Accreditation at Oregon State University

Department Notebook Memo

27 March 2000

To:Department Heads/Chairs
From:Bob Burton, Chair, Accreditation Steering Committee
Re:Departmental Notebooks
Action required by May 1, 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 provides 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 will be sent to your dean's office tomorrow (with a template of questions for the units to answer and assemble). When possible, we will gather information centrally. These centrally provided items will begin with a triple star, ***. Units can update or revise their notebook at any time.

To assist departments as they generate the necessary information, the Accreditation Steering Committee has designed 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 part of your department that is not covered, include it in the section labeled Other.

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 doubling of your faculty with new positions (unless this is a realistic expectation). This is a place to study our departments but not to leverage new resources.

Please complete and submit your notebook to your dean no later than May 1, 2000. Documents should be in MS WORD, Times New Roman, 12 pt., left indent 1.5", right 1', no paragraph indent, number at bottom center. Also include URLs giving any relevant information.

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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