The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) is one of seven regional accrediting agencies in the United States that accredit public and private schools, colleges, and universities throughout California, Hawaii, and the Pacific as well as a limited number of institutions outside the U.S.
Three Core Commitments, four Standards and 39 associated Criteria for Review (CFRs) guide review work to encourage continuous improvement of institutions through capacity (infrastructure, decision-making processes and resources) and educational effectiveness (ability to deliver curriculum) sustainability. Accredited institutions are also subject to Commission policies.
Documentation submitted to WSCUC by The Chicago School of Professional Psychology for past accreditation purposes can be found within the Accountability section of our website. To learn more about WSCUS, please visit www.wascsenior.org/about.
- Student learning and success
- Quality and improvement
- Institutional integrity, Sustainability, and Accountability
- Defining institutional purposes and ensuring educational objectives
- Achieving educational objectives through core functions
- Development and applying resources and organizational structures to ensure quality and sustainability
- Creating an organization committed to quality assurance, institutional learning, and improvement
Criteria for Review (CRFs)
Accreditation is sought by most institutions because it certifies to other institutions and the general public that an institution meets or exceeds standards and achieves objectives that are set within the institution. Accreditation determines a school’s eligibility for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial aid programs. Students attending accredited institutions may be eligible to apply for U.S. federal financial aid.
Accreditation also is important for the acceptance and transfer of college credit, and is a prerequisite for many graduate programs. Generally, college credits or degrees received at a regionally accredited institution are accepted by other regionally accredited colleges or universities.
The process of accreditation is voluntary. No institution is required to seek accreditation, but many choose to do so because of the many recognized benefits of the process.
The overall WSCUC accreditation review occurs at least once within a seven to ten year cycle. The process is designed to promote an institution’s ownership in the accreditation process. The WSCUC accreditation review is committed to the application of standards of performance within the context of a developmental process. Perfection is not expected. What is expected is the continuous review of institutional processes and their effectiveness, determining what changes need to be made, implementing change, and repeating the cycle again.
The Institutional Review Process begins with the preparation of a self-study, the Institutional Report, which is submitted for peer review by a team conducting the Offsite Review, followed by an Onsite Visit. Each component is described below.
- The Institutional Report (self-study) describes TCSPP’s accreditation history, including the most recent team report and Commission action letters; a self-review of the Standards and CFRs in the context of TCSPP’s capacity and infrastructure, strengths, weaknesses, priorities, and plans for achieving compliance with the Standards and institutional improvement.
There are several elements (required components) of the Institutional Report (IR), typically 50 to 75 pages. The following is a preview of the report’s outline:
- Introduction (CFR 1.1, 1.8)
- Self-Review and Compliance
- Standards Self-Review
- United States Department of Education Compliance Forms
- Degree Programs (CFR 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 4.3)
- Meaning, quality and integrity of degrees
- Educational Quality (CFR 2.2, 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 4.3)
- Student Learning
- Core Competencies
- Standards of Performance at Graduation
- Student Success (CFR 1.2, 2.7, 2.13)
- Student Learning
- Retention and Graduation
- Quality Assurance and Improvement (CFR 2.4, 2.6, 2.7, 2.10, 4.1-4.7)
- Program Review
- Use of Data and Evidence
- Sustainability (CFR 3.4, 3.7, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, 4.6, 4.7)
- Financial Viability
- Preparing for the Changing Higher Education Environment
- Institutional-specific Themes (optional) (CFRs as appropriate)
- Reflection and Plans for Improvement
- The Offsite Review is conducted by a team who reviews the Institutional Report and accompanying documents. The institution is evaluated on its compliance with the Standards during the one day review which includes a video conference with TCSPP representatives. The evaluation team shares impressions, issues for follow-up including additional questions and documents for review at the onsite visit. Our Offsite Review will occur October 2016.
- The Onsite Visit will include meetings with TCSPP representatives to follow-up on preliminary findings of the Offsite review concerning both compliance and improvement. Our Onsite Visit will occur Spring 2017.
We will plan the specifics for the Onsite Visit after receiving details from the Offsite Review. It is possible that team members will visit multiple campuses, however, these details will be determined by the team during the Offsite Review. Team members are generally welcomed to an institution with tours and poster sessions.
Following the Onsite Visit, the team shares its draft team report with TCSPP for correction of errors of fact and challenges related to proprietary information. The team then finalizes the team report and forwards it to the Commission for action. It is possible that we will receive notification by June 2017 from the Commission. The Commission can accept, defer, or reject recommended follow up visits and reports. If accepted, the Commission can renew TCSPP’s accreditation for a term of up to ten years.
- July 8, 2016 – Self-study submitted to WSCUC
- October 4, 2016 — Offsite Review
- January 31, 2017 — Mock Visit
- March 21-23, 2017 — WSCUC Site Visit to the Los Angeles campus
For general inquiries, please contact TCSPP’s Associate Provost for Accreditation Affairs and Accreditation Liaison Officer, Melea Fields, (213) 283-4226, [email protected].