The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has reaffirmed the accreditation of Cal Poly Pomona for 10 years – the maximum term granted. “This is great news and serves as a testament to the work of our campus WASC committees and the entire university community. I congratulate them on this accomplishment,” President Michael Ortiz says. “Claudia Pinter-Lucke and Shanthi Srinivas deserve special recognition for shepherding the process for several years. They were outstanding in their roles and we owe them a debt of gratitude. Their leadership really made a difference.”
Accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental process of peer review to ensure that academic institutions meet certain criteria and standards. Without accreditation, students would be hard-pressed to get into quality graduate schools and would not be eligible for many, if not all, federal loan and scholarship programs. “Accreditation assures those outside the university that we meet generally recognized standards of educational quality and performance. The 10-year reaffirmation indicates that we met all of the WASC standards at a high level, and that we demonstrated the strength to maintain that momentum,” says Pinter-Lucke, associate vice president of academic programs.
The university’s self-assessment, which formed the basis of the WASC review, focused on the three themes: Institutional Excellence, Evolution of the Teacher-Scholar, and Student Success. The report highlighted the progress made on strategic planning, the improved campus climate, the integration of the teaching and scholarly roles of faculty, the establishment of assessment practices, and the university-wide commitment to student achievement.
During the Education Effectiveness Review last fall, four members of the visiting WASC team evaluated the university’s progress toward its goals and plans. Specifically, the WASC team looked at how well the university was following its mission and core values.
Speaking on behalf of the review team, WASC Chair Howard Cohen, chancellor of Purdue University Calumet, 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.
In a letter addressed to Ortiz notifying him of the accreditation, WASC President Ralph A. Wolff praised the university for its efforts to communicate its mission.
“Cal Poly Pomona has articulated and developed a unique model of faculty work and service that is now more commonly understood across all units of the university,” Wolff said. “The commission acknowledged that this effort has the potential to enhance the already broad and deep polytechnic vision of the ‘learn by doing’ philosophy.”
The university will submit an interim report in 2013 covering progress on efforts to improve retention and graduation rates, to further assessment and program review, to implement general education assessment, and to address the effect of declining state funding. Planning for the next reaccreditation review may begin as early as 2015, depending on WASC guidelines.
But Pinter-Lucke is not thinking about that now. “During this process, I learned so much about our students, staff and faculty, the outstanding programs we offer and the progress made on student success initiatives. I am really proud of the campus. It was a pleasure to present this information to WASC.”