and the new GE to be implemented in Fall 2019?
    • What do you see as the benefits of the new GE?
    • Do you see any drawbacks to the new program? Can those drawbacks be mitigated? If so, how?
    • In what ways will the Faculty Senate continue to be involved in the implementation and assessment of the new GE?
  10. Other possible question topics about your college include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • College mission, vision, strategic initiatives – and your evaluation of progress to date
    • College-level assessment – both in terms of quality assurance and continuous improvement (evaluators will want to hear about specific examples)
    • Specialized accreditation:
      • What programs does your college have that are specially accredited?
      • What programs will be seeking specialized accreditation in the next few years?
      • What support does your college/departments provide for faculty to prepare self-study reports and other materials for specialized accreditation?
  11. Here are additional questions based on specific NWCCU Accreditation Standards:
  12. What is the nature of the board’s relationship(s) with administrators, faculty, staff, and students?
  13. How do you ensure that, as trustees, you are meeting the requirements of NWCCU Standards 1.A.1, 2.A.4, 2.A.5, 2.A.6, 2.A.7, and 2.A.8?
    • Has the board reviewed and approved CWU’s mission statement, core themes, and strategic plan?
    • How does the board ensure members have no conflicts of interest while serving as trustees?
    • Does the board act only as a committee of the whole – with no member or subcommittee of the board acting on behalf of the board except by formal delegation of authority by the governing board as a whole?
    • Does the board establish, review regularly, revise as necessary, and exercise broad oversight of institutional policies, including those regarding its own organization and operation?
    • Does the board select and regularly evaluate a chief executive officer who is accountable for the operation of the institution?
    • Does the board delegate authority and responsibility to the CEO to implement and administer board-approved policies related to the operation of the institution?
    • Does the board regularly evaluate its performance to ensure its duties and responsibilities are fulfilled in an effective and efficient manner?
Standard Question
All What initiatives have you worked on during your associate dean/deanship? What were the goals? What were the effects?
All What challenges/issues have you encountered? And how have you dealt with them?
All What changes have you undertaken? Why? How did you determine these changes were necessary? That these were the right ones? What data/information did you use to determine the changes necessary? What information do you use for evaluating the effectiveness of any changes?
1a, 5a, 5b Do you think the university’s mission is understood by the faculty? Are their views incorporated into the institution’s goals? How well are faculty issues, concerns and ideas integrated?
1a, 5a, 5b Do you think the mission drives the institution’s decisions and practices? Does the administration effectively monitor the environment? How well does the institution evaluate its resources and capacity?
1a, 5a, 1b What is the relationship between the mission and the way in which achievement is defined? Does the institution use evidence from assessments to make decisions moving forward? How? Do you think the university’s core themes reflect the mission?
1a, 5a, 1b How does your college contribute to the university’s mission?
1a, 5a, 1b How does your college contribute to the core themes?
2a1 Is the institution’s system of governance clearly defined? Are the views of faculty taken into consideration where appropriate?
2a12 Are academic policies clearly communicated? Are expectations clear to faculty?
2a18 Are faculty apprised of their conditions of employment, work assignments, rights and responsibilities, and criteria and procedures for evaluation, retention, promotion, and retention?
2a22 Does the institution have clearly defined policies with respect to intellectual property? Have there been any issues?
2a27 Does the institution effectively protect faculty’s academic freedom? Have there been any issues?
2b1, 2b2 Are results made publicly available in a timely manner?
2b3 Are faculty responsibilities and workload commensurate with the institution’s expectations for teaching, service, scholarship, research etc.?
2b4 Are faculty evaluations timely, substantive, fair, and collegial? Are there clear policies and processes to enable and support faculty who are found deficient in some regard? Are there clear policies for faculty who dispute a recommendation or decision?
2c2 Do faculty use student learning outcomes effectively? Do they find them beneficial?
2f1 Are faculty incorporated into the institution’s budget making decisions? Are their needs and expertise taken into consideration?
2f2 Are financial arrangements seen by faculty as transparent?
3a1 Is the institution’s planning process participatory?
3a2 Does the administration communicate effectively with faculty?
3a3, 3a4 Are the results of the planning process, the implementation process, shared with the faculty? Are they transparent?
3b1 Is planning driven by the strategic plan and mission? How does the information loop work?
3b2 Do you trust that the appropriate data is collected and utilized in the administration’s decisions?
4a1 Does the institution engage in ongoing systematic collection and analysis of meaningful, assessable, and verifiable data to measure achievement?
4a2 Is evaluation of programs systematic and effective? Is the assessment process effective in designing improvements and changes?
4a4 Is there a holistic evaluation of alignment, correlation, and integration of programs and services? Are the results made publicly available in a timely manner?
3b, 4a, 4b How does your college currently contribute to the Gen Ed Program? How will that change under the new program?