South Seattle College is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).  The NWCCU is the institutional accrediting agency for colleges and universities in the states of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington.  The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is recognized as a reliable authority on regional, institutional accreditation by the United States Department of Education.

Accreditation of an institution of higher education by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality evaluated through a peer review process.  An accredited college or university is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

Accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is not partial but applies to the institution as a whole.  As such, it is not a guarantee of every course or program offered, or the competence of individual graduates.  Rather, it provides reasonable assurance about the quality of opportunities available to students who attend the institution.

Inquiries regarding an institution’s accredited status by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities 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 98052-3981
(425) 558-4224
www.nwccu.org

Overview

South Seattle College has been accredited since our initial review in 1975.  Until recently, the usual full evaluation cycle was every ten years with a smaller, interim review at five years.  South’s last full review was in October 2009.  In March 2010 South Seattle Community College (now South Seattle College) received formal notification from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) that the college accreditation was reaffirmed at the associate degree level, and accreditation was granted for the first time as a four-year baccalaureate degree institution recognizing South’s first bachelor’s degree program in Hospitality Management.

In 2010, the NWCCU Board of Governors approved a major revision to the accreditation standards that included a reduction of the review process from a ten year to a seven year evaluation cycle.  As part of the new seven year process,  a NWCCU team of six people in higher education, drawn from peer institutions, visited South on October 21-23, 2013 to conduct the Year Three Resources and Capacity evaluation visit designed to review and evaluate the college’s major institutional functions, resources, and infrastructure to enable a determination of the institution’s potential to succeed in fulfilling its mission.  In its preliminary report at the end of the visit the team left South with five potential commendations for accomplishments and four potential recommendations for improvements, which later became part of the NWCCU final report. 

Commendations

  1. The evaluators commend the College on the condition of its physical facilities located on its Georgetown campus and the comprehensive way SSCC has created secure, healthful learning and working environments to support the institution’s mission, programs, and services at this campus.
  2. The evaluators commend the College for the collaborative and systematic integration of library instruction into the curriculum.  The information Literacy (IL) student learning outcome has been interwoven into the College system by the discipline and library faculty ensuring appropriate, scaffolded IL instruction in classes across disciplines and in all programs.
  3. The evaluators commend the culture of collaboration at South Seattle Community College.  All members of the evaluation team noted the spirit of teamwork and the feeling of connection among faculty and staff across all levels.  The “can do” attitude of SSCC employees exhibits an impressive commitment to serving students and their community.
  4. The evaluators commend the College for creating sustainable support services for students who transition to the College by ensuring students receive appropriate enrollment, advising, and orientation materials through diverse delivery methods encouraging student success of self-navigation skills through the enrollment and registration processes from multiple starting points.
  5. The evaluators commend the College for its commitment to embracing cultural diversity on campus and within the community, and expanding cultural competency of faculty and staff.  SSCC employees proactively engage in initiatives to promote awareness and success of the diverse student population that create a positive, inclusive, and supportive learning environment through a connected college community.

Recommendations

  1. While the College has revised the conceptual framework that provides improved clarity of the design for an acceptable threshold for mission fulfillment, the evaluation committee recommends that the College continue this work by refining and aligning a definition of mission fulfillment that identifies achievement at an acceptable threshold in measurable terms (Standard 1.A.2).
  2. The evaluation committee recommends that the College continue to refine its success indicators for improved alignment with core theme objectives so that subsequent planning, assessment, and improvement activities are meaningfully developed over the seven-year cycle (Standard 1.B.2).
  3. >The evaluation committee recommends that the College regularly review the human resources policies and procedures (Standard 2.A.18).
  4. The evaluation committee recommends that for each year of operation, the College undergo an external financial audit and that the results from such audits, including findings and management letter recommendations, be considered in a timely, appropriate, and comprehensive manner by the Board of Trustees (Eligibility Requirement 19 and Standard 2.F.7).

In February 2014, the college received formal notification from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) that reaffirmed the accreditation of South Seattle College on the basis of the October, 2013 Year Three  Resources and Capacity Evaluation visit.  In its notification letter the NWCCU reiterated the recommendations made in the report from the on-campus review team.  In reaffirming accreditation, the Commission  requested  that the College address Recommendations 1,2, and 3 of the Fall 2013 Year Three Resources and Capacity Peer-Evaluation Report in its Fall 2017 Year Seven Mission Fulfillment and Sustainability Self-Evaluation Report.  The letter from the Commission also included a request that the College address Recommendation 4 of the Fall 2013 Year Three Resources and Capacity Peer-Evaluation Report in an Ad Hoc Report in Fall 2014.

The college has already begun to address the four recommendations and will continue to make the necessary changes.

View South's 2013 Year Three Self-Evaluation Report.


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