12 April, 2000

Contact: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456; mstepanovich@csub.edu



CSUB reaccredited for another 10 years by WASC

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has reaccredited California State University, Bakersfield for another 10 years.

The association's Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities recently notified CSUB President Tomas Arciniega of the accrediting agencies action.

The reaccreditation was the culmination of an innovative two-year self-study that CSUB conducted and a campus visit Oct. 11-14, 1999, by an accrediting team.

Ralph A. Wolff, WASC executive director, commented in his letter to Arciniega informing him of the agency's action that CSUB's study was quite innovative, and was being used as a model for the next generation of WASC accreditation reviews.

"The commission commends the university for its development of an innovative self study that enabled it to reflect on the ways in which it is using assessment and technology to enhance student learning and to leverage the assessment and technology initiatives to speed and broaden them," Wolff said. "... The commission is pleased that the model adopted by CSUB has proven useful to the university and has helped inform the new approach to accreditation currently being developed.

"The self study builds upon the idea of CSU Bakersfield as a student learning centered university," Wolff continued. "The commission applauds the university for its vision and for the development of that vision out of the university's planning activities. ... The commission commends the university for the steps it has taken as it moves toward that vision and encourages that it proceed with this work."

Wolff also noted that another theme emerging from the self-study is that CSUB is a community involved university. "The university demonstrates sensitivity to community and regional needs in its own program planning," he said. "... As a commuter campus that has difficulty in gaining widespread student involvement on campus, the university may find that by further strengthening its involvement with the community, these ties can be utilized to enhance student-learning options..."

WASC endorsed a number of recommendations that the self-study team had identified, and highlighted other areas that it encouraged CSUB to continue working on.

- Sustaining momentum - The agency encouraged the university to replace retiring key campus leaders who had had a critical role in advancing the student-centered learning concept with faculty who share the vision of student outcomes. "If the important work that has come out of the university's planning and self-study activities is to be retained and built upon, the campus needs to be committed to a clear vision," Wolff said. "Such clarity will enable the university to seek new personnel who will support, understand and advance its strategic vision and direction."

- Organizing for learning - WASC encouraged CSUB "to continue building an infrastructure to sustain assessment in program improvement initiatives. Assessment is a tool to enable the university to understand itself and move closer to its goals, not an end in itself. While the gathering of assessment data seems to be spread across the university, the utilization of that date in decision making and in building program quality is at an early stage and needs to be developed further."

- Technology as a means - WASC urged CSUB to develop technology initiatives "that tie to the emerging mission and strategic vision of the campus."

- Diversity - WASC recognized CSUB's commitment to diversity, and encouraged it to "expand its efforts on diversity and assessment to ensure that the learning environment is supportive of all student populations."

Arciniega was delighted with the agency's reaccreditiation, and also with its suggestions as CSUB moves into the new millennium.

"This affirms the efforts we have made to ensure that our students are provided with a sound education that will prepare them for their careers," he said. "We also appreciate the very constructive comments offered by the commission, and will give them every consideration as we move forward in our efforts to make CSUB one of the finest comprehensive regional universities in the state."

"The message is very positive," Arciniega said. "This reaffirms for parents and students that CSUB provides a quality education."