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Seattle University

Features

It’s Accreditation Time

Written by Mike Thee
September 27, 2010

It’s really happening this time. The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is sending an 11-person team to campus next week for SU’s accreditation. The three-day site visit, Oct. 4-6, was originally scheduled for spring 2010, but the university agreed to move it to the fall at the commission’s request.

“We are looking forward to the visit,” says Bob Dullea, vice president for University Planning and vice provost. “We prepared and think we have a good, thorough, well-written self study.”

Dullea is encouraging all faculty and staff to take part in the site visit. Two open forum sessions—one for faculty and one for staff—have been scheduled for Monday. A forum for students will take place on Tuesday. All are welcome at the exit meeting on Wednesday. (Visit http://www.seattleu.edu/accreditation.aspx for more schedule information.)

At the exit meeting the accreditation team will present “commendations” and “recommendations.” A formal written version of this will be presented in the fall, and the university will have an opportunity to give further feedback before the commission finalizes the document in January. 

SU prepared a 322-page self study in advance of the accreditation visit (full and summary versions are available at http://www.seattleu.edu/accreditation.aspx). “Every department and program participated in the self study process, with over 300 people directly contributing,” says Heather Geiger, senior planning analyst. 

Overseeing the self study and accreditation was a 22-person steering committee broadly representing the university. They sought to engage broad participation in a process that was as simple and straightforward as possible.

The committee also adopted a paper-free approach to data collection. Geiger says the nearly 5,000 files faculty and staff submitted came to the committee electronically through a SharePoint pilot project, further establishing the university as a leader in sustainable practices.

Dullea says the accreditation process has been “an opportunity to learn more about ourselves and identify ways we can continue to improve as a university.”