“This report will be very positive,” says WASC Chair Howard Cohen, chancellor of Purdue University Calumet at the exit meeting Friday. “You all should feel very good about all the work that you’ve been doing, should feel very good about the university that you have here. I’m sure you feel great about the students you have. (They) are an exceptional group.”
During the Education Effectiveness Review, Oct. 19 to 22, the four members of the WASC team evaluated the university’s progress in its goals and plans. Specifically, the WASC team looked at how well the university follows its mission and core values.
Speaking on behalf of the review team, Cohen complimented the development and implementation of the university strategic plan, academic master plan, the application of the learn-by-doing model, and the greater clarity and sense of mutual respect in the shared governance process.
“Any concerns over the past several reviews that WASC had about the relationship between administration and governance I think really you have put to rest. The work there has been really terrific,” Cohen said.
The visit showed that student success is clearly a priority among faculty, staff and administrators, Cohen said. “The students here understand your commitment to their success and are appreciative of the support you give them.”
At the previous WASC review, the visiting team heard concerns and unevenness about the teacher-scholar concept. In the past two years, the university has addressed the questions and is making good progress, Coehn said.
Cohen also admired the campus’ identification system for programs of distinction, an honor that is achievable by virtually every department. In addition, the team found that academic program review was pervasive throughout all departments on campus.
The team noted a few areas that the university should continue developing and improving: general education assessment; the graduation initiative, especially as it relates to underrepresented students; and academic program review for graduate programs.
The WASC team also commended the campus community for staying focused despite great challenges in recent years.
“We recognize that the work you were asked to do two years ago to get to this place would have been a large amount of work in normal times, you’ve managed to do it in times of financial turmoil and disruption from the state budget and changing enrollment targets, changing budgets, furloughs,” Cohen said. “You persevered and you did the work in that context. We’re very admiring of your ability to stay focused.”
WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) is the accrediting commission for colleges and universities in California, Hawaii, Guam and the Pacific Basin. To learn more about WASC and the accreditation process, visit www.cpp.edu/~wasc.