Accreditation Update Report from President Hallick
Those of you continuing at Pacific from last year likely already know that last April we hosted a visit by two evaluators representing our region’s accreditation commission, the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities. That visit was for reviewing progress the university has made on seven recommendations for improvement shared in the commission’s Seven-Year Reaccreditation report to Pacific in 2016. Last spring, we received a very positive evaluation report by that evaluation team. However, the official commission action did not take place until this past June. On July 30, the university received the official affirmation letter.
I am pleased to share with you that the dedication so many of you contributed to the cause of these recommendations, having to do largely with learning assessment and student support services, met with great success. The commission accepted the evaluator’s report and concluded, with them, that we fully met five of the seven recommendations. Furthermore, the two remaining recommendations were considered met in all but implementation, such that the two remaining recommendations are simply to implement the plans that we are, in fact, in the process of implementing.
It is worth noting that the ad hoc evaluators were charged only with assessing Pacific’s progress on meeting the seven Year-Seven recommendations. However, the evaluators were moved also to generate three “Commendations” for excellence in our process and outcomes:
- The Pacific University community embraced an inclusive self-assessment process to address the recommendations from the 2016 Year-Seven evaluation.
- The Pacific University community has used an inclusive, thoughtful, and comprehensive planning process to refine Core Themes and indicators of Mission fulfillment.
- The Pacific University community has thoughtfully and strategically improved support services for graduate students.
For those of you less intimately involved in assessment and accreditation language, terms like “Core Themes” and “Mission fulfillment” may mean little. The simple translation is this: These evaluators commend us for what was a broadly participatory and thoughtful process of defining and measuring how well Pacific’s programs support student learning and success.
Assessment and accreditation are cyclical and continuous processes, so already a renewed team of nearly 30 faculty, staff and students making up the Accreditation Steering Committee are engaged in the work of implementing our accreditation plans and overseeing results, toward ensuring that Pacific continues to deliver the highest quality of education to Pacific students. This work will contribute to the next report in the accreditation cycle, due in September 2019.
Even as the work continues, I want to encourage everyone to pause for a moment and appreciate the praise for Pacific’s high quality that this commission affirmation represents. And I want also to send my sincere appreciation to the many of you who made these excellent results possible and who, every day, make Pacific an incredibly special place.
Particular thanks are due to Lisa Carstens for leading this most recent accreditation cycle and writing the report; to Wil O’Shea and his team for providing data support; to Karla Staihar and Kim Greenwood for contributing significantly to the report as well as managing the evaluation visit; to the numerous faculty and staff who participated on last year’s Accreditation Steering Committee; and finally to the many of you who led or supported the specific assessment activities and implemented new services that assured our success in meeting the commission’s prior recommendations.
For those interested, the two revised and continuing recommendations follow.
Lesley M. Hallick
New Recommendation 1
Pacific University’s plan to assess achievement of its Core Theme objectives and indicators has commenced but has not been fully implemented; therefore, the commission recommends the university implement its assessment plan to fully support planning and practices at the institutional level (5.A.2).
New Recommendation 2
Through Core (General Education) development process, Pacific University has identified assessable outcomes for the Core. The Commission recommends implementation of a Core Assessment plan in support of institutional academic and learning support planning (4.B.2).