The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) is one of six United States regional accrediting bodies and is the organization that provides umbrella accreditation for UCLA as a whole. The WSCUC accreditation process aids institutions in developing and sustaining effective educational programs and assures the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that an accredited institution has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.
The Commission accredits institutions, not individual programs. Therefore, in addition to assessing the academic quality and educational effectiveness of institutions, the Commission emphasizes institutional structures, processes, and resources.
As detailed in the 2013 WSCUC Handbook of Accreditation, the accreditation process is aimed at:
- Assuring the educational community, the general public, and other organizations and agencies that an accredited institution has demonstrated it meets the Commission’s Core Commitments to Institutional Capacity and Educational Effectiveness, and has been successfully reviewed under Commission Standards;
- Promoting deep institutional engagement with issues of educational effectiveness and student learning, and developing and sharing good practices in assessing and improving the teaching and learning process;
- Developing and applying Standards to review and improve educational quality and institutional performance, and validating these Standards and revising them through ongoing research and feedback;
- 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;
- Developing systems of institutional review and evaluation that are adaptive to institutional context and purposes, that build on institutional evidence and support rigorous reviews, and reduce the burden and cost of accreditation; and
- Promoting the active interchange of ideas among public and independent institutions that furthers the principles of improved institutional performance, educational effectiveness, and the process of peer review
UCLA aims to use the reaffirmation process to highlight and enhance ongoing efforts to improve our educational effectiveness. A successful process requires a high level of cooperation and collaboration among students, faculty, and administrators. Together, we engage in reflection and self-study, and then apply the insights gained to refining our goals and strengthening our programs. A variety of qualitative and quantitative data inform these endeavors.
The current WSCUC reaffirmation of accreditation process includes:
- Preparation of an Institutional Report (IR), which describes the institution’s process of gathering data and reflecting on its current functioning under the WSCUC Standards.
- An Offsite Review (OSR) during which a team appointed by WSCUC convenes to evaluate the institution and its compliance with the Standards.
- An Accreditation Visit (AV), during which the evaluation team meets with campus representatives to address interests pertaining to compliance and improvement. Following this visit, the evaluation team finalizes its report and forwards it to WSCUC for action.
UCLA’s timeline for its upcoming (2019) reaffirmation reflects key phases and milestones associated with the process.