Institutional accreditation is a voluntary, non-governmental process of self-analysis and peer review that assures educational quality and encourages purposeful improvement through evaluations based on institutional mission, accepted academic standards and expectations of the public.
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)
UAF is accredited through NWCCU, a legally established, private 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council on Higher Education to accredit postsecondary institutions. NWCCU provides accreditation to institutions of higher education in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and British Columbia, along with domestic and international geographic areas.
Process of Accreditation
Accreditation is neither intended to be permanent, nor set for a specific number of years. It is reaffirmed periodically over the seven-year cycle of self-evaluation, peer and NWCCU Board of Commission reviews described below.
- Due each year by August 1
- To provide NWCCU with a better understanding and ability to evaluate potential impacts on UAF’s sustainability due to substantive changes in academic and ancillary programs, support services, infrastructure, annual budgets, enrollment, student outcomes and achievement merits
- Occurs during year three of the evaluation cycle
- Self-Evaluation Report is due 5 weeks prior to fall site visit
- Focused on NWCCU Standard One (Student Success, Institutional Mission and Effectiveness) and designed to assist institutions in determine if their efforts to promote student learning outcome and assessment will result in a successful Year Seven Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness
Policies, Regulations and Financial Review (PRFR)
- Focused on NWCCU Standard Two (Governance, Resources and Capacity) and includes a desk review and evaluation by an external peer-panel of experts.
- The PRFR provides UAF with a summary of strengths, areas that need improvement and questions for which the team required more information or clarification. The PRFR report and the institution’s response are included in the Year Seven Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness.
- Report is due in the spring and the institution's response is due that fall.
Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness (EIE)
- Occurs in the fall of the seventh cycle year.
- EIE is due 8 weeks prior to the start of the campus visit.
- Comprehensive self-evaluation and external review of all accreditation standards. UAF is expected to address any updates or responses from the Mid-Cycle, PRFR and previous EIE.
- The NWCCU Board of Commission reviews all actions, reports and responses by the peer
review committees and the institution prior to taking one of the following actions:
- Reaffirm accreditation
- Request a special report to address specific areas of concern
- Defer action on reaffirmation of accreditation
- Issue, impose or continue warning, probation or show-cause sanctions
- Remove sanction(s)
- Terminate accreditation