Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

NWCCU Accreditation

TRU is seeking institutional accreditation with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), based in Washington state.

NWCCU was established in 1952 and is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the United States Department of Education as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions within the Northwest United States.

The NWCCU is one of six regional organizations which service the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, in addition to the province of British Columbia, Canada. It fulfills its mission by establishing accreditation criteria and evaluation procedures by which institutions are reviewed.

The Commission oversees regional accreditation for 162 institutions. Its decision-making body consists of up to 26 Commissioners who represent the public and the diversity of higher education institutions within the Northwest region.

Institutional accreditation provides a framework for ongoing evaluation and self-analysis that ensures that the policies, procedures and practices of an institution are consistent with its claims and with accepted standards of quality. It serves as an important means of assuring the quality of higher education through rigorous peer-review and evaluation.

Accreditation will enhance the value of a TRU degree for all students and will provide a distinct advantage for attracting new students both within and outside Canada.


Candidacy for Accreditation is a status of affiliation with the Commission which indicates that the institution has achieved initial recognition and is progressing toward accreditation. Candidacy is not accreditation nor does it assure eventual accreditation. Inquiries regarding the status of an institution affiliated with the NWCCU should be directed to the administrative staff of the institution. Individuals may also contact:

Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
8060 165th Avenue, N.E., Suite 100
Redmond, WA 98052
(425) 558-4224
www.nwccu.org
 

The NWCCU is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to educational excellence and improvement through peer evaluation and accreditation. It is one of six regional organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, to provide quality assurance and evaluate institutional effectiveness. Institutional accreditation is essential for assuring the quality of higher education through rigorous peer review and evaluation.


FAQ

What are the benefits of pursuing institutional accreditation with the NWCCU?

Following is a list of benefits associated with accreditation:

  • The pursuit of institutional accreditation will reinforce for TRU students and their families - past, present and future - that a TRU education is a high-quality education, based on objective, comprehensive and internationally recognized criteria
  • The accreditation process will allow TRU to receive an independent assessment of the institution as a whole, not just individual programs, disciplines or departments.
  • Regular external assessment of TRU's adherence to best-practice standards will increase our accountability to stakeholders, and will help foster public confidence in TRU's ability to fulfill its stated mission and strategic priorities.
  • Accreditation will help establish clearer benchmarks/standards for assessing learning outcomes and thus benefit students’ learning experiences.
  • Accreditation will make it easier for TRU to share best practices with other institutions worldwide.
  • Accreditation will enhance the value of a TRU degree for alumni abroad, and for international students returning home. Having a credential from an accredited institution makes it easier for students to transfer credits and have credentials recognized worldwide.
  • Reassurance that TRU meets high standards, has applicable policies and procedures, and is committed to achieving our mission.
  • Raises the profile of TRU, which may increase opportunities for our faculty members and students.
  • Enhances TRU’s ability to recruit high quality faculty members.
How did TRU decide to seek accreditation with the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)?

In 2009, TRU began exploring the benefits of institutional (university-wide) accreditation in light of the province wide interest in quality assurance for higher education institutions. In 2010, TRU prepared two reports on accreditation, including a Feasibility Study for US Accreditation. In December 2011, in the Senate Report to the Board of Governors, the Office of the Provost & Vice-President Academic presented the timeline and budget for US Accreditation. In the US, there are six regional organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education, and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, to provide quality assurance and evaluate institutional effectiveness, of which the NWCCU is one. There is no equivalent body in Canada. In December 2012, a Comparative Analysis reviewing the different accreditation agency options was conducted, and the NWCCU was recommended as the most appropriate choice for TRU’s unique history and values.

Are there any other institutes that are seeking accreditation with another body?

In Canada, to the best of our knowledge, there are only four post-secondary institutions who have sought this type of institutional accreditation – SFU, Capilano and TRU, all through the NWCCU, and Athabasca University through the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Are all institutes measured against the same criteria?

Yes, all institutions are measured against the same Standards for accreditation (www.nwccu.org)

What is the difference between institutional accreditation and specialized/programmatic accreditation?

Institutional accreditation is concerned with evaluating the institution as a whole and does not seek to deal with any particular program in great detail, although programs are reviewed as a part of the consideration of the entire institution. Specialized accrediting bodies, on the other hand, focus on specific programs to ensure that the details of that particular program meet the external accreditation standards.

How will programs already obligated to external accrediting bodies (e.g. Nursing) align with the standards of the NWCCU?

NWCCU accredited institutions are expected to remain in good standing with other specialized accrediting bodies that have granted accreditation status to a program. The accreditation given by the NWCCU is an institutional level accreditation, and does not speak to specific program accreditation.

What does the accreditation process look like?

Both institutional and specialized bodies conduct the accreditation process using a common pattern. The pattern requires an integral self-study of the institution or program, followed by an on-site visit by an evaluation committee, and a subsequent review and decision by a central governing group. Within this general pattern the various accrediting bodies have developed a variety of individual procedures adapted to their own circumstances. Increasingly, attention has been given to educational outcomes as a basis for evaluation.


Timeline

The full accreditation process, which is based on a series of institutional self-assessments and NWCCU member peer reviews, will take between six and eight years to complete. With our status of candidacy, TRU is required to submit our next Interim Candidacy Report and host a site visit in the spring of 2019. TRU will be eligible to apply for full accreditation status within three years’ time.

April 1-3, 2019

Jan. 31, 2018

Jan. 11, 2018

Oct. 10-12, 2017

July 3, 2017

June 19, 2017

June 22, 2016

June 22, 2016

April 25-27, 2016

Feb. 12, 2016

Dec. 4, 2015

Sept. 28, 2015

February 2014

NWCCU evaluation team will perform a comprehensive accreditation onsite evaluation at TRU.

TRU approved for continued status as Candidates for Accreditation at the associate, baccalaureate, and master's degree levels by the NWCCU.

TRU's application for candidacy — including the Interim Candidacy Report, Evaluation Committee Report, and TRU's response — reviewed by the NWCCU during the Board Commission meeting.

NWCCU evaluation team performed a comprehensive accreditation onsite evaluation at TRU.

Board of Governors Executive approves ICR.

Senate approves Interim Candidacy Report (ICR).

TRU approved as a Candidate for Accreditation at the associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree levels by the NWCCU.

TRU's application for candidacy — including the Evaluation Committee Report, SER, and TRU's response — reviewed by the NWCCU during its June 21-23 meeting.

NWCCU evaluation team performed a comprehensive accreditation onsite evaluation at TRU.

TRU submits SER to NWCCU.

Board of Governors approves SER.

Senate endorses Self Evaluation Report (SER).

TRU receives NWCCU Applicantstatus at the associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree levels by the NWCCU.

Search To Top