UAA awarded NWCCU institutional accreditation
by Michelle Saport |
Dear UAA Community,
I am extremely pleased to inform you that the Board of Commissioners of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) has reaffirmed UAA's institutional accreditation. My most heartfelt congratulations to everyone across all of our campuses on this signature accomplishment!
Many of you have been involved in this effort for months, even years, and I am appreciative of your excellent work. I have never before served at an institution that has so fully engaged the institutional accreditation process, across all campuses and including faculty, staff, students and community members. This is your moment!
What is institutional accreditation, and why is it important? Institutional accreditation is an exhaustive review of every facet of our university. This is a positive milestone that is a testament to the contributions and quality of our students, faculty and staff.
Institutional accreditation qualifies UAA to participate in federal financial aid, and it means that UAA degrees and certificates are recognized by other institutions for things such as the transfer of credits and entrance into graduate study. Visit the Self-Study website to learn more.
What does this mean? Our reaffirmation establishes UAA has met rigorous standards of quality, effectiveness and sustainability while meeting its mission to serve the needs of the State of Alaska. NWCCU reviewed mission and expectations; resources and capacity; planning and implementation; effectiveness and improvement; and mission fulfillment, adaptation and sustainability.
Through the analysis of accomplishments across our core themes of Teaching and Learning; Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity; Student Success; UAA Community; and Public Square, you demonstrated who we are as an institution.
"A common theme throughout the Seven Year Site Visit was a comprehensive commitment to the institution's mission, particularly in relationship to access, student success, and supporting communities." - NWCCU Evaluation Team
Commendations You will be proud that UAA received four commendations, each of which acknowledges a key area of accomplishment and reflects UAA's values. UAA was commended for:
- An inclusive planning process for UAA 2020, which brought the campuses together in an unprecedented joint effort focused on Student Success.
- Its culture of diversity and inclusivity, especially in relationship to Alaska Native communities.
- Its commitment to community engagement and the Public Square.
- Its extensive assessment efforts related to student learning. Faculty exhibit robust ownership and leadership in assessing academic programs, and also engage proactively in the multifaceted assessment of general education.
Continuous improvement NWCCU also noted two areas where UAA is in substantial compliance, but in need of improvement. These are institutional planning of graduate programs and a continued focus on collaborative Student Success efforts. These recommendations did not come as a surprise, as they are high priority areas that the institution is already working on and will continue to address.
I am honored and pleased the commission recognized the amazing work of our faculty, staff and students, who were integral to the entire process. I am committed to working with you to use the results of this process to move the university forward to serve Alaska and its diverse communities.
-Cathy Sandeen, UAA Chancellor