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Student feedback sought at WASC poster session

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The University of La Verne seeks re-accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Xenia Martinez
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne held a poster session Tuesday to help faculty and students become more familiar with the lengthy Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or WASC, accreditation process, as the deadline for review draws near.

WASC accreditation is an extremely important element for continued success at any University, said Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Alfred Clark.

ULV is currently accredited and has been for years, but the the process must be repeated every 10 years for an institution to maintain its accredited status.

At the poster session, faculty and staff presented and explained the report, its appendices and the WASC review progress as students and faculty looked over poster boards and asked questions.

“We do it to see if we have capacity to do what we say we can do,” said Jonathan Reed, interim Dean of the College of Art and Sciences.

La Verne’s review was based on three themes: Improving student achievement through assessment, building on quality in campus climate, and building on excellence through planning and implementation.

The poster session forum was chosen because presenters felt the casual forum would be good way to receive feedback.

“It is a good way to show everyone the vision of the strategic plan and receive comments,” Reed said. “We listen to what confusion or disagreement they may have.”

“This session was built for a conversation environment for people to have a two way conversation, where as in a lecture, you can’t always get up and ask questions,” President Stephen Morgan said.

Three main focuses for the first theme were: How well the students are learning the knowledge and skills required in majors and graduate programs, how effective the new general education will be and how successful the University of La Verne is in retaining and graduating students recruited at all levels.

Zandra Wagoner, assistant dean of undergraduate studies for the College of Arts and Sci­ences, explained how this is brought into action.

“We as faculty will take randomly selected student work and see if the group was able to do the skill,” Wagoner said. “From there we see if we should improve the curriculum.”

In the second theme, the focus was on how the campus climate encourages the retention of students, faculty and staff and how successfully the areas contribute to La Verne’s culture of educational effectiveness.

Not all students thought the process was fair.

“When I looked at the poster with the surveys, I learned that there weren’t very many positive reactions, not because of the school’s ability, but because of personal reasons such as raises,” said Kristen Campbell, a freshman public relations major.

The third theme was based around how effective the institutional research that La effective the institutional research that La Verne conducts in providing policy makers with information needed to make decisions informed by cultural evidence.

Another theme is how effective the strategic planning process is in identifying appropriate goals, guiding strategic objectives and fulfilling initiatives for the University.

“Once the University sets goals, faculty can set goals,” Wagoner said.

“I am really pleased with progress and the level of participation at this poster session,” Morgan said.

The Capacity and Preparatory Review will be held on Dec. 2 and the visit will take place Feb. 10-12, in 2010.

Xenia Martinez can be reached at xenia.martinez@laverne.edu.

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