Charting Our Campus Future

Charting Our Campus Future: WASC Notes

Issue # 3.2 • Spring 2009 | California State University, Fullerton

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WASC Task Force Appreciation and Update Event Held on May 8

Some 80 members of various task forces consisting of students, faculty, staff, and administrators gathered in the TSU on May 8 to share their accomplishments of the past two years. Chairs of a dozen groups provided concise descriptions of their charges and the outcomes of their work. (See the recap on pages 2 and 3.) Overall, they have made significant progress and will provide detailed summaries of their work by semester’s end. Those reports will form the basis of a longer document and extensive appendices that constitute the Capacity and Preparatory Review Report (C & PR). The three major themes for our campus review are campus-wide planning, student learning and assessment (which includes student writing), and student engagement. A special thank you goes out to the faculty and staff who have provided leadership to each of the task forces. Their names are indicated on the following pages.

The Steering Committee believes that the efforts of so many professionally-minded members of our campus community speak volumes about the ability of Cal State Fullerton to carry out its mission even in times of economic distress. The Committee is unanimous in thanking each and every one of its task force members for their dedicated service. See the complete list in Newsletter 3.1 at (

Our Special Thanks

Because the WASC reaccreditation process takes place across several years, the Steering Committee membership naturally changes as participants take on other roles. The Committee has been fortunate to have the outstanding service of two colleagues who will assume other responsibilities in the fall. Sheryl Fontaine, who will become chair of the English Department, and Paul Levesque, Comparative Religion, who is taking on additional teaching responsibilities, have provided invaluable leadership to the Committee. Sheryl was the primary author of the initial WASC Institutional Proposal and Paul was particularly adept at keeping the members informed about the seemingly ever-changing WASC requirements. Joining the Committee are Melinda Blackman, Psychology, and Michael Loverude, Physics. We welcome them both.

Task Force Reports

As noted on the front page, members of the dozen task forces gathered on May 8 at the TSU to share with one another and the campus at large the progress made toward their respective charges. Below is a synopsis of that day’s reports.

Campus-Wide Planning 1 Charge Mike Parker, Reporting

  • To develop an institutionalized process to identify and prioritize indicators of quality within the context of enrollment-driven funding, via Workshops and Annual Reports
  • CWP 1 Progress
  • Reviewed role of indicators of quality in the context of strategic planning
  • Brainstormed potential indicators of quality aligned to each of the university’s eight strategic goals
  • Forwarded indicators to CWP-3 for further refinement and prioritization

Campus-Wide Planning 2 Charge Mark Filowitz and Marci Payne, Co-Chairs

  • To discuss human resource management and the necessary level and type of staffing needed to provide high quality educational experiences for our students
  • CWP 2 Progress
  • Gathered and explored data from a variety of campus and CSU sources.
  • Began the process of examining campus staffing levels, responsibilities, and potential efficiencies focusing primarily on issues related to staff and managers.
  • Determined five questions to investigate

Campus-Wide Planning 3 Charge Mike Parker, Reporting

  • To conduct a fit-gap analysis of all current planning processes, developing a concept map of the processes and determining how they contribute to the University strategic
  • CWP 3 Progress
  • Developing a concept map of all planning processes and how they contribute to the university strategic plan
  • Creating a document on General Planning Issues
  • Refining and prioritizing the indicators of quality developed by CWP Task Force 1

Student Engagement 1 Charge Deanna Merino and Laura Chandler, Co-Chairs

  • To review advisement practices and undergo a fit-gap analysis. To assess the student, faculty and staff experiences regarding academic advisement via a fit-gap analysis of advising practices across campus
  • Student Engagement 1 Progress
  • A gap in advisement has been identified between entry and graduation
  • A recurring recommendation: integrate academic advising into the major introduction courses
  • A student survey was sent to all matriculated undergraduate students to assess their experience and perspectives of advising practices across the campus
  • Documented ideas for improvements and common threads of concern

Student Engagement 2 Charge Maruth Figueroa, Chair

  • To establish and support an all-university community of advisors and implement a professional development system for them
  • Student Engagement 2 Progress
  • Reviewed existing advising professional development models, survey results, new tools from across campus, and generated a list of answers that would answer the question, “What does an advisor need to know?”
  • Began to form recommendations:
    • Establish an on-going committee for professional development and training to support the Academic Advising in Excellence Certificate Online Community developed by the Academic Advising Center
    • Provide resources and support to the Academic Advising Center to centralize advising for general education and major

Student Engagement 3 Charge Aimee Nelson, Chair

  • Review and implement the use of Titan Degree Audits as a tool for facilitation of graduation
  • Review and implement the use of Titan Degree Audits as a tool for facilitation of graduation

Student Learning and Assessment 1 & 2 Charge Anne Houtman, Chair

  • To develop a central data base designating student learning outcomes; develop an infrastructure framework to support and coordinate the work of individual units in assessment and improvement of student learning outcomes
  • To identify and prioritize indicators of academic and co-curricular quality and an institutional process to link all resources.
  • SLA 1 & 2 Progress
  • Alignment of Student Learning Outcomes with University Mission and Goals
  • Review of Indicators of Quality for academic AND co-curricular programs
  • Develop methodology for aiding departments and programs as they develop assessment strategies

Writing 1 & 2 Charge Stephen Westbrook, Chair

  • Develop a process involving students and faculty to identify shared views of effective writing within and across disciplines and develop a set of descriptive rubrics
  • Writing 1 & 2 Progress
  • Attempted to determine shared views of effective writing within and across disciplines by inviting departments and programs from each college to provide writing assignments, rubrics, and related materials
  • Synthesized this data to develop a set of campus-wide student learning goals, outcomes, and descriptive rubrics
  • Now developing two email surveys to determine the extent to which these goals, outcomes, and rubrics meet the expectations of faculty and students across campus
  • Student Engagement 3 Progress
  • Experienced “growing pains” with the TDA, but that is to be expected
  • Documented ideas for improvements and common threads of concern with Task Force SE-1 and SE-2.
  • Final meeting in spring 2009 -- open to all advisors across campus

Student Engagement 4 Charge

Ed Sullivan, Chair
  • Assess the extent and ways of CSUF student engagement via survey in coordination with our membership in the Voluntary System of Accountability (VSA)
  • Student Engagement 4 Progress
  • Determined that the most appropriate student survey for the CSUF campus was the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE)
  • Collected data from freshmen and seniors in February 2009; will continue to collect data through May 2009
  • Response rate has been solid, with more than 37% of respondents completing survey

Student Engagement 5 Charge Gerald Bryant and Irene Matz, Co-Chairs

  • Provide more accessible information about student-faculty research, creative activity and collaborative scholarship by expanding the annual compendium of faculty research to include and profile student-faculty research projects and other collaborative work
  • Student Engagement 5 Progress
  • Reviewed existing processes
    • Student faculty research, scholarly and creative activities collaboration
  • Compiled best practice examples at CSUF and other campuses
    • Undergraduate and graduate collaboration
  • Proposed methods to provide accessible information
    • Grant proposal routing form
    • Annual Reports
    • Data Bases

Now What?

The Next Step in the Reaccreditation Process is the Preparation and Campus Review Report

As the reports from the dozen or so task forces are submitted, a subcommittee of the WASC Steering Committee will commence its efforts to produce a very detailed document, the Capacity and Preparatory Review Report, to provide the basis of a review by a visiting team of WASC representatives scheduled for March 10-12, 2010.

That group of writers includes Sheryl Fontaine, English; Diana Guerin, Child and Adolescent Studies; Chris Renne, Elementary and Bilingual Education and Director of the Center for Careers in Teaching; and possibly Paul Levesque, Comparative Religion. According to WASC, the written review and on-site visit help determine whether an “institution functions with clear purposes, high levels of institutional integrity, fiscal stability, and organizational structures and processes to fulfill its purposes.” The purposes of the C & PR are to:

  1. Review and verify the information provided in the report and accompanying series of exhibits to include financial, student enrollment and other relevant data to assure the data fairly and accurately portray the state of the institution at the time of review.
  2. Evaluate key institutional resources, structures, and processes to assure that the institution operates at or above threshold levels acceptable for accreditation.
  3. Evaluate the institution’s infrastructure to support educational effectiveness, especially in regard to retention and graduation, the assessment of student learning, and program review as well as organizational learning and use of evidence.
  4. Assess the institution’s preparedness to undertake the final step, called the Educational Effectiveness Review, and assist the institution in refining its focus and plan for that review.

The report produced by the subcommittee is due to the WASC offices in early December. Our goal is to have a first draft available for campus comment and review by early in the fall semester. The Steering Committee must have a complete report and set of appendices ready to submit by the early December deadline.

Down the road will come the third step in the WASC process, the Educational Effectiveness Review. Again, a report will be developed partly based on the outcome of the C & PR visit. That report will provide the basis for another visit, scheduled for October 12-14, 2011, that will culminate, hopefully, in a recommendation for reaffirmation of our existing accreditation.

Calendar of Events

Summer, 2009
Subcommittee writes first draft of Capacity and Preparatory Review Report. Early September, 2009 Capacity and Preparatory Review Report draft begins campus review.

Early December, 2009
Capacity and Preparatory Review Report submitted to WASC.

March 10-12, 2010
WASC Team Campus Visitation and Capacity and Preparatory Review Spring, 2010 Steering Committee resumes preparation of Educational Effectiveness Review Report.

October 12-14, 2011
WASC Team Campus Visitation and Educational Effectiveness Review