WASC team to visit March 6-8

A review committee from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) will visit SF State March 6-8, one of the final steps in a process by the University to obtain reaccreditation and ensure access to federal funding.

A photo of the San Francisco State University sign

WASC team members will meet with students, faculty and staff to evaluate the work done at SF State over the past decade to improve its curriculum, foster student success and graduation and further its institutional mission. The visit is part of the Educational Effectiveness Review (EER), the second in the two-part WASC reaccreditation process in which colleges and universities assess and affirm the effectiveness of their educational programs.

Reaccreditation preserves access to federal funding, including funding for student financial aid and research grants, and ensures students' credit for courses taken at SF State are accepted at graduate schools and other undergraduate universities.

"It's also an opportunity for us to pause and take a look at how we are doing in terms of educating students," said Associate Vice President of Academic Planning Linda Buckley. "The review measures the quality of the University, particularly the quality of student learning."

In addition to allowing the WASC team to collect information about the University's programs, the visit is also an opportunity for SF State to showcase its accomplishments, said Michelle Wolf, a professor of broadcast, electronic and communication arts and chair of the Educational Effectiveness Review (EER). The EER Steering Committee prepared the EER Report, which will guide most of the WASC team's work on campus.

"All the work has been done, and we're ready," Wolf said. "This is a celebration of what faculty, staff and students do all year."

While on campus, the WASC team will meet with selected departments and faculty as well as members of the University's WASC committee and students. The team will decide which departments and groups to meet with after reviewing the EER Report, and department chairs have been provided with information about preparing for the WASC visit.

Open meetings with the WASC team, one each for students, faculty and staff, are  scheduled for 11:15 a.m. to noon March 7. Locations are:

  • Faculty open meeting: Room 286, J. Paul Leonard Library
  • Students open meeting: Room 244, J. Paul Leonard Library
  • Staff open meeting: Room 460, Administration Building

The meetings will provide all members of the campus community with the opportunity to address the team, share their work or offer input on the review process. Students, faculty and staff who wish to communicate confidentially with the WASC team can email wasc2sfsu@yahoo.com.

"It's an opportunity for members of the SF State community to share their thoughts and, hopefully, their pride," Wolf said.

The EER is the second part of the two-part WASC review, following the Capacity/Preparatory Review (CPR), which examined the University's ability to maintain its quality of education and plan for the next 10 years. The CPR included a visit from the WASC team in March 2011. Following the upcoming EER visit, the WASC team will submit a report to both the University and the fuller WASC commission, which will subsequently issue its own report indicating the length of the University's reaccreditation, as well as recommendations for future action. The longest period for which universities can receive accreditation is 10 years, although most receive seven years.

The WASC review process has centered around three themes chosen by the campus WASC committee. The themes highlight goals and challenges that both reflect where the University was five years ago when the review began and issues the University will continue to address in the future. The three themes are: Demonstrating Commitment to Social Justice and Civic Engagement, Facing the Challenges of a Changing Faculty and Student Profile, and Improving Student Success in Graduation and Learning.

The EER Report can be read at https://sites.sfsu.edu/air/wasc/stage3. More information about the WASC review process can be found at https://sites.sfsu.edu/air/wasc.

-- Jonathan Morales