WSCUC FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

What is WSCUC? What happened to WASC?

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) was formed in 1962 to promote the development of higher education in the Western region when it took over and further formalized the work of its predecessor organization, the Western College Association. WASC was previously incorporated as a single 510c3 entity that encompassed the three commissions (WASC Senior College and University Commission, Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges and the Accrediting Commission for Schools, Western Association of Schools and Colleges).

In 2012-2013 the three Commissions re-incorporated as separate entities that share the same “WASC” acronym but are otherwise separate organizations with independent scopes and governance structures. The entity within WASC that accredits USF is WSCUC – WASC Senior College and University Commission. Within the university community, the acronyms are often used interchangeably.

Why is accreditation important to USF?

Accreditation assures our students, their families, and the entire community that a university is rigorously evaluated and meets or exceeds the accreditation standards. Accreditation is also required for our students to qualify for participation in federal financial aid programs. The accreditation process is more than an administrative hurdle; it is an opportunity for us to discuss what is important to the University of San Francisco and to focus on reaching those goals.

What are the WSCUC Standards and where can they be found?

Standards of Accreditation are the principles used as a basis for judgment in accreditation reviews. WSCUC has four Standards that flow from three Core Commitments. They are used to guide institutions in assessing institutional performance, to identify areas needing improvement, and to serve as the basis for judgment of the institution by evaluation teams and the Senior College and University Commission. The standards are available in the WSCUC (2013) Handbook of Accreditation.

What are the WSCUC Core Competencies?

As defined in WSCUC Standard 2, Criterion for Review 2.2, institutions report on graduating students’ levels of performance in five core competencies common to all degrees: written and oral communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and information literacy.

What does WSCUC mean by “Meaning, Quality and Integrity of the Degree”?

In WSCUC usage, this phrase refers to the goals, coherence, sequencing, alignment, resourcing, and overall quality of the educational experience leading to conferral of an institution’s degree.

How do student learning outcomes assessment relate to WSCUC?

WSCUC Criterion for Review 2.6 requires “The institution demonstrates that its graduates consistently achieve its stated learning outcomes and established standards of performance.” Criteria for Review 4.2 states that “Assessment of teaching, learning and the campus environment… is undertaken, used for improvement, and incorporated into institutional planning processes.” The assessment of student learning appears in other criteria for review and is directly related to WSCUC’s core commitment to quality and improvement.

What is a “criterion for review”?

A Criterion for Review (CFR) is a statement in relation to which an institution is reviewed. Criteria for review are more specific than the four Standards of Accreditation and are intended to define and explain the Standards. Substantial compliance with both the Standards and Criteria for Review is required by state and federal laws for accreditation. CFRs also provide guidance to institutions and form the basis for Commission decisions about an institution’s accreditation status. Brief explanations of the CFRs can be found in the WSCUC (2013) Standards at a Glance

What is the timeline for USF’s WSCUC Review?

  • March 8, 2018 – Institutional Report due
  • May 10, 2018 – Offsite review (The external peer review team meets at the WSCUC office to review the Institutional Report and supporting documents. The team makes preliminary findings based on the institutional report and identifies the lines of inquiry, which the team will focus on when they visit campus. The review ends with a video conference with USF representatives.)
  • September 7 & 21, 2018 – Response to lines of inquiry are due (USF provides additional documents requested by the peer review team.)
  • October 8 - 10, 2018 – Accreditation Visit (The peer review team visits campus and meets with representatives to follow up on outstanding issues and verify or revise its preliminary findings.)
  • February 21, 2019 - USF Reviewed by Commission

Where can I find USF’s WSCUC Accreditation Documents?

Copies of WSCUC accreditation communication are available in the University’s Accreditation Archives tab.

Who serves on the WSCUC Committee on campus?

Information about USF's WSCUC Steering Committee can be found here

Who will review our accreditation?

WSCUC creates a team of peer reviewers for each accreditation. Our peer reviewers will be:

  • Team Chair: Willliam A. Covino, Ph.D., CSU Los Angeles
  • Assistant Team Chair: Jackie Donath, Ph.D., CSU Sacramento
  • Team Member: Thomas O. Fleming, Loyola Marymount University
  • Team Member: Tracy Poon Tambascia, Ph.D., University of Southern California
  • Team Member: Dennis Jacobs, Ph.D., Santa Clara University
  • WSCUC Staff Liaison: Dick Osborn

What are our Institutional Learning Outcomes?

Our Institutional Learning Outcomes can be found here.

Where can I submit any comments or questions about our accreditation?

All comments or questions can be submitted to Deborah Panter. Your comments and questions will be kept confidential, unless you ask that they be shared with others.