Accreditation History

History of USF Accreditation

The relationship between USF and its regional accrediting agency Western College Association (WCA), a forerunner to WASC/WSCUC, began on a positive note and in April 1951, USF was approved for complete accreditation. The final report by WCA stated that USF’s programs were carefully planned, that faculty were actively involved in planning and curriculum development, and that the “religious commitment of the institution did not limit freedom of learning or scholarship and that there was considerable adaptation of the content of courses to the needs and problems of students in the modern world.”

After the most recent visit in October 2009, WSCUC (then WASC) in its letter of March 2010, commended USF for so “effectively continuing its mission of service and focusing on the physical, spiritual, social, and educational needs of those who are disadvantaged not only in the Bay Area, but internationally as well.” The team also found “extensive evidence of awareness of the university’s distinctive mission” among students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the Board of Trustees. USF’s commitment has “helped create one of the most ethnically diverse in the country, even when compared to other Jesuit colleges and universities with a similar mission.” WASC also noted that USF addressed the three prior issues from the 2008 visit with“transparency, openness, and aggressiveness,” yet “work remains to be done.” USF had, however, effectively managed its finances, and was commended for its seriousness in addressing educational effectiveness: “In almost every program and underlying course offering, learning outcomes have been developed or revised, appropriate assessment tools have been created, and results are being taken seriously to inform improvements.” Nevertheless, further attention and development was needed in two areas:

1. USF needed to revise, complete, and document a three-year comprehensive assessment plan for all undergraduate and graduate programs, incorporating more direct evidence at the institutional, program, and course level.
2. USF should increase its number of full-time faculty and faculty from underrepresented groups.

In its March 2010 report, WSCUC reaffirmed USF’s accreditation for 9 years, but requested an interim report in November 2014 addressing the two above issues.

In October 2014, USF filed the required interim report with the newly renamed WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), which issued a positive letter on March 7, 2015, reaffirming USF’s accreditation, and commending USF for “the very well written report which addressed in a comprehensive and thorough way the two issues being focused upon.” WSCUC noted that USF had instituted a new assessment model, including a decentralized and web-based reporting system, with assessment coordination placed in each of the schools as part of the responsibility of the associate deans. WSCUC further noted that data had become central to major decisions, the long-term established program review process has become even more important in the school’s assessment efforts, and a new culture of assessment was being developed. According to WSCUC, USF had made progress in academic and co-curricular program reviews, concurrent accreditation of professional programs, institutional learning outcomes, core curriculum assessment, normed indirect measures, mapping of NSSE, graduating student surveys, professional exams, capstone projects/portfolios, student evaluation of teaching, and a redefined mission of the university assessment committee. WSCUC made it clear, however, that “at the time of USF’s next review in 2018, the institutional report will need to contain an update on further implementation of the new model.”

WSCUC also commended USF on how it had “documented enormous progress” with respect to an increase in the number of full-time faculty, including growth in the number of full-time faculty who were women, African American, Hispanic, of Asian. At the time of the offsite reviews and accreditation visit in 2018, however, WSCUC indicated that USF will be required to provide an “update on continuing progress made in both areas.”

View USF's complete WSCUC accreditation history.

All communication with WASC/WSCUC is available on the Archives tab.

WSCUC includes information for every institution it accredits on its website.