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The NWCCU will be coming to visit and review UVU to assess accreditation status

UVU will soon be evaluated by the NWCCU to make sure it is maintaining university standards. Randyl Nielson/UVU Review

When this institution became a university, most were thrilled with the new status. Yet many may not consider the process and work that was, and still must be, put into receiving and maintaining university status.

On Nov. 3, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities will be coming to campus to review it. The NWCCU is in place to assess the caliber of education, as well as the successfulness, of colleges and universities in the Northwest region. It is acknowledged as the authority on higher education by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

“The main purpose of accreditation is to assure all our students, the public and all those involved that our degrees mean something, and that all of our hours will transfer to other institutions,” said Linda Pierce, associate dean of the School of Education and NWCCU coordinator. “The rest of the country recognizes that we are a legitimate institution.”

As part of the review process, a self-study is put together by the university’s accreditation board. In the self-study, this board looks at several aspects of the university and how they are functioning. They also look at the accomplishments of the university and look at areas of concern that may need improvement.

“It’s a very important process when we do the self-study,” Pierce said. “We get to take a look at ourselves, we get to look at our strengths and even our challenges and we can make recommendations and discuss how we are planning on dealing with our specific challenges. It’s important for every university to look at themselves and see where they can improve.”

During this visit, the Commission will be evaluating academics, student affairs, finance, facilities, library, IT and administration, including governance.

While continuing to preserve accreditation at the associate and baccalaureate degree levels, in October of 2008, the NWCCU granted this institution candidacy at the master’s degree level. As part of granting the candidacy, the NWCCU requires a site visit, as well as a full evaluation of the university. This visit is required during the fall semester after the first master’s degree cohort graduates, which is part of the reason for the upcoming visit.

The last NWCCU visit was in 2005, when the institution was Utah Valley State College. Following their visit, they stated the following in a letter to William Sederburg, president of UVSC at the time: “The policy of the Commission is not to grant accreditation for a definite number of years. Instead, accreditation must be reaffirmed periodically.”

While it remains unlikely that this institution will not receive a favorable review from NWCCU, reviews and reports must be conducted regularly to ensure the quality of education provided to students remains high. The Commission will also ensure that the goals and mission of the school are being fulfilled.

This school faces distinct challenges as it experiences exceptional growth in such a short amount of time and maintains limited classroom space, yet the Commission in the past has been pleased with the way this university handles itself and focuses its efforts on the students and works to ensure their success.

Soon after the visit, the NWCCU will submit a report and review of their visit to President Holland and this university.
To view the executive summary of the self-study, visit www.UVU.edu/accreditation/fall2010/index.html

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