Accreditation is a voluntary system of self-regulation, carried out by peer-review, in which an institution or program is assessed against a set of standards. The spirit of accreditation is the principle of continuous assessment and improvement.
OSU is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The NWCCU self-assessment process requires institutions to develop a comprehensive self-evaluation report and host a site visit by peer evaluators. NWCCU is one of seven institutional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
OSU’s Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) is Alix Gitelman, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Senior Vice Provost. Susan Capalbo, Professor in Applied Economics, is an NWCCU Commissioner.
Institutional accreditation is important for a number of reasons:
- It qualifies OSU and enrolled students for access to federal and state funds to support financial aid, teaching, research and service;
- It facilitates transfer of credits between OSU and other accredited institutions;
- Allows OSU to maintain compliance with federal and state rules and policies;
- It provides an opportunity for self-reflection and continuous improvement; and
- It communicates the quality of OSU’s degrees.
OSU has been continuously accredited since 1924 and was last accredited by the NWCCU in July, 2019. Click here for the formal NWCCU Notification Letter.
The NWCCU Standards for Accreditation collectively define the criteria against which institutions are evaluated for quality and effectiveness expected of accredited institutions. The 2020 Standards for Accreditation are:
Standard One: Student Success and Institutional Mission and Effectiveness
Standard Two: Governance, Resources, and Capacity.
Throughout the seven-year assessment cycle, every institution is reviewed by NWCCU staff, peer evaluators, and the Board of Commissioners. Important points during the cycle include:
Annual reports to the NWCCU
Year Three, Mid-Cycle Self-Evaluation Report*
Year Six, Policies, Regulations, and Financial Review (PRFR)
Year Seven, Evaluation of Institutional Effectiveness (EIE)*
*Includes a visit by a team of NWCCU evaluators.
OSU’s most recent seven year site visit was Monday, April 15 – Wednesday, April 17, 2019. The Evaluation Committee met with members of OSU’s board of trustees, university leadership, faculty, classified staff, and students during individual meetings and in Open Forums.
OSU’s most recent mid-cycle site visit was Monday, April 25 – Tuesday, April 26, 2022. The Evaluation Committee met with university leadership, faculty, assessment staff, and students during individual meetings. The mid-cycle visit was conducted virtually.