by Rebecca Zisch
From October 3 5, Nevada State College hosted a site visit from a team representing the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The purpose of the visit was to follow up on NSC’s candidacy for accreditation and view first-hand how the college is progressing as a swiftly and steadily growing institution of higher learning. It consisted of two days of meetings, forums and assessment and culminated with an open meeting for faculty and staff.
According to the US Department of Education, [t]he goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality. In Nevada, colleges fall under the jurisdiction of the NWCCU and Nevada State College has been working with them as its accrediting agency since 2006.
NWCCU administers the regional accreditation process for 160 different institutions of higher learning and reviews the quality and effectiveness of those institutions through accreditation criteria and evaluation procedures that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
On October 5, the NWCCU visiting team’s findings were presented in an open meeting for faculty and staff. The presentation included some recommendations for improvement, as well as some official commendations of successes at Nevada State College.
According to Nevada State College President Fred Maryanski, the team’s findings exceeded our expectations and there were no surprises in their recommendations. It was a very accurate assessment of NSC and we’re pleased that they had so many commendations.
The NWCCU team’s commendations were for four diverse areas of the college where there has been success and significant improvement in the 18 months since the previous site visit.
First, there was commendation for the growth and evolution of the Student Experience division and its excellence in customer service.
Second, the academic schools were praised for excellence in teaching and positive teacher-student interaction.
Third, NSC was commended for its successful partnerships with other institutions in the Nevada System of Higher Education and the city of Henderson. This commendation included noting the college’s master plan and its inclusion of combined private and public space.
Finally, the team from NWCCU applauded the overall enthusiasm and spirit of the whole Nevada State College community: from the students, faculty and staff, to the Chancellor and Board of Regents.
The process for accreditation is lengthy, challenging and rewarding. Since submitting the first college-wide self-study for evaluation in February 2006, NSC’s faculty and staff have been working uninterrupted on the steps toward accreditation. April 2006 saw the first visiting evaluation team from NWCCU. Following that, on July 12, 2006, NSC’s candidacy for accreditation was officially approved by the Commission.
For the year following the approval of NSC’s accreditation candidacy, faculty and staff worked diligently on preparing the current self-study, or Interim Candidacy Report, to present to NWCCU. The demanding process of collecting data, writing and publishing the 280-page document was led by the Self Study Steering Committee co-chairs, Connie Carpenter, Dean of the School of Nursing and Rho Hudson, the Assessment and Evaluation Coordinator in the School of Education.
The results of this month’s site visit will be officially presented at a January meeting of the NWCCU. Following that, Nevada State College will undertake the next institutional self-study, focusing on development, improvement and successes. The self-study will be completed and submitted to NWCCU in preparation for the next site visit which will likely occur in April 2009.
The current Institutional Self-Study document may be viewed online in .pdf format
For more information on Nevada State College, call: 702.992.2000 or visit nsc.edu.