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 Concluding Essay
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 Standard 1
 Standard 2
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 Standard 4
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Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)


Defining Institutional Purposes and Ensuring Educational Objectives

The institution defines its purposes and establishes educational objectives aligned with its purposes and character. It has a clear and conscious sense of its essential values and character, its distinctive elements, its place in the higher education community, and its relationship to society at large. Through its purposes and educational objectives, the institution dedicates itself to higher learning, the search for truth, and the dissemination of knowledge. The institution functions with integrity and autonomy.


1.1. The institution's formally approved statements of purpose and operational practices are appropriate for an institution of higher education and clearly define its essential values and character.

{ Guidelines: The institution has a published mission statement that clearly describes its purposes. The institution's purposes fall within recognized academic areas and/or disciplines, or are subject to peer review within the framework of generally recognized academic disciplines or areas of practice. }

Evidence for 1.1


1.2. Educational objectives are clearly recognized throughout the institution and are consistent with stated purposes. The institution has developed indicators and evidence to ascertain the level of achievement of its purposes and educational objectives.

{ Guideline: The institution has published educational objectives that are consistent with its purposes. }

Evidence for 1.2

1.2a, 1.2b

1.3. The institution's leadership creates and sustains a leadership system at all levels that is marked by high performance, appropriate responsibility, and accountability.

Evidence for 1.3


Questions for Institutional Engagement

1. To what extent are institutional purposes broadly understood by members of the institutional community and communicated clearly and consistently to external constituencies?

2. How does the institution ensure that its institutional purposes and educational objectives are regularly reviewed and modified?

3. To what extent has the institution developed and begun to use indicators and sources of evidence to determine whether its educational objectives have been achieved?

4. In what ways does the institution ensure that its educational objectives are actively used as guides for decision-making, resource allocation, and action?

5. How does the institution ensure that its educational objectives and experiences are appropriate for its students, given their particular backgrounds and their intended objectives?


1.4. The institution publicly states its commitment to academic freedom for faculty, staff, and students, and acts accordingly. This commitment affirms that those in the academy are free to share their convictions and responsible conclusions with their colleagues and students in their teaching and in their writing.

{ Guideline: The institution has published or has readily-available policies on academic freedom. For those institutions that strive to instill specific beliefs and world views, policies clearly state conditions, and ensure these conditions are consistent with academic freedom. Due process procedures are disseminated, demonstrating that faculty and students are protected in their quest for truth. }

Evidence for 1.4


1.5. Consistent with its purposes and character, the institution demonstrates an appropriate response to the increasing diversity in society through its policies, its educational and co-curricular programs, and its administrative and organizational practices. (Refer to evidence 1.5.a - 1.5.b)

{ Guideline: The institution has demonstrated institutional commitment to the principles enunciated in the WASC Statement on Diversity. }

Evidence for 1.5

1.5a, 1.5b, 1.5c

1.6. Even when supported by or affiliated with political, corporate, or religious organizations, the institution has education as its primary purpose and operates as an academic institution with appropriate autonomy.

{ Guideline: The institution has no history of interference in substantive decisions or educational functions by political, religious, corporate, or other external bodies outside the institution's own governance arrangements. }

Evidence for 1.6


1.7. The institution truthfully represents its academic goals, programs, and services to students and to the larger public; demonstrates that its academic programs can be completed in a timely fashion; and treats students fairly and equitably through established policies and procedures addressing student conduct, grievances, human subjects in research, and refunds. (Refer to evidence 1.7.a - 1.7.c)

{ Guideline: The institution has published or readily-available policies on student grievances and complaints, refunds, etc. and has no history of adverse findings against it with respect to violation of these policies. Records of student complaints are maintained for a six-year period. The institution clearly defines and distinguishes between the different types of credits it offers and between degree and non-degree credit, and accurately identifies the type and meaning of the credit awarded in its transcripts. }

Evidence for 1.7

1.7a, 1.7b, 1.7c

1.8. The institution exhibits integrity in its operations as demonstrated by the implementation of appropriate policies, sound business practices, timely and fair responses to complaints and grievances, and regular evaluation of its performance in these areas. (Refer to evidence 1.8.a - 1.8.c)

{ Guideline: The institution has published or readily-available grievance procedures for faculty, staff, and students. Its finances are regularly audited by external agencies. }
Links to response

Evidence for 1.8

1.8a, 1.8b

1.9. The institution is committed to honest and open communication with the Accrediting Commission, to undertaking the accreditation review process with seriousness and candor, and to abiding by Commission policies and procedures, including all substantive change policies.

Evidence for 1.9


Questions for Institutional Engagement

1. In what ways does the institution assure itself that it promotes and upholds sound ethical practices and respect for humanity through its teaching, scholarship, and service, as well as its administrative practices?

2. To what extent are policies regarding academic freedom widely understood and to what extent do they support a climate of academic inquiry and engagement for all members of the institutional community?

3. How does the institution ensure that issues of diversity are appropriately engaged and that a climate of respect for a diversity of backgrounds, ideas and perspectives is fostered among its members?

4. How does the institution assure that student grievances and complaints are addressed promptly, appropriately, and equitably?

5. How does the institution assure itself that it has adequate administrative controls in financial, administrative and auxiliary functions (including budgeting, fundraising, athletics, student support services), and external relations with business, government, and foundations? How effective are conflict of interest policies?


Questions or Comments
Sonoma State University • 1801 East Cotati Ave. Rohnert Park, CA 94928-3609
Division of Academics Affairs • SSU Portfolio/WASC Accreditation
707.664.2790 • FAX 707-664-4060 • Contact Dr. Rose Bruce