Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

SU is getting Reaccredited: What does this mean for you?


For the first time since Seattle University’s accreditation in 2010, the Office of University Planning is hosting four information sessions throughout the month of February to educate students, faculty and staff about the Jesuit institution’s accreditation process.

Accreditation is an ongoing conversation between universities and, specifically for Seattle U, the Northwest Commission on College and Universities (NWCCU). The accreditation process is an evaluation of a university’s compliance with the standards put in place by the NWCCU, which grants universities eligibility for federal funding as well as recognition of credits and graduate degrees.

Bob Duniway, the Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness University Planning, is responsible for Seattle U’s accreditation process. With the NWCCU’s upcoming visit in late April, Duniway is optimistic and ready for the evaluation.

“It puts a fresh set of eyes on how we’re doing our basic operations and pursing educating our students. Where we are, I’m not living in fear that the evaluators are coming. I’m more interested in the recommendations that help us continue to improve,” he said.

Second-year nursing major Peter Hoang attended the first information session to build a better connection with administrators in his role as one of the SGSU At-Large Representatives.

“I feel like the accreditation session would allow me to understand more [about] how SU accredits, the resources they have, how are they providing different on-campus facilities and things of that nature for students,” he said.

Hoang added that he was curious to see where Seattle U’s nursing school accreditation process overlapped with the university’s overall process.

Donna Horn, the manager of organizational development, has been involved in the writing process for the university’s accreditation section in facilities and physical infrastructure since 2009.

“I have been involved in reporting what facilities needs to report,” Horn said. “So since this is the first time they have done these information sessions, I figured I would attend, see how it [is] set up and if there is anything new I can learn from it.”

In Seattle U’s last accreditation report, the school received two “commendations”—aspectsof the university the NWCCU formally recognizes—and seven recommendations, which are areas that need to be reviewed and reworked using guidelines provided by the NWCCU.

Seattle U created a plan of action and took steps to address the seven recommendations from the NWCCU: creating university standards across all programs and making sure all programs were meeting the standards, determining the ownership of intellectual property in research between faculty and students and clarifying the appropriate mix of tenured, tenured track and untenured faculty.

Duniway said these recommendations are helpful for the university’s growth and improvement of current programs and operations.

The information session was impactful for Hoang and he recommends students, faculty and staff members to attend one of the three remaining sessions which will be held on Feb. 13 and 22 at the student center hearth. The final session will be on Feb. 28 in the engineering building gallery.

“From a faculty perspective, the accreditation directly affect[s] how you’re teaching your curriculum. [It is] important to know what your students need and how you should be presenting that material so students have the confidence and can succeed,” Hoang said.

From his perspective as a student, he learned that accreditation is more than just academics.

“As a student, you want to stay plugged in because you come to SU not just for an education but also to be well rounded,” Hoang said. “Learning more about the resources SU offers, the mission and their goals for students is important for me to know what I’m investing in these next four years.”

Horn found that information sessions like this are important for the community in order to not only maintain transparency, but also to provide accessibility of this information to all students, faculty and staff.

“It helps people see the bigger picture of standards that universities need to measure up to, to stay accredited,” Horn said. “It helps us stay accountable to [our] goals, core themes and how well you measure up to what you say you’re going to do.”

One of the hopes Duniway has for students to receive from these information sessions is the understanding that the accreditation process is not a painful ordeal they have to go through.

“It is genuinely a collaborative effort across institutions to increase quality for all of the accredited institutions. The only thing you don’t want in an evaluation is for them to get a false impression of the university and therefore give you recommendations that aren’t useful.”

Hunter may be reached at
[email protected]

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