Accreditation Update on Institutional Planning & Area Reviews

Dear Campus Colleagues,

We have received correspondence from the Northwest Commission on Colleges & Universities (NWCCU) that indicates the College still has quite a bit of work to do to be in compliance with our accreditation standards. We will be receiving a formal letter from the NWCCU soon in response to their last site visit in October 2022. We will update you as soon as we receive the letter.

Specifically, quoting from the accreditation Standard 1.B.1, the College needs to “demonstrate a continuous process to assess institutional effectiveness, including student learning and achievement, and support services.” In addition, the College needs to “use an ongoing and systematic evaluation and planning process to inform and refine our institutional effectiveness, assign our resources, and improve student learning and achievement.”

As an institution, we will assess our effectiveness through data-informed reviews (self-reflections) in each area of the College. The good news is that most instructional departments and student services areas made significant progress on this work this last summer and fall; that analysis informed funding decisions for tenure-track faculty positions and instructional equipment. We will build on that momentum and ensure that all areas of the college complete a review by the end of this academic year: by June 16, 2023.

The review process will be “continuous” in that each area will complete a review each year (a shorter annual review) and a comprehensive review every 3-4 years. A DRAFT multi-year calendar can be found on a new Institutional Planning Sharepoint site. 

The review process will inform how we “assign our resources,” which means if your area wants to request additional resources (i.e. funding-including up to $100,000 in Innovation Grants, staffing, or equipment beyond the tenure-track positions and instructional equipment that already have been approved), then you will need to complete a review by an earlier deadline of April 24, 2023, to allow for analysis that will inform the development of the 2023-24 budget.

We will be using the president’s goals to guide the College’s current strategic direction until a new Strategic Plan is created in the coming months and to prioritize resource requests. While we expect a tight budget year, the budget development process will be participatory, transparent, and informed by your area reviews.  All Executive Team (ET) decisions will be shared out first to the Strategic Planning & Budget Council (the College’s relevant participatory governance group) before going to the Board of Trustees in May.

Please keep in mind that reviewing your specific area is the first step of this process. The NWCCU also expects us to look at the results of the review and make changes to our practices based on what we learn in order to demonstrate improvement. We then need to document that improvement in our accreditation report.  

The Planning & Institutional Effectiveness (PIE) area will reach to each area individually with more details on your area review.

In the meantime, mark your calendar for tomorrow’s all-campus Accreditation Q & A session with the NWCCU. Come to understand the big picture of accreditation and ask questions: Wednesday, February 22, 2023, Noon-1 pm, room 1010M / Boardroom or Zoom.

A final piece of good news is that Shoreline applied for and has been accepted into the yearlong NWCCU Mission Fulfillment & Sustainability Fellowship program, which will provide a structured opportunity for advancing the College’s accreditation work with guidance not only from our NWCCU accreditors, but from national experts.


Jack Kahn, President

Ann Garnsey-Harter, Associate VP-Planning, Institutional Effectiveness, & Project Management

Bill Saraceno, Interim VP – Business & Administrative Services

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