Lane’s mission to provide transfer and technical degrees will come under scrutiny over the next few weeks as the school undergoes a routine reaccreditation evaluation. Every seven years, the Northwest Commision on Colleges and Universities, an independent accreditation group from Redmond, Wash. makes the determination as to whether classes offered at Lane will continue to have official Federally-recognized value.
NWCCU is recognized by the federal government as an authority on accreditation for schools like Lane. The Commision’s mandate to decide whether Lane will be able to offer credit classes is daunting.
“They ask questions regarding whether we have the resources to serve students and whether we are living up to our mission,” Maurice Hamington, Lane’s Executive Dean of Academic Affairs said.
Hamington believes that the accreditation agency’s interests line up well with those of most students.
This month, a superior court in California’s Bay Area will hear arguments by an accreditation agency that recommends closing the doors of City College of San Francisco, a two-year institution that serves 85,000 students in San Francisco. Hamington affirms that this kind of accreditation-related closure is rare. “Lane has never come close to losing its accreditation,” Hamington said. “We will not lose our accreditation this time either.”
Lane’s administration has taken a proactive role in branding it’s reaccreditation process as a mile marker. Through Youtube videos and literature made available on the college’s website, school officials have encouraged students to think of the evaluation as an opportunity to “reflect on and analyze the ways in which the college achieves its vision, mission and core values.” Administrators have also prepared a 200-page “self-study report” to hand over to accreditors, should they have any concerns.
Though NWCCU’s website assures that their assessments rely on “analytical institutional self-assessment,” this assessment won’t be limited to brochures and guided tours. NWCCU will do some of it’s own research while evaluators are on campus Oct. 29-31. They will be talking to faculty, administrators, community members and students. Students and faculty will be offered an opportunity to weigh in on the school’s progress in targeted feedback groups during the evaluators’ visit.