The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) is the authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and in British Columbia, Canada. The Commission establishes accreditation criteria and evaluation procedures that are used to review institutions of higher education in the region.
The Commission helps institutions to promote student achievement, learning, and success; close equity gaps and enhance educational quality and institutional effectiveness; facilitate analytical self-assessment and critical peer review; ensure accountability and transparency; and advance research and engagement (Accreditation Handbook, page 5).
View the Standards and Eligibility Requirements. The rubrics to evaluate how well institutions are meeting Standard One is a must-read resource, and the focus of the Lane's work in 2020/2021. (See Accreditation Handbook, pages 58-69.)
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NWCCU Accreditation Standards and Requirements
The Commission's Accreditation Handbook, January 2020 helps institutions understand expectations. There are two Standards.
NWCCU Standard One
Standard One: Student Success and Institutional Mission and Effectiveness. The institution articulates its commitment to student success, primarily measured through student learning and achievement, for all students, with a focus on equity and closure of achievement gaps, and establishes a mission statement, acceptable thresholds, and benchmarks for effectiveness with meaningful indicators. The institution’s programs are consistent with its mission and culminate in identified student outcomes leading to degrees, certificates, credentials, employment, or transfer to other higher education institutions or programs. Programs are systematically assessed using meaningful indicators to assure currency, improve teaching and learning strategies, and achieve stated student learning outcomes for all students, including underrepresented students and first-generation college students.
NWCCU Standard Two
Standard Two: Governance, Resources, and Capacity. The institution articulates its commitment to a structure of governance that is inclusive in its planning and decision-making. Through its planning, operational activities, and allocation of resources, the institution demonstrates a commitment to student learning and achievement in an environment respectful of meaningful discourse.
“Regional Accreditation” vs "Institutional Accreditation"
NWCCU Equity Resource Library
Our institutional accreditor, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, created the NWCCU Equity Resource Library website with more than 1,000 webinars, videos, papers, toolkits, data tools, self-assessments, guides, etc. These resources were made available to support higher education institutions to identify and close student achievement equity gaps, a NWCCU mandate. Learn more and access the NWCCU Equity Resource Library.