January 26, 2004
Accreditation team will visit UCSC for review
on February 4-6
By Jim Burns
UCSC will be visited by an accreditation team early next month, a critical step in the Western Association of Schools and Colleges' review to determine if the campus should have its WASC status reaffirmed. The visit will take place February 4-6.
"It's an incredible opportunity for the people of the campus to look collectively at what we do, assess how well we do it, and think of ways to do it even better."
--Lynda Goff, chair of UCSC's Western Association of Schools
and Colleges Review Task Force
WASC contact information:
985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
Since the last time the campus was accredited in 1994, the review
process has been revised considerably, said vice provost and dean of
undergraduate education Lynda Goff, chair of UCSC's WASC Review Task
"Under the new process, each institution is asked to propose a
self-study that is focused on issues germane to its particular mission,
stage of development, and institutional context," she said. "There
is considerable leeway in selecting topics, although there must be an
emphasis on undergraduate educational effectiveness and demonstration
of student learning."
In September 2002, the task force chose to focus its accreditation
on three main topics: the expansion of our graduate programs, undergraduate
student engagement, and restructuring departmental review procedures
with a focus on the undergraduate curricula.
Visiting the campus in February will be James Duderstadt, president
emeritus, University of Michigan; Christina Gonzalez, dean of graduate
studies at UC Davis; K. Patricia Cross, professor emerita of UC Berkeley
and Harvard University; Norman R. Scott, vice president of research
at Cornell University; and Farris W. Womack, former executive vice president
and chief financial officer, University of Michigan and University of
In preparation for their visit, UCSC's accreditation task force met
with faculty, students, administrators, and alumniinterviews that
led to the development of four "reflective essays" on UCSC's
past, present, and future.
The first essay traces the history of UCSC from its founding up to
approximately 1990. The second continues the campus history, focusing
on UCSCs success in providing excellent education at both undergraduate
and graduate levels. The third describes the current planning process
and highlights aspirations for UC Santa Cruz over the next two decades.
The fourth illustrates the strong tradition of shared governance at
UCSC and outlines the collection and use of institutional data to support
"The finished essays clearly reflect the input of many members
of the UCSC community," Goff said. "They provide the visiting
team with an encapsulated presentation of our institutions history;
its educational philosophies, goals, and objectives; an analyses of
how we meet these goals; a discussion of our planning process; and,
lastly, a discussion of how we use data to assess how well our institutional
objectives are being met."
During their visit, WASC team members will participate in an ambitious
schedule that includes meetings with senate and administrative leaders,
other faculty, staff, and students. They also have scheduled numerous
stops around campus in an effort to assess student learning, UCSC's
core educational experiences such as writing and the colleges, undergraduate
and graduate student engagement, and support activities such as admissions
A second campus visit, an "educational effectiveness review,"
is scheduled to take place a year from now.
All four-year colleges and universities in the United States must be
reaccredited periodically to earn federal support for student scholarships,
loans, and grants. One of six regional associations, WASC reviews educational
institutions in California, Guam, and Hawaii. Its recommendations for
accreditation are reported to the U.S. Department of Education.
UCSC is evaluated every eight years by WASC.
While it's not expected that the campus will lose its WASC accreditation,
the process itself has great value to institutions like UCSC, Goff said.
"It's an incredible opportunity for the people of the campus to
look collectively at what we do, assess how well we do it, and think
of ways to do it even better."
UCSC's accreditation project, including the reflective essays, is detailed
on the following web site: http://planning.ucsc.edu/wasc/.
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