What Are UAA's Core Themes?

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) requires institutions to establish accreditation core themes, objectives, and indicators. UAA's core themes are aligned with the UAA 2017 Strategic Plan Priorities:
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity
  • Student Success
  • UAA Community
  • Public Square

Read on to learn more about the purpose of core themes, objectives, and indicators, as well as the history of their development at UAA.

What are Core Themes, Objectives, and Indicators?

The NWCCU accreditation standards define core themes and guide their use in institutional planning and improvement.

Core themes are intended to "individually manifest essential elements of (the) mission and collectively encompass (the) mission." For each core theme, institutions are required to establish objectives and identify "meaningful, assessable, and verifiable indicators of achievement" to evaluate the accomplishment of the core theme objectives. (Standard 1)

Institutions must plan for the accomplishment of their core theme objectives, engage in ongoing and systematic collection and analysis of data, and use that data to evaluate accomplishments. Results of core theme assessments should be used to make improvements, inform planning, and determine resource allocation. The regular analysis of core theme objectives must be used to ensure the institution's ongoing adaptation and sustainability. (Standards 3-5)


Development of Core Theme Indicators (2008-2014)

In 2009, at the start of the 2010 Accreditation Pilot, UAA established an initial set of core themes, objectives, outcomes, and indicators. The core themes are aligned with our UAA 2017 Strategic Plan Priorities: Teaching and Learning; Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity; Student Success; the UAA Community; and the Public Square. The 2010 documents archive contains each of the reports UAA submitted during the pilot, including the core themes, objectives, outcomes, and indicators.

Since that time, the university has undertaken several rounds of refinement to focus the core theme objectives, outcomes, and indicators. This refinement has occurred to address accreditation recommendations, and to ensure the indicators are manageable and capable of guiding institutional planning, assessment, and resource allocation. 

  • The Spring 2009 report presented 17 goals (which would become objectives), 45 outcomes, and 160 indicators. 
  • At the close of the 2010 Pilot, this list had been refined to 6 objectives, 17 outcomes, and 44 indicators. 
  • A 2012 refinement combined the objectives and indicators, focusing the list down to 5 core themes, 7 objectives, and 22 indicators.


Current Core Theme Indicators

During the Fall 2014 Mid-Cycle Review, UAA was charged by the evaluators to move quickly to focus the indicators and method of demonstrating mission fulfillment. In February 2015, the Chancellor's Cabinet approved the current set of 5 core themes, 7 objectives, and 16 indicators (including one indicator used for two core themes). The Accreditation Steering Committee will conduct a pilot analysis of the data in Spring 2015.

The graphic below illustrates the core theme objectives and indicators, as well as UAA's expectations for mission fulfillment. To download the graphic, click here. (To read more about what mission fulfillment is and the history of its development at UAA, click here.)

Institutional Assessment Plan
Institutional Assessment Plan Approved 2-20-15