Accreditation FAQs

Why do we do accreditation?

Accreditation supports institutional improvement and assessment of the quality of our programs and services for our community. In addition, as summarized by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU, our accrediting body), there are important regulatory reasons to participate in the accreditation process: “Accreditation or pre-accreditation by a post-secondary regional accrediting agency qualifies institutions and enrolled students for access to federal funds to support teaching, research, and student financial aid.”

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What are the Accreditation Standards?

The NWCCU accreditation standards can be found here. There are five standards and together they form a seven-year accreditation cycle. From the NWCCU website’s introduction (

Regional accreditation is a process of recognizing educational institutions for performance, integrity, and quality that entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public.

Design and Function

While accreditation criteria and procedures of regional accrediting agencies differ from region to region, the principles underlying eligibility and levels of expectation are similar in their intent to:
foster excellence through the development of criteria and guidelines for assessing educational quality and institutional effectiveness;
encourage institutional improvement through continuous self-study and evaluation;
ensure the educational community, the general public, and other organizations that an institution has clearly defined and appropriate educational objectives, has established conditions under which their achievement can reasonably be expected, appears in fact to be substantially accomplishing them, and is so organized, staffed, and supported that it can be expected to continue to do so; and
provide counsel and assistance to established and developing institutions.
When granted, accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not partial. It applies to the entire institution in operation at the time of the most recent comprehensive evaluation. It indicates that the institution as a whole is substantially achieving its mission and that it meets the Commission's expectations for compliance with the accreditation criteria.

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How can I be involved?

The Accreditation committee's purpose is to oversee the efforts of accomplishing the recommendations and warnings of the Commission.

If you feel you would like to provide ongoing input regarding a service area or population that makes up part of the UCC community, please contact any of the Accrediation committee members to give feedback.

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When are UCC’s reports due?

Report Due Activity
Year One Ad-Hoc report due October 2016 Report submitted October 31, 2016

Year One

Year One

Report due March 1, 2017

Visit April 1, 2017



Year Seven  March 30, 31 and April 1, 2016 Visit & Report

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What does the Year One report include?

The Year One report includes a full description of Standard One, which covers UCC’s Mission, Core Themes, and Expectations.

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What does the Year Three report include?

The Year Three report includes a full description of Standard Two, which covers UCC’s Resources and Capacity for mission fulfillment.

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What does the Year Seven report include?

The Year Seven report includes a full description of Standard One, Standard Two and Standard Three, which covers Planning and Implementation, Standard Four, which covers Effectiveness and Improvement, and Standard Five, which covers Mission Fulfillment, Adaptation and Sustainability.

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Who is on the UCC Accreditation Committee?

Administrators: Jason Aase, Martha Joyce, Carol McGeehon, Jessica Richardson, Jules DeGiulio

Faculty: Debi Gresham

Classified: Steve Rogers, Joy Yori, Kelley Plueard, Tony Molitor

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Standard One

What is included in Standard One?

Standard One includes the Mission, Core Themes, and Expectations of the college. 

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What are Core Themes, Objectives, Mission Fulfillment and Indicators of Achievement?

Core Themes are essential aspects of the college’s mission. The Core Themes are how we operationalize our mission and demonstrate our institutional values.

Objectives are the more specific elements of how we identify success in fulfilling our Core Themes purpose. For example, if a Core Theme is Transfer Education, than one of several Objectives we have might be that we want our students to have a high level of degree completion.

Indicators of Achievement are the data for each Outcome.

Mission Fulfillment is the comprehensive measure of success across multiple Objectives for each Core Theme and is the final “goal” for achievement of that theme.

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What are the Core Themes at UCC?

Core Theme 1: Learning

Core Theme 2: Access

Core Theme 3: Enrichment 

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How do Objectives and Indicators of Achievement fit into the Core Themes?

According to NWCCU standard 1.B.2, each institution is asked to “establish objectives for each of its core themes and identify meaningful, assessable, and verifiable indicators of achievement that form the basis for evaluating accomplishment of the objectives of its core themes.”

In other words, we are asked to “show our work” on each theme –

  • What standard of achievement do we expect to see that shows the importance of the theme at UCC? (What are our Objectives?)
  • What level of achievement of the standard do we expect to see to indicate success? (What are our hoped for Outcomes?)
  • How do we measure the level of achievement currently happening with the data we have? (What are Indicators of Achievement for each standard?)
Core Theme 1 Objective 1.a Outcome measure 1.a Indicator of Achievement (data)
  Objective 1.b Outcome measure 1.b Indicator of Achievement (data)

Example Objectives & Indicators Grid

Each Core Theme can have more than one Objective and each Objective can have one or multiple Indicators.

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Standard Two

What is included in Standard Two?

Standard Two includes evaluation of the resources and capacity of the college.

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Standard Three

What is included in Standard Three?

Standard Three includes evaluation of how the institution engages in ongoing planning and implementation of changes From NWCCU:

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Standard Four

What is included in Standard Four?

Standard Four includes evaluation of how the institution regularly evaluates effectiveness and uses evaluation to improve outcomes. 

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Standard Five

What is included in Standard Five?

Standard Five includes evaluation of the extent to which the institution is fulfilling it's mission.

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Who can I contact if I have more questions or comments?

Please feel free to contact any of the Accreditation Committee members and we’ll do our best to answer your questions. We also welcome comments and suggestions!