HENDERSON, Nev. (Aug. 14, 2011) Nevada State College has received accreditation at the baccalaureate degree level from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Successfully obtaining independent accreditation is a crowning achievement for the Nevada State College campus community and its partners, the Nevada Board of Regents and Nevada System of Higher Education, the city of Henderson, and the larger community we serve, said Nevada State College President Lesley Di Mare, Ph.D.
Since its inception in 2002, Nevada State College has been operating under the accreditation of its sister school, the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). The process for an institution to receive its initial, independent accreditation from the regional commission takes, on average, seven to ten years, and once received, it is then reaffirmed periodically.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities approved NSC as a Candidate for Accreditation in July 2006. Since July 2006, Nevada State College has filed two comprehensive self-study reports with the Commission, and has undergone three comprehensive on-site visits by the Commission. In all, over 150 highly skilled and experienced individuals associated with NWCCU have reviewed NSC’s progress towards independent accreditation.
The Nevada State College campus community could not have reached this significant milestone without the perseverance and commitment of the faculty, staff and students and our sister institution, UNR, who guided us through the accreditation process, added Di Mare.
Nevada State College’s effective date of accreditation is Sept. 1, 2010. Retroactively awarding accreditation status is a common practice of the Commission once an institution is granted initial accreditation.
The last institution within the Nevada System of Higher Education to have been granted initial accreditation by NWCCU was Truckee Meadows Community College in 1980, roughly 30 years ago (UNR, 1938; UNLV, 1964; GBC, 1974; CSN, 1975; WNC, 1975). During this 30-year period, NSHE enrollments have nearly doubled, growing from 61,500 (headcount) in 1980 to 115,000 (headcount) in 2010.
After concluding its most recent visit in April 2011, the Commission, as part of its report, provided Nevada State College with six commendations (listed below).
1. The Administration, faculty and staff of Nevada State College are commended for their exceptional vision, focus and collaboration in providing quality teaching, scholarship and services that promote high levels of student learning,
2. The broad Nevada State College community, including campus constituencies and local and state business and educational leaders are commended for their deep commitment to Nevada State College and its mission.
3. Nevada State College is commended for its efficient and effective delivery of quality educational programs in the face of frequent administrative changes, constrained physical facilities, and declining budgets.
4. Nevada State College is commended for its commitment to integrated assessment of personnel, courses and programs that has led to data-driven improvements in programs, courses and services.
5. Nevada State College is commended for its effective recruitment, selection and in-service training of full and part-time faculty members.
6. Nevada State College is commended for the innovative and functional design of the Liberal Arts and Sciences Building. During fiscally restrained times, the institution has created innovative and effective instructional space, including a series of connected laboratories with state-of-the-art equipment, and a finance room that will serve the students and the community for many years to come.
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. It fulfills its mission by establishing accreditation criteria and evaluation procedures by which institutions are reviewed.
The Commission oversees regional accreditation for over 160 institutions. Its decision-making body consists of up to 26 commissioners who represent the public and the diversity of higher education institutions within the Northwest region. The commission applies the same degree of oversight and rigor to large, established research institutions within its jurisdiction such as the University of Utah and the University of Washington as it does to new institutions like Nevada State College.
Regional accreditation recognizes higher education institutions for performance, integrity, and quality to merit the confidence of the educational community and the public. Accreditation or pre-accreditation by a postsecondary regional accrediting agency qualifies institutions and enrolled students for access to federal funds to support teaching, research, and student financial aid.
In addition, the Commission’s accreditation process provides benchmarks and tracks institutional progress in a number of areas including: assessment of student learning, assessment of faculty teaching and scholarship, financial management and campus resource planning, institutional effectiveness and efficiency, budgeting, and student retention and graduation.