Accreditation at Oregon State University

College Notebook Memo

27 March 2000

To:Academic Deans
From:Bob Burton, Chair, Accreditation Steering Committee
Re:College Notebooks
Action required by May 15, 2000.

In April 2001, OSU will be examined by a committee of outside evaluators appointed by the Northwest Association of Schools and Colleges for the purpose of renewing our accreditation. The first, and largest, part of this process is to write a self-study. This document gives the history, description, analysis, and projected actions for the entire university. The self-study will be backed up by notebooks, which will describe each of the units in detail. Supporting data in other formats will also be collected. This compilation of information will allow the evaluators to obtain a complete picture of our university as conveniently as possible.

Our goal is to have OSU re-accredited at the highest level with no conditions. Short of this, we might be given recommendations (expected changes) with a further review in a few years. Because of the importance of re-accreditation to our mission as a university, it is essential to achieve re-accreditation. While we are confident that OSU meets, and often exceeds, the criteria for unconditional re-accreditation, the outcome of this critical external review will depend largely on how we present our story to the reviewers. Therefore, we must all put forth our best efforts.

The requirements for accreditation are more extensive than they were in the past. The university mission statement is central to the self-study. The new requirements also expect much more self-study and evaluation on the part of the individual units. The language and practice of learning outcomes and assessment/evaluation are also essential requirements of OSU's self study.

Each department and each college will develop a 3-ring notebook that tells the story of the unit's mission, activities, strengths, challenges, and strategies. Notebooks for colleges and departments will be sent to your office tomorrow with a template of questions for the units to answer and assemble. Whenever possible we will gather information centrally. Units can update or revise their notebook at any time.

To help the units generate the necessary information in a consistent format, the Accreditation Steering Committee has designed a generic template for the college notebook and a generic template for the department notebook. The outline of the notebook is a guide to organization and is not meant to be procrustean. If some part is not applicable, then simply state so. If there is(are) part(s) of your college that is(are) not covered, then include this in the last section, labeled Other. The college should not duplicate the department notebooks, rather the college notebook will contain details of activities within the college but not within any single department. The college notebooks will also contain summary information.

If resources hinder your ability to accomplish your mission, state the facts but do not whine. You need to be realistic, e.g. do not give planning based upon funding increases of 50% (unless this is a realistic expectation). This process is a place to study the strengths and challenges of our units, but it is not effective to attempt use this process to leverage new resources.

Please distribute the department notebooks to the appropriate heads/chairs. We request that departments complete and submit their notebooks to you no later than May 1, 2000. Please complete and submit your college notebook, and the department notebooks, to Academic Affairs no later than May 15, 2000. Documents should be in MS WORD, Times New Roman, 12 pt., left indent 1.5", right 1', no paragraph indent, single space, number at bottom center. Also include URLs giving any relevant information. I am enclosing both the college and department templates and cover letters for your information.

Andy Hashimoto, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, will discuss the accreditation process at the Academic Deans meeting on April 5. If you think it is useful, I will be happy to meet with your chairs and directors to answer questions and explain this process. I will be out of town from March 30 through April 9 but Gigi Bruce (7-0732) can schedule meetings for me when I am in town.

Thank you in advance for helping with this important process. If you have questions contact me at 7-8009, bob@orst.edu.


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