April 1, 2014
TO THE CAMPUS COMMUNITY
I am pleased to report that UC Santa Barbara’s accreditation has been reaffirmed by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior Commission for the maximum ten-year term.
Our campus prepared a detailed report for the third and final stage of reaffirmation of accreditation (the Educational Effectiveness Review or EER), and hosted a peer review team led by David Skorton, the president of Cornell University, in the fall of 2013. The team’s findings were subsequently reviewed by the WASC Senior Commission, which issued an action letter on March 7. We urge you to read the visiting team’s report and the WASC Commission’s action letter. They are located on our campus’s accreditation website at http://evc.ucsb.edu/wasc/steps/educational.effectiveness.review/.
I would like to take this opportunity to gratefully acknowledge the leadership, vision, and hard work of our Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) Dean Mary Nisbet, Associate ALO Margaret Weeks, and our accreditation Steering Committee, first led by EVC Gene Lucas and Senate Chair Henning Bohn, and later by Interim EVC Joel Michaelsen and Senate Chair Kum-Kum Bhavnani. I would also like to sincerely thank all of our faculty and staff colleagues across the disciplines who participated in this review process, with particular thanks to the scores of faculty members who have collaborated to complete many of the initiatives undertaken in preparation for the final stage of UC Santa Barbara’s reaffirmation of accreditation. The deep engagement of our faculty was recognized by both the visiting team and the WASC Commission members.
The visiting team and the Senior Commission commend our campus for impressive progress and responsiveness to recommendations received during the previous phase of the report. The Commission particularly notes the following:
- The completion of learning outcomes for all undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and for the General Education program; and the seriousness with which this work was approached.
- The work done on assessment of the writing requirement of General Education, which the Commission characterizes as a model for other institutions.
- UC Santa Barbara’s commitment to undergraduate learning, demonstrated by experienced professors teaching undergraduate courses, and by our academic and co-curricular programs supporting student learning.
- Our campus’s service to a high percentage of low-income, first-generation, and Hispanic students; and the remarkable success of these students as illustrated by retention and graduation rates.
The team and the Commission were also impressed by UC Santa Barbara’s success in graduate education and the effectiveness of our campus program review process. Finally, the report offers advice and asks our campus to report on our progress in various areas, especially related to the assessment of student learning, in an interim report due in November 2018.
Again, I would like to sincerely thank all the members of our campus community who have contributed in so many meaningful ways to this important endeavor. The exciting ten-year reaffirmation of our accreditation is a testament to our campus’s sincere commitment to student learning, and, as the visiting team noted, “the collaborative culture that pervades the UC Santa Barbara campus.”
Henry T. Yang