Accreditation Team Offers 6 Commendations, 2 Recommendations

PULLMAN, Wash. — The accreditation review team that visited Washington State
University last week shared six commendations and two recommendations with WSU leaders at
the conclusion of the visit.
The first commendation praised WSU’s faculty for its commitment to quality teaching and
research. It noted that faculty research achievements have met the criteria for Research
University I status for WSU. At the same time, faculty “have maintained quality teaching while
enduring difficult and stringent financial circumstance,” said the head of the review team, Joan
Wadlow, chancellor of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
“The commendations are really commendations, more than just good practices,” she said.
“In our judgment, these aspects of WSU are outstanding and worthy of special attention.”
In its first recommendation for improvements, the review team said WSU must “pursue every
possible avenue to increase faculty salaries.” Failure to improve salaries “may jeopardize the
university’s ability to maintain a faculty consistent with the university’s mission and goals.”
The recommendations deal with areas where WSU needs to make progress to insure
compliance with the policies and standards of the Northwest Commission on Colleges, the
voluntary accrediting body made up of member institutions. “We expect the university to direct
immediate attention to the recommendations,” Wadlow said.
In its second commendation, the accrediting team praised WSU “for its leadership in
building access to educational opportunities statewide” through many partnerships with other
colleges and universities. In a related third commendation, the reviewers recognized WSU for
development of the statewide Washington Higher Education Telecommunication System for
teaching and the creation of eight learning centers throughout the state, both of which expand
The second and final recommendation for improvement noted the importance of the branch
campuses and Extended Degree Programs in meeting the needs of placebound students around
the state. “However, the strategic vision for the development of these programs within WSU
needs to be thoughtfully and carefully elaborated and explained,” Wadlow said. “The
relationship of these programs to the main campus needs to be clarified and communicated.”
Three additional commendations were presented. They include the following:
— WSU’s general education program and its writing program “meet the standard on
educational effectiveness.” The General Education program gives students “a coherent,
substantial and articulated exposure to broad domains of knowledge” and has “identifiable
outcomes.” The Writing Program’s portfolio requirement offers “a unique and important
approach to mid-program assessment,” the team said.
— WSU’s Board of Regents, as represented by its executive committee, received praise for
being effective advocates eager to assist the university, and a body knowledgeable about higher
education and WSU issues.
— The university and the WSU Foundation were commended for the significant growth in
the Regents/Foundation endowment, the success of Campaign WSU which raised more than
$275 million for high priorities, and for the increase in annual giving. “The loyalty and generosity
of WSU alumni is also noteworthy,” Wadlow said.
The review team will make its recommendation on WSU’s 10-year reaccreditation to the
Northwest Commission on Colleges that will make a formal decision during its meeting in June.
The reviewers will also offer specific suggestions for improvements in different areas of the