Associate and bachelor’s accreditation reaffirmed

UVU receives approval to give out degrees up through the Master’s program. Courtesy of UVU Review Archives

The university has been accredited at all three levels of associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

In November of last year, a committee from the Northwestern Commissions on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) came to Orem to reaffirm accreditation for the associate and bachelor’s level and to evaluate the master’s programs.

Since the school’s first master’s degree graduation was held in April 2010, the NWCCU needed to immediately reevaluate the university’s status.

For three days in early November, the NWCCU had access to everything on campus and were provided with any information they needed in addition to the already prepared self-comprehensive, self-study report that was put together by an Academic Executive Team.

“We work on this (self-report) for a whole year,” said Dr. Mohammed A. El-Saidi, associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, and member of the AET.

Every ten years, the NWCCU come to campus to review all the materials the academic executive team has prepared for them.

In addition to El-Saidi, there are six other members of the AET. The associate vice president of student affairs and the executive director of planning and budget also worked on the team.

According to the accreditation method used, there were nine standards. Each member of the team was in charge of one or more of the nine standards. There were also sub-committees, that included up to 30 people, depending on the size of the standard they are working on.

“About 167 people participated in preparing this self-study report,” El-Saidi said.

The self-study focused on specific areas such as: The Institution, Administration and Goals, Planning and Effectiveness, Educational Programs and its Effectiveness and Students.

Information was objectively collected and from that, the team members wrote their own report on their particular standard. Each standard was complete with a brief history. At the end of each section, there was a summary and recommendations explaining what is going well, can be improved and plans for any corrections needed.

The AET’s job was to edit and smooth over each of the nine reports together, so the whole self-study report had one accurate tone.

The self-study report was printed and bound together, then sent to the NWCCU long before the visit campus.

At the end of their three day visit, the NWCCU presented a short unofficial report to the president of the school. Weeks later, the Executive Committee of the NWCCU sent the university a 55-page official report of the views of the evaluation committee.

“We did extremely well, in fact,” El-Saidi said. “We had been reaffirmed accreditation [and now] there are three [accredited] master’s programs here.”

In the evaluation report from NWCCU, it said, “At the beginning and end of the visit, the committee members reviewed each of the 20 eligibility requirements. The committee was unanimous in its findings [by vote] that UVU meets each requirement fully.”

The process to prepare for accreditation and re-evaluation can be a lengthy one especially as the accreditation process has recently changed. Under the new process the accreditation will come up every seven years, instead of 10. Each year the university will send a report, with a visit happening every other year.

“I can say this is teamwork—this was a work of the entire campus,” El-Saidi said.