SMU Receives Maximum Accreditation from WSCUC

By SMU News Staff

Samuel Merritt University has received the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) accreditation for a period of 10 years, the longest time period possible for such accreditation.

“This is a tremendous achievement and validation of the stellar commitment of so many people who continually work, often behind the scenes, in support of the success of our students,” wrote SMU President Dr. Ching-Hua Wang in an email announcing the accreditation to the SMU community.

In her letter, WSCUC President Jamienne S. Studley noted: “The Commission commends SMU in particular for the following:”

  • Using the TPR (Thematic Pathway for Reaffirmation) to establish a model for authentic and collaborative processes designed to improve student success and institutional learning
  • Initiating changes in structures and leadership to promote a culture of shared governance
  • Recruiting and supporting a diverse student population and taking initial steps toward diversifying the senior leadership and Board of Regents
  • Responding to the rapidly changing ecology of healthcare, including strategies to address health care disparities
  • Creating a model Interprofessional Education Program and serving as a hub for regional collaboration
  • Infusing faculty and staff development throughout the University, through the work of the Center for Innovation and Excellence in Learning and the Office of Academic Instruction and Innovation
  • Improving the relationship with Sutter Health

TPR is an alternative accreditation renewal pathway designed for institutions that demonstrate consistent evidence of healthy fiscal condition, strong student achievement indicators, and sustained quality performance. This new path is as rigorous as the regular institutional review with a special timeline during which institutions can focus on self-selected themes that advance their mission, coordinate with their strategic planning, and promote institutional improvement, according to WSCUC.

“We are excited to receive the news that our regional accrediting body has awarded Samuel Merritt University the longest possible reaffirmation,” said Provost Fred Baldini. “This outstanding result was due to the efforts of so many here at SMU and it confirms that we are meeting WSCUC’s high standards of quality and effectiveness. What makes this even more significant, in my view, is that with the focus of the accreditation report on our unique framework of student success, the WSCUC Commission recognizes Samuel Merritt University as an institution that places the success of our students at the forefront of everything we do. I want to thank the entire campus community for contributions to this process and for their dedication to our students.”

Board of Regents Chairman Jonathan Brown said, “The recent action by WSCUC, offering the University a full 10-year accreditation, is a strong confirmation of the fine work by faculty and staff, which continues to move SMU forward. The Board of Regents is enormously appreciative of the extraordinary efforts made by faculty and staff to meet student needs and at the same time to reorganize so that we could respond during the most recent WSCUC visit. Congratulations.”

In acknowledging receipt of the WSCUC notification, President Wang wrote to WSCUC President Studley, “I write to acknowledge and celebrate receipt of the Commission Action Letter renewing our regional accreditation for the period of ten years.  We anticipate having exciting updates to share as we enact our comprehensive plans for student success under the Thematic Pathway option, implement the newly approved Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan, build cross-functional structures and processes to facilitate effective policy and practice, and institute a centralized evaluation structure.”

“I wish to extend my sincerest gratitude to all students, faculty, and staff who worked in advance of the WSCUC virtual visit in October 2020,” President Wang said. “There were dozens of faculty and staff who served on the TPR sub-theme workgroups, the TPR report preparation team, the planning and logistics of the October visit group, and the WSCUC Steering Committee, all who laid the groundwork in advance of the October visit to demonstrate to WSCUC that our approach to educating our students is not only valid but exceptional. My many thanks, also, to our Board of Regents for their steadfast support of this accreditation process and the University.”

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