Since 2016, a team of hardworking individuals have been fighting to retain the greatness of California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) and all it upholds. “CSUMB is envisioned as a comprehensive state university which values service through high quality education,” according to the university’s vision statement. Every few years, the university must show how we maintain and uphold our unique vision. One way CSUMB does this is through a rigorous reaccreditation process from the Western Association for Schools and Colleges.
The Western Association for Schools and Colleges (WASC) and its accreditation process “helps schools identify and implement school improvement needs and supports accountability,” according to the WASC mission statement. This process is used to maintain what WASC calls a “cycle of quality” that is used to hold the university accountable to their vision. WASC aims to “encourage and support institutional development and improvement through an institutional self-evaluation using the accreditation criteria.” This system of accountability and accreditation is what gives CSUMB the recognition it deserves.
“From the institution’s perspective, it’s a really good opportunity to look at the things that we say we are trying to do, as far as educating students. To take a really hard look and say ‘how good of a job are we doing at that? What sort of areas need improvement? What are the things we can focus on in the coming years’,” said Jacqui Grallo, co-chair of CSUMB’s assessment and reaccreditation advisory committee, “It’s really not about being perfect, but being honest with yourself as an institution, where you are, and how you can progress and improve.”
When it comes to the risk of not being reaccredited, “It’s exceedingly slim, and that’s because we are seriously a strong campus and have much to be proud of,” said Fran Horvath, the other co-chair of CSUMB’s assessment and reaccreditation advisory committee, “The point [of the reaccreditation process] is not that [CSUMB] is doing everything perfectly, but to recognize what we’re doing well and that we strive to do the best.”
The reaccreditation process has many steps which began in Fall 2016. The final steps are approaching at the end of March, which will lead to a decision in May. The initial off-site review by WASC includes commendations from the committee. The review states that CSUMB should be commended for “a mission that reflects your fidelity to founding core values, being deeply committed to serving the diverse population in the region … [and] being an innovative and flexible institution as the institution matures [and] accommodating student growth by adaptations…”
The summary outlines four other points for which CSUMB should be commended, including improvement of undergraduate graduation rates.
The summary also includes “Lines of Inquiry” or areas the reaccreditation committee would like to know more about from the university in order to ensure reaccreditation. One line of inquiry regarding student learning and success for all students asks about “the collaboration between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs for student success, particularly with respect to closing the achievement gap.”
“Given the recent growth of the institution, the team is interested in understanding whether there is a sufficient number of administrators with appropriately aligned duties to carry out functional responsibilities and clear decision-making processes,” asks another line of inquiry regarding leadership and decision making. These lines of inquiry are to be answered at the end of March when a WASC committee will be sent to campus for meetings with CSUMB’s most important administrators such as President Eduardo Ochoa, the provost, and many of the college deans.
The reaccreditation committee will visit CSUMB’s campus Wednesday, March 27 from 1 to 4:45 p.m. Students are encouraged to take place in the surveys held by the committee. “Students have the chance to tell the team members anything they want,” said Horvath. “We will be announcing when the student open session is and [we] encourage students by all means to go and participate … and express any concerns or positives that [students] might have.” The reaccreditation process uses feedback from students to help determine if certain goals are achieved by the university.
Visit csumb.edu/academicaffairs/wscuc-re-accreditation-2019 for more information on the re-accreditation process.