NWCCU Reaffirmation of Accreditation Open Forums for Faculty, Students and Staff

Faculty Forum: Wednesday, April 10, from 2-2:50 pm, in VU 565 A/B

Student Forum: Thursday, April 11, from 1-1:50 pm, VU 464

Staff Forum: Thursday, April 11, from 2-2:50 pm, in VU 464


Overall Context of Institutional Accreditation 

Accreditation is a voluntary system of self-regulation, carried out by peer-review, in which an institution or program is assessed against a set of standards.  Western has specific degrees and programs that are accredited by disciplinary agencies (e.g. ABET for Engineering and Computer Science) and our overall institutional accreditation through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). 

Benefits of Institutional Accreditation 

  • Represents the highest form of accreditation a university can achieve and communicates the value of Western's degrees and certificates to stakeholders, employers and the public 
  • Is a necessary condition to allow Western students to receive federal financial aid 
  • Facilitates transfer of credits between institutions 

Western Washington University is a member institution with NWCCU, which is a higher education accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  

The NWCCU’s most recent action on the institution’s accreditation status was the acceptance of its Policies, Regulations, and Finances Review (PRFR) in July 2023.  This review focused on Western’s performance related to section 2 of NWCCU’s standards of accreditation that were revised in 2020.  The NWCCU review concluded that Western met all the standards and identified four areas in which Western “needs improvement”.  

Western Washington University’s upcoming evaluation will be a review of its Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness (EIE) report and site visit for reaffirmation of accreditation on April 10th, 11th, and 12th, 2024.  Western Washington University has been continuously accredited since 1921.  

WWU Self-study for Year-seven Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness (EIE) by NWCCU 

In December, 2022, Western began the process of conducting a self-study for the year-seven report.  A team of twenty subject matter experts worked on the EIE report, which was submitted to NWCCU for their review in February, 2024.  This report focuses on the  NWCCU standards for accreditation in section 1, but also addresses the four recommendations from the year-six review and other issues of importance for NWCCU’s oversight responsibilities as defined by the federal Department of Education. 

NWCCU Site Visit for the Year-seven Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness 

NWCCU has assembled a team of five volunteer subject matter experts from other NWCCU member institutions(see brief biographies at the end of this document) who are working with our NWCCU staff liaison Ron Larsen to review our EIE report and conduct an on-site review.  The visit will start on Tuesday, April 9, with a review of programs and student services offered at our additional educational site located in Everett.  The Bellingham portion of the visit starts on Wednesday, April 10 and concludes on the morning of Friday, April 12.  The agenda has been developed in consultation with Carol Long, the provost at Willamette University, who is the Chair of the NWCCU team.   

Purpose and Format of the Staff and Faculty Forums

The open forum for faculty (Wednesday, April 10, 2-2:50 pm, VU 565 A/B), students (Thursday, April 11, 1-1:50 pm, VU 464) and the forum for staff (Thursday, April 11, 2-2:50 pm, VU 464) will be attended by all five members of the NWCCU site visit team.  We anticipate they will ask questions of those in attendance and that they will provide an opportunity for comment on the university’s accreditation process. 

Questions?  Contact Jack Herring, associate VP for Academic Affairs and Western’s liaison officer to NWCCU, at jackherring@wwu.edu.