By Bria Overs
In a process that began three years ago, California State University, Dominguez Hills was officially reaccredited in August by the Western Association of Colleges under the Senior College and University Commission team.
According to CSUDH’s 2017 Institutional Report, CSUDH received its first two-year accreditation in 1964 and became fully accredited in 1968. The last accreditation review was in 2008, when an Educational Effectiveness Review was conducted, renewing the university’s accreditation for 10 more years.
Accreditation isn’t just a word that looks good. It means recertification of CSUDH’s eligibility for federal financial aid and funding, as well as ensuring that any credits and degrees students earn can be transferred to other universities, used as admission for graduate programs and recognized by potential employers, according to a post written on Blackboard back in February.
The accreditation process is done every six years and is used to “monitor student learning and set school improvement goals,” according to the WASC website. The process requires both two- and four-year institutions located in the western region to complete a self-study and self-study visit. Currently, all 23 California State Universities are accredited by WASC.
“Cosmetically, it’s good to be at a university that’s accredited,” said Ken O’Donnell, CSUDH’s accreditation liaison officer. “[But], it’s a difficult and challenging process to go through.”
According to O’Donnell, the preparation for accreditation works in phases. Phase one took about two years. It consisted of looking at standards and setting up committees. Phase two took place around July 2017 and included drafting and assembling necessary documents. As a bonus for the university, the website received an update as well.
During that phase, O’Donnell mentioned the importance of the work by full-time faculty members on the committees.
“It was also the full-time faculty participation,” O’Donnell said. “The people who were drafting it were on the committee and teaching at the same time.”
The third phase, which took place in February, included a visit to CSUDH by a group from other universities and some from WSCUC in order to evaluate the campus. After the visit, a confidential recommendation was made from that group that factored into whether WSUC would grant accreditation.
In the end, though, CSUDH received its accreditation giving it 10 more years before the process starts all over again.
“It’s a big deal to come out of a university that is top rate,” O’Donnell said.