April 1, 2024

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

I am pleased to report the good news that UC Santa Barbara’s accreditation has been reaffirmed by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) for the maximum ten-year term.

Because of our faculty’s consistently effective assessment of program learning outcomes and our overall institutional health, UC Santa Barbara was given permission to focus its reaccreditation though a “Thematic Pathway for Reaffirmation,” or TPR. This allowed us to pursue a two-year, equity-focused study examining how students navigate their journeys through the university. We focused on case studies of departments in which greater numbers of incoming students switch out after matriculating, “efflux departments,” and those that students enter after changing majors, “influx departments.” We also examined associated “effectors of opportunity,” manifestations of systemic inequities that have been shown to correlate with academic performance. This entailed understanding the effects of belonging to first generation, low-income, and/or minoritized groups.

The visiting team’s report praised the campus’s commitment to a liberal arts education in the context of a research institution, and expressed admiration for an innovative, equity-focused study that involved hundreds of members of our campus community, and developed “a framework and vocabulary … to engage the campus in institutional cultural change.” In its letter, the WSCUC Commission echoed the visiting team’s praise for UC Santa Barbara’s study and expressed its “appreciation for the extensive work that [UCSB] undertook in preparing for and supporting this accreditation review.”

The WSCUC Commission has directed UC Santa Barbara to submit an interim report in 2028 to address our progress in: 1) continuing to investigate and implement strategies to effectively manage undergraduate and graduate student enrollment; 2) aligning personnel and financial resources to ensure successful implementation of the TPR objectives and assess impact; 3) evaluating campus climate and disseminating and acting on results in a timely fashion; and 4) ensuring that program reviews are sufficiently frequent to address equity-based assessments and structural challenges.

This study was conducted with the support of a Steering Committee and Executive Committee that included administration, Academic Senate, and student leadership at the highest levels. Our Executive Vice Chancellor, Chair of the Academic Senate, and I would like to acknowledge the leadership of Associate Vice Chancellor and Professor of Writing Studies Linda Adler-Kassner, who serves as ALO for the campus, as well as Dr. Michael Gordon, Professor and Chair of Chemical Engineering, and Dr. Amanda Brey, Director of Program Review, who co-chaired the TPR process. Dozens of faculty, staff, and students participated in conducting and analyzing the research for the study. We especially want to thank Dr. Steven Velasco and Ms. Laurel Wilder, Director and Associate Director of Institutional Research, for their support for this study.

I am gratified that the study and its findings reflect our commitments as a minority-serving institution. They will guide our strategic investments over the next decade. We appreciate all the members of our campus community who contributed to this important and successful effort.


Henry T. Yang