What you need to know about the SJSU WSCUC 2021 accreditation exam.
Over 36,000 students are enrolled at San José State University. How can we hold ourselves accountable to them and the rest of our community in achieving our mission? The answer begins with SJSU’s commitment to ensuring student success and includes accreditation, which is an independent, third-party assessment process.
This fall, the State of San José will begin its next review of our accreditation by the Commission on Higher Colleges and Universities of the WASC * (WSCUC), the regional accrediting body for universities in California, Hawaii, and the U.S. Pacific Territories.
What does WSCUC accreditation mean for SJSU?
Simply put: WSCUC accreditation is our university’s newsletter on our academic quality and educational effectiveness. In other words: how do we define and measure student learning, and how do we ensure that we provide a high quality, effective, equitable and sustainable educational experience?
Junelyn Peeples, Liaison Officer for SJSU’s WSCUC Accreditation, who is also Vice-President, Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Analysis, explained that the purpose of accreditation “is to help institutions in ‘higher education to assess the effectiveness of their educational offer and its impact on student success ”.
In addition, the WSCUC approach to accreditation, she added, “helps institutions develop and maintain effective educational programs and assures the educational community and the general public that an accredited institution has meets high standards of quality and efficiency ”.
Each regional accreditation body has basic skills that its institutions must maintain, such as oral and written communication, information literacy, and quantitative reasoning. WSCUC’s particular core competency set has been developed taking into account what the public would expect a global citizen to look like upon graduation from a given higher education institution.
Accreditation is also reaffirmed periodically by the WSCUC to allow the university to review and reflect on how it performs against the standards set for colleges and universities in our region.
Why is this important for SJSU?
“The accreditation process provides us with a way to assess what we’re doing and determine where we’re going: where we’re going to direct our attention, where we’re doing really well, and where we may need to readjust. what we do, ”said Pam Richardson, professor of occupational therapy and chair of the SJSU Accreditation Review Board.
Accreditation is also tied to federal funding and has an impact on schools and colleges at our university – they would not be able to gain accreditation for their professional programs if the university was not accredited.
“WSCUC focuses its attention on how we deliver the program and our support services to our students, particularly how students are able to demonstrate their learning,” added Peeples.
“And they do it in a very collaborative way, so we really engage in the process. For example, if there are major changes in the expectations of what institutions need to deliver, universities are part of the conversation about how to meaningfully focus our attention on making those adjustments.
“I think [WSCUC] is very forward looking, ”said Thalia Anagnos, Vice-President, Undergraduate Education and member of the SJSU Accreditation Review Steering Committee. “They see the trends happening nationally and then create guidelines to help us stay up to date with them. Requiring meaningful assessment practices is a good example of how WSCUC has helped us maintain our accountability to the public and to our own students.
What does the accreditation process look like for SJSU?
The last reaffirmation of SJSU’s accreditation dates back to 2015. Over the past 18 months, SJSU has conducted a self-study of its activities that consisted of eight components, including progress made on the recommendations of the previous WSCUC report and the special follow-up visit in 2017.
A team of independent reviewers from other universities, including one from another California State University, will review SJSU’s self-study later this fall and then meet with representatives from the university to clarify any questions. that they have before visiting the campus in early spring. 2022.
During our site visit, the team of evaluators will meet with the President, Marshal, CFO as well as students, administrators, faculty and other stakeholder groups from the SJSU community over the course of three days.
The external review team then provides its recommendations on the SJSU to the WSCUC. The WSCUC will determine if we receive an accreditation of 10 years or less and / or a special visit in a few years, in which case SJSU will endeavor to resolve any outstanding issues that have been noted by the reviewers.
What is important to note about the SJSU 2021 self-study?
As someone with experience as a peer reviewer for accreditation of other institutions, Peeples was energized when she reviewed the SJSU Self-Assessment Report.
“I’m really proud that the state of San José has focused on general education, and the work that we do in most of the institutions is not tackling because it is such a heavy task to assess, and it is one of the fundamental elements of how we demonstrate our educational effectiveness, ”she said.
“We also take a holistic and comprehensive counseling approach,” she explains, reflecting our focus on student success.
“The report also does a good job of linking our Transformation 2030 strategic plan to our initiatives to support student success, ”added Richardson.
SJSU has also worked to address leadership, the campus climate as well as social injustice, equity and inclusion, which were the subject of recommendations in the latest self-study. Richardson and Peeples both recognize progress in these areas, but they also recognize that more work is still needed.
The true measure of the education of the State of San José as an accredited institution is that students earn a degree for which they can competently identify the skills, knowledge and understanding of this subject in a meaningful way, and that they did so in a timely manner.
What else should the SJSU community know about this process?
It should be noted in particular, Anagnos explained, that this report was written by several SJSU stakeholders from every division and area of the university – including a Accreditation committee led by professors, composed of 25 members.
“Accreditation is really a collaborative effort, and we’ve been working on it for almost two years,” she added. “By having this kind of self-reflection and discussion between the divisions, we learned a lot from each other, and that’s a really important part of the process. “
Peeples highlighted the opportunity this gives our community to step back and assess not only how we help students, but also how we can influence the impact of our alumni upon graduation. “As alumni of San José State University and citizens of the world, they bring something to the world that helps change it, and this is our chance to tell this story and how we let’s realize it. “
SJSU’s self-study can be viewed online. Soon, forums for students, faculty and staff will be organized for the community to respond and ask questions about the report and the process.
* WASC was established in the early 1960s to “promote the development and accreditation of higher education in the western region of the United States”. Today, WASC accredits public and private higher education institutions in California, Hawaii, the Pacific, and around the world and is recognized as an accreditation body by the US Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.