Weber State University received a positive accreditation report Wednesday, indicating the university is well on its way to get its accreditation renewed in January.
During an oral report presented to the administration, faculty and staff Wednesday, the board discussed commendations for areas in which the university is doing well and recommendations for areas in which the university should improve. Those areas range from the university’s mission, to how it is fulfilling that mission and positioning itself for the future.
Weber State received commendations in all five areas covered and no recommendations. President Chuck Wight said having so many commendations and no recommendations, is unusual.
Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) affects Weber State’s ability to receive federal funds, including financial aid, and the ability of students to transfer credits to other colleges and universities. The commission comes up with standards each school should follow, usually along the lines of student requirements for admissions, quality of education, reputation of faculty and the overall mission of the college.
On Monday, members of a visitation team from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities held meetings for faculty, staff and students in the Shepherd Union Wildcat Theater, where attendees voiced their opinions about what Weber State could be doing differently and what has worked for them so far. Each group has a different perspective on the school’s general standards.
The visitation team acts as a peer review board, with each individual from out of state to evaluate the college and renew the previous cycle’s accreditation.
Once the review process is complete, the review board will send an evaluation to the university’s chief executive officer, who has the chance to correct any factual errors.
Once the final evaluation has been submitted and all steps are completed, the Board of Commissioners decides if it will reaffirm the university’s accreditation.
At the student meeting Monday, many students shared experiences of their time at Weber.
A few key points discussed were classes and registration. Overall, students enjoyed their classes and the level on which they can connect with their teachers.
Bruce Shepard, the leader of the NWCCU accreditation team and president of Western Washington University, asked, “Do you feel the teachers really love their jobs here and are wanting to work rather than just working for the paycheck?”
The response to this question was generally a positive “Yes.”
Students felt that their teachers make them want to finish college. Even online teachers were more involved than expected.
Students said the concerns they had for Weber State were minor. Their list of recommendations included creating a more functioning parking structure, replacing desks in select buildings and making an effort to shovel the sidewalks more consistently during snow season.
Weber State Provost Michael B. Vaughan was happy with the outcome of Weber State’s evaluation.
“The fact that we received no recommendations is also a strong indication of WSU’s excellence and the dedication of the faculty and staff,” Vaughan said, adding, “I could not have hoped for more.”