by Amber Allen
In response to the growing popularity of La Verne’s adult and graduate programs the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) visited the La Verne campus this week to assess the quality of ULV’s education.
A team of five WASC evaluators spent Wednesday, Thursday and today visiting off-campus sites in the Inland Empire, San Fernando Valley and Orange County, which included an evaluation meeting with President Steve Morgan and the deans of the University’s five schools.
Vice President of Academic Affairs Bill Cook is responsible for monitoring the process and organizing the reports that are required by WASC.
“The University agrees to maintain a level of quality education and WASC makes sure that we are doing our job,” said Dr. Cook.
WASC last visited the ULV in 1991 to assess the traditional undergraduate programs. Issues were raised following that evaluation which the University was obligated to address in this visit.
The issues that the University is addressing in the future are: the rewriting of the Mission Statement so it includes the total University population, where it used to only respond to traditional students, improving general education requirements for undergraduates, increasing the number of full-time off-campus faculty, improving the library usefulness and encouraging the students to use the facility, responding to the need for diversity in faculty and curriculum, and maintaining the financial stability of the University.
WASC first accredited the University when it was a college in 1955 and has visited in scheduled years since then. In 1969 the University responded to the growing need of degree programs off campus by building extension campuses throughout southern California. ULV maintains adult education and graduate programs at three other sites.
WASC is one of the six non-profit volunteer accreditation associations created to evaluate the standard of education that is offered at the college level.
Membership in WASC is on a voluntary basis. The University pays a considerable fee to be a member, along with covering the costs of the five person evaluation team visit. In return, University faculty are members of evaluating task forces at other universities.
“No institution is required to be accredited, but it benefits the institution to do so,” said Dr. Cook.
According to Dr. Cook, if the University was not accredited, the degrees students receive would not be valuable. A student would not be able to transfer credits to another university or graduate school because their education would not meet the same requirements.
“If the University is not accredited it cannot get financial aid,” added Cook.
“I am not anticipating any problems with the visit. It is simply to show that we have progressed and that we satisfactorily meet the standards for all the students,” said Dr. Cook.
For those interested, the WASC visit concludes with an exit interview today in the PDR at 2:30 p.m.