Academic Tuesdays: March 14, 2023
– By Alexandra Fitts, vice provost and accreditation liaison officer
UAF is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) and is nearing the third year of its seven-year cycle. UAF’s accreditation was reaffirmed following a 2020 report and site visit.
Mid-cycle report and site visit
NWCCU requires a Mid-cycle report and site visit in the third year of the accreditation cycle. The Accreditation Steering Committee has begun preparing the report, which will be due August 2023. The report centers on mission fulfillment, equitable student achievement, and programmatic assessment. The mid-cycle evaluation is intended to give formative feedback to the university on our progress toward our next full review in 2027. UAF’s site visit will occur October 2-3, 2023. It will be a great opportunity to welcome visitors to our campus and show off everything that UAF has to offer.
UAF’s 2020 site-visit was done virtually due to COVID. The Department of Education requires a follow-up in-person visit for all institutions that went through a virtual evaluation. This follow-up will consist of reviews of Human Resources, Library resources, and Facilities. It is also possible that the evaluation team will ask to visit UAF sites outside of Fairbanks.
UAF will be preparing for a few new requirements, or existing requirements that are receiving increased scrutiny. Two of the most important are:
- NWCCU’s follow-up visit with Human Resources will be focused on evaluations, and whether UAF is following its own policies in regards to evaluation of staff and faculty. All employees should receive an evaluation from their supervisor every year. We will continue to reach out to spread the word about this, and ask that all supervisors make sure that you have completed your evaluations prior to July 1.
- The Department of Education has a policy on distance education that NWCCU will be monitoring to ensure compliance. One of the key components of this policy is that the institution has “academic policies and procedures to implement requirements for regular and substantive interactions in Distance Education courses or programs.” We will be working with the Faculty Senate, deans, and eCampus to develop policies so that we comply with this regulation.
Along with the mid-cycle report, we will respond to recommendations that resulted from the 2020 visit. UAF had four recommendations, which were:
- Recommendation 1: Fully execute program assessment plan, and engage the departments in the assessment process in order to consistently evaluate student learning and to drive program improvement.
- Recommendation 2: Evaluate goals, resource allocation processes, and institutional capacity to assure adequacy, effectiveness and sustainability of its programs and services, with thorough stakeholder input.
- Recommendation 3: Implement program assessment using disaggregated performance data and publicize performance widely.
- Recommendation 4: Embrace employee equity and inclusion and foster a sense of belonging across student, faculty and staff stakeholders.
We are confident that we have made significant progress in these areas and will be able to respond to the recommendations effectively.
For more information on UAF’s accreditation or to get involved, visit our website or contact me at email@example.com.