Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President officially announced the WSCUC accreditation during the official opening of USP Open Day 2018.
The University of the South Pacific (USP) is pleased to announce that it has received Initial Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), United States for a term of six (6) years. This accreditation is without conditions, and WSCUC only approved Initial Accreditation, which may be followed by re-affirmation after 6 years, believing institutions need to be, as USP was judged, in a cycle of continuous improvement and committed to quality across the institution.
This means that the institutional quality of the University is now accepted as similar to that of accredited universities in the United States.
WSCUC is a regional accrediting agency, established for the purposes of accrediting senior colleges and universities throughout California, Hawaii, and the Pacific and a limited number of international institutions.
WSCUC is recognised by the United States Department of Education (USDE) and by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) as a reliable authority concerning the quality of education provided by member institutions of higher education offering the associate degree, baccalaureate degree and post-baccalaureate degrees.
The accreditation was formally communicated to Professor Rajesh Chandra, Vice-Chancellor and President of USP by Ms Jamienne Studley, President of WSCUC on July 20, 2018.
Ms Studley informed the University that by taking this action to grant accreditation, the Commission confirms that USP has addressed the three (3) Core Commitments and has successfully completed the institutional review process for Initial Accreditation conducted under the 2013 Standards of Accreditation.
Professor Chandra stated that this is perhaps the most consequential accreditation for the University and it puts USP up among those American institutions that have been rigorously assessed as meeting stringent American standards.
“This accreditation further differentiates our premier status in the Pacific, and establishes much more strongly our credentials internationally,” Professor Chandra commented.
Looking back at the initiation of this accreditation, he shared that the six-year old journey had been a long one, which initially started with a conference/workshop attended by Dr Irene Taafaki, USPs Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) Campus Director, and her subsequent request to the University to explore this accreditation which was reinforced by formal requests from the RMI Government.
Professor Chandra expressed his appreciation to those behind the accreditation process, namely Professor Richard Coll, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Learning, Teaching and Student Services who is also the Accreditation Liaison Officer and his team of Dorothy Spiller and Sujlesh Sharma, supported by the Senior Management Team, Deans, Associate Deans, working group members and all staff and students.
“This has truly been an institutional effort and the whole institution can congratulate itself for a job very well done,” a very pleased Professor Chandra stated.
WSCUC has commended USP in particular for the following:
A mission that contributes to the public good through a vision of achieving excellence and innovation for sustainable development of the Pacific Islands;
Strategic planning processes that are comprehensive, inclusive of key stakeholders and forward-looking;
Awareness of the member countries’ vulnerability to the impacts of climate change that have resulted in academic programs and research activities in climate change and sustainable development;
A sustainable financial position with reliable diversified revenue sources, and alignment of financial planning and the strategic plan.
A commitment to continuous quality improvement with regard to curricular development;
A commitment to the use of standardised course outline templates and common assignments, along with the centralised process of exam moderation and engagement in assessment tasks, aimed toward a consistent student learning experience;
The Planning and Quality Office, which exemplifies an organisational commitment to quality assurance, and formalises planning processes across constituencies, resulting in documents such as the Planning and Quality Assurance Framework and University Quality Policy; and
The Disability Resource Centre that provides support and accommodations, and fosters a strong community, continuing to expand accessibility for students with disabilities throughout the region.
To find more about USP’s WSCUC journey visit the University website at https://www.usp.ac.fj/wscuc
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