The WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) has reaffirmed the accreditation of Fresno Pacific University for an additional seven years, according to a statement by the commission, one of nation’s six regional higher education accrediting bodies.
The university has been accredited since 1965. Graduates of accredited colleges and universities are accepted into master’s and doctoral programs, and find that their degrees mean more in the professional world. “Accreditation means FPU meets academic and other standards that tell other educational institutions, employers, potential students and supporters that we are a quality university. It affirms that students are learning and achieving their educational and professional goals,” said Stephen Varvis, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president, who led the accreditation effort.
Reaccreditation is a multi-year process that includes self-analysis and reporting by the university, and evaluation visits and reports by teams of experts from other colleges and universities who are intentionally chosen by WSCUC. “The process is one of peer review, which is the most effective way of ensuring that a university understands and achieves its mission and values,” said FPU President Richard Kriegbaum, Ph.D. “The people who are examining the school understand why we exist and they understand the standards that must be met. They identify areas that need improvement and make genuinely helpful recommendations. FPU faculty and administrators regularly serve on such evaluation teams for other institutions.”
The commission commended FPU for:
Restoring stability—Quick and decisive action created “a new level of fiscal and institutional stability,” according the commission’s July 15, 2015, letter to Kriegbaum. The board and administration were affirmed for dealing effectively with significant challenges. One clear indication of success was a $1 million operating surplus for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
Creating a culture of evidence—Strong measures to increase and document educational effectiveness have resulted in better assessment of student learning outcomes, clear and transparent data and well-developed program reviews, among other improvements. “The institution is making good use of and contributing to best practices in this area,” the letter stated.
Implementing WSCUC’s new emphases in core competencies and the meaning, quality and integrity of degrees—The university brought together groups of faculty, staff, administrators and students to develop a culture of continuous improvement that can keep FPU successful over the long term.
In its recommendations section, the commission endorsed FPU’s continuing efforts to improve communication, faculty and staff engagement in decision-making, diversity, strategic planning and financial stability. “The accreditation process is challenging and continuous—as it should be. Our next site visit has already been scheduled. We appreciate the hard work of the commission and the review team. We are especially grateful for the skillful and determined leadership of Dr. Steve Varvis, our provost/senior vice president, the team of leaders who guided the work and the diligence, competence and commitment of all the members of the FPU community who work so hard every day to make Fresno Pacific a great Christian university,” Kriegbaum said.