The university is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
It is Cal Poly's policy to seek academic program accreditation from appropriate specialized accreditation agencies. As the WASC handbook notes, the purposes of accreditation include:
- To develop and sustain effective educational programs.
- To assure the educational community, students and their families, the general public, and other organizations that an academic program has met high standards of quality and effectiveness.
- To promote program engagement with issues of educational effectiveness and student learning.
- To develop and continue good practices in assessing and improving the teaching and learning process.
- To increase opportunites available to program graduates.
- When the requirements of the accrediting agency will not cause the university to alter significantly its objectives or methods of instruction;
- When it is consistent with university and program learning goals and educational outcomes.
On an annual basis, in conjunction with the preparation of the CSU Board of Trustees agenda item on academic planning and program review, all campuses are to send to the Chancellor's Office selected materials regarding institutional and specialized accreditation.
The timing of program review coincides with the schedule for specialized accreditation review to minimize the workload of the program faculty. (Academic Senate Resolution) AS-496-98/PRAIC (PDF))
Procedural Guidelines for Accreditation
Responsibility is delegated to the department head/chair or college dean for:
- making preliminary contact with the accrediting agency;
- assessing the desirability of seeking such accreditation and probability of success;
- recommending whether or not to make formal application for accreditation;
- preparing a statement of the total costs of annual dues and forwarding the cost statement to the Academic Programs Office;
- preparing the application and related reports;
- transmitting the application and reports only after approval by the President and Vice President for Academic Affairs or their designee;
- making arrangements for the committee visitation on campus;
- preparing an executive summary of program strengths and weakness for review by the President and the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs prior to visitation.
The college dean, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President or their designee approve the:
- transmittal of formal application for accreditation;
- contents of required reports and their transmittal to the accrediting agency;
- dates of committee visitation;
- plans for meeting of the visitation committee with the President and other administrative personnel.
The college dean, Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs and the President or their designee are to be kept informed of actions taken with respect to the accreditation process. The Vice Provost for Academic Programs and Undergraduate Education normally serves as the designee.
The above procedural steps also shall be followed in developing departmental or college applications for reaccreditation or in preparing and submitting required responses or reports in cases where provisional accreditation is being reconsidered by the accrediting agency.
Source: CAM 401, July 1982
Office of the Chancellor
On an annual basis, in conjunction with the preparation of the Board of Trustees agenda item on academic planning and program review, all CSU campuses are to send selected materials regarding institutional and specialized accreditation.
The following information should be sent to the Office of the Chancellor, Academic Affairs, immediately upon receipt:
- all letters from WASC affecting the status of institutional accreditation; and
- letters from specialized or professional accrediting agencies denying or withdrawing accreditation of a program, school, or college within the campus.
Source: Coded Memo, AA-2003-09 (PDF)