Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process.
An accredited college or university is one that has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.
NWCCU accreditation is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole. As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates. Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.
Inquiries regarding an institution's accredited status by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:
NWCCU accreditation is a peer-evaluation process:
- OHSU submits a self-study report that assesses its fulfillment of its mission and NWCCU standards.
- Peers from like institutions serve on the accreditation team that visits OHSU for the on-site evaluation of what was presented in the self-study report.
The NWCCU evaluates universities at several points over a seven-year period.
- OHSU submits annual reports to NWCCU.
- Mid-Cycle Self-Evaluation Report in year three; visit but focused on assessment piece of self-study to determine readiness for Year Seven.
- Year Six includes OHSU assessing its Policies, Regulations, and Financial Review (PRFR) and submission to NWCCU for peer review.
- Year Seven includes OHSU performing an Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness (EIE) comprehensive self-study and peer review at least every seven years, which includes a visit by a team of NWCCU evaluators.
The Standards for Accreditation are statements that articulate the quality and effectiveness expected of accredited institutions, and collectively they provide a framework for continuous improvement within institutions. The standards, which were revised in 2020, also serve as indicators by which institutions are evaluated by peers. The standards are designed to guide institutions in a process of self-reflection that blends analysis and synthesis in a holistic examination of:
- Student Success and Institutional Mission and Effectiveness
- Governance, Resources, and Capacity
Standard One: Student Success and Institutional Mission and Effectiveness
The institution articulates its commitment to student success, primarily measured through student learning and achievement, for all students, with a focus on equity and closure of achievement gaps, and establishes a mission statement, acceptable thresholds, and benchmarks for effectiveness with meaningful indicators. The institution's programs are consistent with its mission and culminate in identified student outcomes leading to degrees, certificates, credentials, employment, or transfer to other higher education institutions or programs. Programs are systematically assessed using meaningful indicators to assure currency, improve teaching and learning strategies, and achieve stated student learning outcomes for all students, including underrepresented students and first-generation college students.
Standard Two: Governance, Resources, and Capacity
The institution articulates its commitment to a structure of governance that is inclusive in its planning and decision-making. Through its planning, operational activities, and allocation of resources, the institution demonstrates a commitment to student learning and achievement in an environment respectful of meaningful discourse.