Preparing the Seeking Accreditation Visit (SAV) Institutional Report
The preparation for WSCUC accreditation and the write up of the Institutional Report was overseen by the USP WSCUC Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO), the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Learning, Teaching & Student Services, DVC LTSS), Professor Richard K. Coll.
After the submission of the Eligibility Application in June, 2015, a series of workshops was undertaken to promote awareness of the forthcoming accreditation process, especially with leaders of academic and non-academic sections at the Laucala Campus. The next step was the establishment of WSCUC Working Groups for each standard of accreditation. These Working Groups comprised members from different sections and campuses of the University depending on the focus of each standard and participants’ expertise. The Working Groups ensured engagement with a broad representation of the University academic staff/faculty and non-academic staff. The ALO and WSCUC Accreditation Project Coordinator (APC), Ms. Sujlesh Sharma, conducted awareness workshops at all USP regional campuses, except for two of the smaller campuses, Niue and Tokelau (4 EFTS & 59 EFTS, respectively in 2016). During the workshops, the ALO and APC acquainted staff, students, members of the Regional Campus Advisory Committees and other stakeholders with an overview of WSCUC accreditation, and the reasons the University was seeking WSCUC accreditation. The workshops also provided opportunity for regional campuses to identify issues that needed to be addressed in order for the University to be prepared for seeking accreditation. Additionally, the workshops sought to ensure that the Institutional Report accurately reflected the status of the regional campuses.
The ALO and the APC conducted regular meetings with each Working Group. At the outset, the Working Groups carried out a preliminary gap analysis using the Review under the WSCUC Standards and Compliance with Federal Requirements Worksheet. This high-level gap analysis facilitated an understanding of USPs status, its strengths, issues and areas needing further development in relation to each Standard and CFR. In conjunction with this, the Working Groups engaged with each CFR and reached a common understanding of the CFR, identified potential supporting evidence, agreed on the current status of the University with respect to each CFR, and identified action needed to address issues any areas needing further development under each CFR.
The WSCUC Vice-President, Dr. Maureen Maloney, visited the University from 11 to 14 October, 2016, and Professor Keith Roberts, a Fulbright Specialist, visited the University from 21 March to 29 April, 2017. Reports from the Working Groups, visits to regional campuses, and the visits from Dr. Maloney and Professor Roberts were used to inform the WSCUC Steering Committee (University Senior Management Team, SMT,) of the University’s readiness for seeking accreditation, and provide an action plan to address any issues identified, as well as inform the preparation of the Institutional Report. Progress was also regularly reported to the WSCUC Steering Committee, USP Committees such as Teaching Quality Committee (TQC), and the University Senate and Council, which ensured that a wide USP community was kept informed of the developments. These bodies and committees were also used as vehicles to expedite the addressing of identified issues and challenges. Staff members across the campuses were kept informed of the progress and alerted to their respective responsibilities through update meetings conducted by the ALO in Faculties/Colleges, and sections and in relevant contexts such as the Regional Campus Directors Forum and Student Council Meetings.
In November, 2017, the University conducted a Mock Seeking Accreditation Visit (SAV) in order to refine and enhance preparations for the SAV1.
All the above processes informed the preparation and write-up of the Institutional Report, which was submitted to WSCUC on 26 January, 2018.