CSU Dominguez Hills' Accreditation Reaffirmed Through 2018
The accreditation of California State University, Dominguez Hills has been strongly reaffirmed by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), university president Dr. Mildred García informed the campus earlier this week.
Tasked with evaluating the effectiveness and quality of public and private schools in the western United States, WASC conferred its highest accreditation appraisal to CSU Dominguez Hills by granting a 10-year reaffirmation, with an interim report due in five years.
“WASC and their team of reviewers commended our campus community and gave emphasis to their satisfaction with CSU Dominguez Hills,” García said in an e-mail to faculty and staff. “We are taking the necessary steps as a community to do whatever it takes to be the university that is the role model for the country, a university that prepares a diverse student body to live in a democratic society.”
In its letter reaffirming accreditation, the WASC team commended CSU Dominguez Hills for the “extraordinary range of courses, programs and other activities that reflect the institution’s commitment to diversity,” adding that the visiting evaluation team noted the university’s creative approach to diversity, known as interactional diversity, was a “concept worthy of greater exploration and dissemination in the academy.”
The university also received commendation for the dedication of its faculty to student learning and success, as demonstrated by the innovative academic support programs and use of assessment results to improve learning.
The WASC team also recognized the university’s diligence to the WASC process and how that revealed a strong commitment to excellence in education.
“Throughout the process, CSUDH demonstrated integrity, commitment, and resolve to engage each of the three stages of the review for institutional improvement across the core functions of the organization,” the evaluating team wrote in the Education Effectiveness Review (EER) report.
The final EER report from WASC included only a handful of recommendations, most of which, the report noted, the campus community was already addressing, including continuing to work as a team to ensure academic success and expand on improved student learning at all levels. The WASC team advised the institution to continue its momentum.
The news of reaffirmation ends a process that began nearly five years ago. As early as 2003, a campus committee began laying the groundwork for the reaccreditation by preparing the WASC-required Institutional Proposal, a reflective self-study outlining what the campus community viewed as the university’s core issues. What followed in the ensuing years was a series of reports, and visits from a WASC evaluation team to assess the educational effectiveness of CSU Dominguez Hills based on the issues it defined for itself, which were academic quality, campus change, diversity and civic engagement.
The university’s WASC steering committee co-chair Caron Mellblom says that by requiring self study, the WASC’s accreditation process facilitated an in-depth examination by the campus community as to how CSU Dominguez Hills addresses or could better address the changing face of learning and student needs in an urban university in the 21st century.
“For CSUDH the reaffirmation process served as a vehicle for the campus to develop as a proactive outcomes-based learning institution — one in which decisions are made as a result of data generated from strong research-based study,” said Mellblom, who also is a professor of special education and director of the CSUDH Center for Learning and Academic Support Services. “This reaffirmation of our accreditation confirms the usefulness of this research. Self study and institutional reflection is a continuous process that affords ongoing opportunities for evaluation and assessment of the effects of campus programs, polices and decisions.”
For more information about the WASC process at CSU Dominguez Hills, visit www.csudh.edu/wasc.
- Amy Bentley-Smith