LLU earns praise and re-accreditation from WASC Commission
By Dustin R. Jones, MA
The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) has reaffirmed Loma Linda University's accreditation across all eight schools for the maximum period of time—10 years.
The accreditation team was on campus October 27-29, 2010. Their report verifies LLU's commitment to value-added, mission-focused learning.
"This finding couldn't be better," says Ron Carter, PhD, provost of Loma Linda University. "The intentional focus was science embedded in a faith community. There were many team members who were unaware of the depth and breadth of LLU's reach into the local and global community."
The institutional proposal from LLU outlined three themes and related outcomes for the comprehensive review: faith and normative culture; mission-focused learning; and strengthening a culture of evidence. The WASC team affirmed that these selected themes "resulted in serious and beneficial engagement across the institution" during the phases of the review process.
Mission-focused learning has become an important theme on campus, as it underscores the university's commitment to providing an approach to higher education that blends the professional with the personal, helping graduates to approach their health care profession not as a mere job, but as a calling to service.
"Mission-focused learning prepares students for a dedicated life-long journey of service to all of mankind," says Dr. Carter. "And this was recognized by the review team."
Lowell C. Cooper, MDiv, MPH, chair, Loma Linda University Board of Trustees, and general vice president, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, was pleased with the results in the quest for academic excellence.
"The accreditation visits by WASC personnel are a very important way of helping Loma Linda University assess its performance in and faithfulness to its mission," says Mr. Cooper." It is particularly gratifying when such visits confirm and affirm that the university is performing well within the framework of its mission.
"The Board of Trustees is grateful to the whole University family for the results of the accreditation self-study and the accreditation team's assessment of educational effectiveness at LLU."
In a letter sent March 3 notifying the university of the commission's decision, the commission took special note of table 8.1 in LLU's education effectiveness review report.
"The education outcomes that are reported as performance indicators in this appendix are impressive and stand out among ample comparative and benchmarked data," said Ralph A. Wolff, president of WASC.
According to the letter, the data from these tables indicated that LLU graduates regularly perform at or above national norms in almost all professional programs in terms of pass rates and mean scores on standardized examinations. This includes retention rates for master's and first professional degree programs above 96%, and 85% for associate and bachelor's degree programs.
Last accredited by WASC in 1999, Loma Linda University began the new accreditation process in May, 2006. The process began with an institutional report, followed by a capacity and preparatory review visit in October, 2008. The final step was the educational effectiveness review visit on October 27-29.
According to Marilyn Eggers, PhD, director, office of educational effectiveness, the reason Loma Linda University received the desired 10 year re-accreditation from WASC is because of the enormous efforts of faculty, staff, and administrators across the campus and in Saudi Arabia as well, where there was also a site visit for the off-campus programs there.
"LLU's successful WASC site visit and re-accreditation was the result of interschool collaboration of faculty, staff, and administrators," states Dr. Eggers. "Such collaboration across the university has never before been done on this scale and with such a remarkable outcome.
"God blessed Loma Linda University's wonderful faculty, staff, and administrators as they prepared for WASC by working hard to design and set up processes for assessment and program review," states Dr. Eggers. "These processes will help LLU to constantly strengthen its programs and student learning."
For more information on accreditation, go to the LLU accreditation website at www.llu.edu/central/assessment/index.page.