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Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)


Achieving Educational Objectives Through Core Functions

The institution achieves its institutional purposes and attains its educational objectives through the core functions of teaching and learning, scholarship and creative activity, and support for student learning. It demonstrates that these core functions are performed effectively and that they support one another in the institution's efforts to attain educational effectiveness.


2.1. The institution's educational programs are appropriate in content, standards, and nomenclature for the degree level awarded, regardless of mode of delivery, and are staffed by sufficient numbers of faculty qualified for the type and level of curriculum offered.

{ Guidelines: The content, length, and standards of the institution's academic programs conform to recognized disciplinary or professional standards and are subject to peer review. }

Evidence for 2.1


2.2. All degrees - undergraduate and graduate - awarded by the institution are clearly defined in terms of entry-level requirements and in terms of levels of student achievement necessary for graduation that represent more than simply an accumulation of courses or credits.

{ Guideline: Competencies required for graduation are reflected in course syllabi for both General Education and the major. }
  • Baccalaureate programs engage students in an integrated course of study of sufficient breadth and depth to prepare them for work, citizenship, and a fulfilling life. These programs also ensure the development of core learning abilities and competencies including, but not limited to, college-level written and oral communication; college-level quantitative skills; information literacy; and the habit of critical analysis of data and argument. In addition, baccalaureate programs actively foster an understanding of diversity; civic responsibility; the ability to work with others;and the capability to engage in lifelong learning.
  • Baccalaureate programs also ensure breadth for all students in the areas of cultural and aesthetic, social and political, as well as scientific and technical knowledge expected of educated persons in this society. Finally, students are required to engage in an in-depth, focused, and sustained program of study as part of their baccalaureate programs. (Refer to evidence 2.2.a - 2.2.c)
{ Guideline: The institution has a program of General Education that is integrated throughout the curriculum, including at the upper division level, consisting of a minimum of 45 semester credit hours (or the equivalent), together with significant study in depth in a given area of knowledge (typically described in terms of a major). }

Evidence for 2.2

2.2a 2.2b 2.2c
  • Graduate programs are consistent with the purpose and character of their institutions; are in keeping with the expectations of their respective disciplines and professions; and are described through nomenclature that is appropriate to the several levels of graduate and professional degrees offered. Graduate curricula are visibly structured to include active involvement with the literature of the field and ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate high-level professional practice and training experiences. Additionally, admission criteria to graduate programs normally include a baccalaureate degree in an appropriate undergraduate program.
{Guideline: The institution employs at least one full-time faculty member for each graduate degree program offered. }

2.3. The institution's expectations for learning and student attainment are clearly reflected in its academic programs and policies. These include the organization and content of the institution's curricula; admissions and graduation policies; the organization and delivery of advisement; the use of its library and information resources; and (where applicable) experience in the wider learning environment provided by the campus and/or co-curriculum. (Refer to evidence 2.3.a. - 2.3.b)

{ Guideline: The use of information and learning resources beyond textbooks is evidenced in syllabi throughout the undergraduate and graduate curriculum. }
Link to response

Evidence for 2.3

2.3a 2.3b

2.4. The institution's expectations for learning and student attainment are developed and widely shared among its members (including faculty, students, staff, and where appropriate, external stakeholders). The institution's faculty takes collective responsibility for establishing, reviewing, fostering, and demonstrating the attainment of these expectations.

Evidence for 2.4


2.5.The institution's academic programs actively involve students in learning, challenge them to achieve high expectations, and provide them with appropriate and ongoing feedback about their performance and how it can be improved.

Evidence for 2.5


2.6. The institution demonstrates that its graduates consistently achieve its stated levels of attainment and ensures that its expectations for student learning are embedded in the standards faculty use to evaluate student work.

Evidence for 2.6

2.6a 2.6b

2.7. In order to improve program currency and effectiveness, all programs offered by the institution are subject to review, including analyses of the achievement of the program's learning objectives and outcomes. Where appropriate, evidence from external constituencies such as employers and professional societies is included in such reviews.

{ Guideline: The institution incorporates in its assessment of educational objectives results with respect to student achievement, including program completion, license examination, and placement rates results. }

Evidence for 2.7


Questions for Institutional Engagement

1. In what ways does the institution ensure that the degrees it offers remain rigorous and aligned with its core purposes?

2. How does the institution ensure that its programs can be completed in a timely manner, are configured to meet student needs, and lead to retention and graduation rates appropriate to the type of institution and student population?

3. To what extent does the institution provide an environment that is actively conducive to study and learning, where library, information resources, and co-curricular programs actively support student learning?

4. How does the institution connect its curriculum and services to its defined communities, through such initiatives as development of available field settings, service learning, or similar opportunities for practical engagement?

5. How effectively does the institution review and modify its courses and programs to reflect new knowledge and changes in the needs of society?

6. In what ways does the institution encourage and disseminate innovations in teaching and learning, and discuss their implications for curriculum and pedagogy?

7. How does the institution's leadership create and sustain an institutional climate that actively fosters effective teaching and learning?

8. To what extent does the institution ensure that students develop expected core learning abilities and competencies before they graduate?


2.8. The institution actively values and promotes scholarship, curricular and instructional innovation, and creative activity, as well as their dissemination at levels and of the kinds appropriate to the institution's purposes and character. (Refer to evidence 2.8.a - 2.8.c)

Evidence for 2.8

2.8a 2.8b 2.8c

2.9. The institution recognizes and promotes appropriate linkages among scholarship, teaching, student learning and service.

Evidence for 2.9


Questions for Institutional Engagement

1. In what ways do the institution's policies and administrative procedures encourage and support scholarship, instructional innovation and creative activity (e.g., policies on faculty workload and reward, research, funding, professional development programs, etc.), as well as learning about pedagogy and learning theory?

2. To what extent are scholarship, research, and creative activity linked to the improvement of teaching and learning?

3. How effectively does the institution engage students directly in scholarship and creative activity, consonant with the institution's purpose and character?

4. In what ways does the institution seek to foster among its students a research-oriented culture of inquiry - especially at the graduate level - that is consonant with its character and purposes?


2.10. Regardless of mode of program delivery, the institution regularly identifies the characteristics of its students and assesses their needs, experiences, and levels of satisfaction. This information is used to help shape a learning-centered environment and to actively promote student success. (Refer to evidence 2.10)

{ Guideline: The institution's policy on grading and student evaluation is clearly stated, and provides opportunity for appeal as needed; and periodic analyses of grades and evaluation procedures are conducted to assess the rigor and impact of these policies. }

Evidence for 2.10


2.11. Consistent with its purposes, the institution develops and implements co-curricular programs that are integrated with its academic goals and programs, and supports student professional and personal development. (Refer to evidence 2.11)

Evidence for 2.11


2.12. The institution ensures that all students understand the requirements of their academic programs and receive timely, useful, and regular information and advising about relevant academic requirements. (Refer to evidence 2.12.a - 2.12.d)

{ Guideline: Recruiting and admission practices, academic calendars, publications, and advertising are accurate, current, disclosing, and are readily available to support student needs. }

Evidence for 2.12

2.12a 2.12b 2.12

2.13.Student support services - including financial aid, registration, advising, career counseling, computer labs, and library and information services - are designed to meet the needs of the specific types of students the institution serves and the curricula it offers.(Refer to evidence 2.13.a - 2.13.c)

Evidence for 2.13


2.14. Institutions that serve transfer students assume an obligation to provide clear and accurate information about transfer requirements, ensure equitable treatment for such students with respect to academic policies, and ensure that such students are not unduly disadvantaged by transfer requirements.

Evidence for 2.14


Questions for Institutional Engagement

1. How effectively has advising or mentoring helped students benefit from available educational opportunities and resources?

2. How does the institution ensure that the organization and delivery of its services to students is appropriately aligned with its educational objectives and its particular approach to teaching and learning?

3. In what ways does the institution promote and provide an intellectually rich campus environment in which students are encouraged to explore and express a diversity of ideas and opinions?

4. How does the institution identify the special needs of transfer students, assess their performance and retention in the institution, and determine that institutional educational objectives are met even if coursework is taken in other institutions? How does it similarly take steps to ensure that its credits are transferable to other institutions?

5. To what extent does the institution regularly collect and analyze retention and attrition data for the student body as a whole as well as for major subgroups (such as by age, ethnicity, or gender), and explore the implications of the data to be assured that the institution is being responsive to the needs of all of its students?

6. In what ways does the institution gather, analyze, and use information about the needs and preferences of students and the values they place on programs and services? Is this information effectively used to create an overall climate conducive to student and institutional learning?

See related Policies regarding: Collegiate Athletics; Credit for Prior Experiential Learning; International Students; Study Abroad; and Transfer and Award of Academic Credit.


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