IN 2009, SFU applied for formal accreditation in the United States through through the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). The NWCCU is one of six regional bodies in the U.S. which is authorized by that country’s Department of Education to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of post-secondary institutions and their programs.
SFU notes that Canada does not have similar accrediting bodies, and that it believes there are number of arguments in favour of accreditation. Full details are available on the VP Academic’s Accreditation webpage, but stated potential benefits include:
- Regular external assessment of SFU’s standards
- increased accountability to stakeholders
- clearer benchmarks for assessing learning outcomes
- public confidence in SFU, its mission and goals
SFU’s application has been advanced to candidacy, meaning that it has been recognized as having fulfilled the initial requirements for consideration and will now advance through a lengthy process toward formal acceptance.
SFUFA members have raised a number of concerns about accreditation, suggesting its benefits are marginal for its cost, and its negative implications potentially significant. Most notably, it has been associated with the Learning Outcomes and Assessment Initiative (LOA) which has generated substantial opposition from faculty members.
The following pages provide background and additional resources for members seeking to better understand the debate surrounding the university’s bid for NWCCU accreditation.