What is the WSCUC Accreditation?
The WASC Senior College and University Commission is a regionally accrediting body serving numerous private and public higher education institutions. It was established in the year 1962 to promote and develop higher education in the western region.
WSCUC is also recognized by the Department of Education of the U.S. as certifying the institutional eligibility and position.
Source - wscuc.org
The Commission is committed to serving the public and its institutions and their main goals are as follows.
Promote institutional engagement in issues of educational effectiveness and student learning.
Develop a culture of evidence that informs decision making.
Foster active interchange among public and independent institutions.
WASC Senior College and University Commission is working hard to promote institutional engagement in issues of learning and develop an environment that focuses on decision making. The general main purpose of institutional accreditation is to improve academic quality and public accountability.
It is a regional accrediting agency.
It is the agency that can serve both public and private institutions that offer higher education in California.
There are few places like Hawaii and Pacific which have a limited number of institutions.
WASC is the short form of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. This commission was formed in 1962 to enhance the promotion of schools and colleges in higher education. It was first introduced as a three-party body, namely WASC Senior College and University Commission, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
Later, it was entitled to a single WASC Commission separately.
It is situated in the western region of the United States and it helps colleges and schools get recognized.
The Department of United States recognizes the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Accrediting values for WASC
Every accreditation body has a set of rules/values/standards that should be followed by colleges or universities. The four standards of WSCUC are as follows.
Standard 1: This standard defines institutional purposes and ensures educational objectives.
Standard 2: Achieving educational objectives with the core functions.
Standard 3: Allocating new resources and developing the organizational structures to enable quality.
Standard 4: Bringing up an organization pledged towards quality assurance, institutional learning, and improvement.
Purpose of WASC Accreditation
WASC accredits the whole institution, not the individual programs. Therefore, in addition to certifying the academic quality and educational effectiveness of the university or college, the Commission focuses on the institutional processes and resources.
The purpose of accrediting is aimed at the following.
The accreditation will assure that an institution has demonstrated and has met the Commission's Commitments to Institution and Educational Effectiveness, and has been successfully reviewed by the WASC.
Developing standards to improve the educational quality and institutional operation and performance, and validating if those operations have met the guidelines of the accrediting agency.
Developing systems of institutional evaluation that are adaptive to educational context and purposes, which constructs on education and support reviews, and reduce the burden and cost of accreditation.
WASC promotes the active ideas interchange among public and institutions that further the principles of improved university performance and review.
- Promoting within institutions a culture of evidence where indicators of performance are regularly developed and data collected to inform institutional decision making, planning, and improvement.
Why do you need to join an Accredited University?
The concept of accreditation came into the picture to ensure the quality of the education and institution and to assist the improvement of the quality of the programs offered by the universities.
WASC accreditation aims at developing and maintaining the top-notch educational programs and makes sure that the WASC has met the expectations of all the students and the public.
Accreditation makes it easier for everyone to identify how the college or the university is performing.
The federal government is also committed to not provide loans and grants for those students who are not enrolled in an accredited university.
Any employer or company wants to know any degree that is earned by you to have the highest standards possible.
Getting a degree from an accredited institution enables you to sit for competitive and certification exams.
Types of Accreditation
There are generally 3 types of accreditation that are as follows
Regional Accreditation is basically the educational quality score provided to the universities or colleges in the United States. Regional accreditation organizations are older with exceptions but more prestigious than national accreditation.
National Accreditation agencies in the USA are not limited to a small or specific region. It is totally focused on approving all kinds of colleges and universities. This kind of accreditation generally focuses on providing more practical and career-oriented courses.
Programmatic Accreditation focuses totally on individual programs and departments within the university. Even though programmatic accreditation focus only on one program, it is as important as Regional and National Accreditation.
Some of the programmatic accreditations by WSCUC include the following -
Nursing Programs in San Jose State University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
Public Health Programs in San Diego State University is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health.
How do Universities get Accredited by the WASC?
WSCUC has established several procedures that an institution has to follow to get themselves accredited by WASC. Each process has its own set of conditions, criteria and time limits.
The university requested the accreditation have to closely consider the requirements such as Application for accreditation, the Letter of Intent, seeking Accreditation, Institutional Report Template, Inventory of Educational Effectiveness Indicators, Federal Compliance Forms. The Accreditation process might take a few years that depends on the development of an institution.
It basically involves three stages in order to get accredited which are as follows.
- Eligibility: The Committee review implies that the institution meets the Eligibility Criteria and in the judgment of the committee has the potential to meet WSCUC Standards at a minimum level and thus progress to application. Eligibility applications are reviewed by the Eligibility Review Committee (ERC).
Pre accreditation (Candidacy): Candidacy indicates that the institution meets all or nearly all the Standards at a minimum level. Candidacy is not accreditation and does not ensure eventual accreditation; it means that an institution is
Initial Accreditation: It indicates that the institution has met the WASC Senior College and University Commission’s Standards at a substantial level. Initial accreditation is awarded for a period of six years before the next comprehensive review.
Universities accredited by the WASC
Here’s the list of few universities that are accredited and recognized by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
San Jose State University
California State University
San Diego State University
- California Institute of Technology
Commissioners play a very important role in institutional characteristics such as size, mission, demographics, and much more. All the members in the committee are extremely committed to volunteer and work on their peer accreditation. The commission includes 3 public members, representatives from the Pacific basin, a representative from an accrediting commission.
[Also Read: What is Accreditation in Colleges and Universities? ]
Commissioners are nominated and elected by the CEO of the accredited institution. Some of the commissioners in WASC include Jeffrey Armstrong, Janna Bersi, and Joseph Castro, to name a few.
No matter what agency has accredited the university, accreditation for an institution helps you identify where the university stands. WASC themselves are recognized by the US Department Of Education. So, it all depends on you to choose the college on the basis of grades you’ve obtained and their accreditation.