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 - Department Chairs and Program Directors

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. Department Chairs and Program Directors 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, 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 department and program 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:

  • Please describe the changes your department/program has made as a function of assessment findings. Examples include:
    • Program-level and/or course learning outcomes
    • Other curriculum changes
    • Policies, procedures, practices
    • Pedagogy
    • Faculty and staff hiring
    • Faculty and staff professional development
    • Facilities/equipment
    • Advising
    • Experiential learning opportunities
    • Resource requests/allocations
  • How did you assess the impact of those changes?
  • What was the impact of those changes? Did you see improvements across the five core themes?

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 department/program support the institution's mission? How do your strategic goals and initiatives promote the insitution's mission?
  3. What are the insitution's 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 department/program support the institution's core themes? How do your strategic goals and initiatives promote the insitution's core themes?
  5. To what extent is the institution fulfilling the 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 department/program contributing to the mission and core themes?
    • Where and in what ways is your department/program exceeding the expectations you have set?
    • Where and in what ways is your department/program 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 department/program had to adapt to changing circumstances - in terms of both external and internal factors?
    • How well have the institution and your department/program adapted to change?
    • Thinking about the future, how well-equipped are the institution and your department/program to adapt to change?
  8. What are the primary challenges the insitution and your department/program 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 department/program currently face?
    • What challenges are on the horizon?
    • How do you see the institution and your department/program addressing and overcoming those challenges?
  9. What are two or three primary changes you have undertaken to improve your department/program?
    • What data/information did you use to determine these specific were changes necessary?
    • What information did you (or will you) use to evaluate the impact and effectiveness of these changes?
    • How effective have these changes been?  What is working well – and what is not?

  10. Other possible question topics about your department/program include, but are not limited to, the follow:
    • Questions about specific Eligibility Requirements and/or Accreditation Standards
    • The General Education Program (GE)
      • 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?
      • How does your department/program contribute to the current GE? How will you contribute to the new GE?
      • To what extent has your department/program been involved in the assessment and, by extension, improvement of the current GE?
      • What do you anticipate your department’s/program’s role will be in the assessment and improvement of the new GE?
    • Department/Program Self-Studies (aka Program Review) and Assessment
      • What are your program learning outcomes? When were they last reviewed/updated?
      • What are your course learning outcomes? When were they last reviewed/updated?
      • Do you have an Advisory Board and/or other method(s) for ensuring your program-level and course learning outcomes are current?
      • Do you have a curriculum map of program-level learning outcomes and specific courses?
      • Please describe your department’s/program’s assessment process(es). Who is responsible for department- and program-level assessment?
      • Please describe improvements/enhancements your department/program has made as a function of assessment findings. How did you assess the impact of those changes? What was the impact of those changes? Did you see improvements across the five core themes?
    • Specialized Accreditation - Same questions as above with the addition of the following:
      • If your department/program holds or is seeking specialized accreditation, please provide a summary of the department’s/program’s status and, if applicable, history of specialized accreditation.
      • If your department/program currently holds specialized accreditation, what challenges did you encounter in obtaining specialized accreditation? How did you address those challenges?
      • If you are seeking specialized accreditation, what challenges do you anticipate? What is your plan for addressing those challenges?