Accreditation / Assessment / Academic Program Review

Accreditation / Assessment / Academic Program Review / Distance Education and Licensure

Accreditation

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.

Institutional Accreditation

Portland State University is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU). Accreditation by the NWCCU 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.

Because accreditation by the NWCCU refers to the institution as a whole, statements like “fully accredited” or “this program is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities” or “this degree is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities” are incorrect and should not be used.

Accreditation of PSU

Accreditation of Portland State University was reaffirmed in fall 2015, after a comprehensive self-evaluation report. The next Year Seven Report is due for submission to the NWCCU in fall of 2022. For the most recent NWCCU affirmation letter, Mid Cycle Report, and other documentation, please refer to Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities Resources below.

Frequently Asked Questions regarding NWCCU accreditation and PSU's accreditation status (2019).

Contact

Inquiries regarding an institution's accredited status by the NWCCU should be directed to Brian Sandlin,
Accreditation and Compliance Coordinator, 503-725-5252, bsandlin@pdx.edu.

Individuals may also contact NWCCU:

Northwest Commission on College and Universities
8060 165th Avenue N.E., Suite 200
Redmond, WA. 98052
(425) 558-4224
www.nwccu.org

Process for Filing a Complaint about PSU to the NWCCU

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Specialized Accreditation

In the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences; the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences is accredited by the Council on Academic Accreditation (CAA) of the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA). The Department of Chemistry is accredited by the American Chemical Society (ACS).

In the College of the Arts; Music programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). Theater programs are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Theater (NAST). The Master of Architecture degree in the School of Architecture is accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB).

In the College of Urban and Public Affairs; the Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board (PAB). The Master of Public Administration and Executive Master of Public Administration degrees are accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). The Master of Public Administration – Health Administration is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME) and the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA).


In the College of Education; teacher education programs are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and by the Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission (TSPC). The counseling programs are accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP). The Helen Gordon Child Development Center is accredited by the National Association for Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

In the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science; undergraduate programs in civil, computer, electrical, environmental, and mechanical engineering are accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). The computer science program is accredited by the Computing Accreditation Commission of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). ABET can be contacted at 415 North Charles Street Baltimore, MD 21201 - telephone: (410) 347-7700.

In the School of Business; the undergraduate and graduate business programs as well as the accounting program are accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB).

In the School of Public Health; the programs in Health Studies, the Master of Public Health degrees, the Master of Biostatistics, and the Ph.D. programs in Community Health, Epidemiology, Health Systems and Policy are all accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). The Health Management & Policy MPH is also accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education (CAHME).

In the School of Social Work; both the bachelor’s and the master’s programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). The Child, Youth, & Family Studies certificate program is accredited by the National Council on Family Relations (NCRF).

Assessment

The assessment of student learning at Portland State is a decentralized process that is performed at the program and college level. All programs are required to have program-level learning outcomes and to assess student learning related to these outcomes. 

The Institutional Assessment Council (IAC) serves as the primary resource for assessment policy on campus while the Office of Academic Innovation is the primary resource for helping programs with their assessment activities.

The charge of the IAC is to "create principles and recommendations for assessment planning that are sustainable and learning‐focused, and provides support aimed at enhancing the quality of student learning through assessment activities. The Council has designed a framework for promoting and supporting assessment long term, both at the program and institution levels. The IAC serves as the primary advisory mechanism for institutional assessment planning and coordinates with the assistant and associate deans group the implementation of systematic Annual Assessment Updates and Academic Program Review by the schools and colleagues."

Available Resources:

The IAC has developed a website and a rubric to assist programs with assessment planning and practice. 

For specific questions about assessment practices, the Office of Academic Innovation is available to provide assistance.  You may reach OAI at 503-725-6624 or oai@pdx.edu.

Annual Assessment Update

Every year in the Spring quarter, OAA with help from OIRP will circulate a survey to all degree programs that is designed for the programs to report on their assessment activities.

The questions relate to a programs student learning outcomes and how the program assesses student learning.  The survey goes on to ask for examples of how a program has used the results of assessment to improve.

The Office of Academic Innovation will be provided with the survey results and will be available to work with programs on improving their assessment practices.

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Academic Program Review

Careful initiation and continued review of academic programs are key to an institution's viability and reputation. Not only does such an approach provide a level of quality assurance to the public, it also contributes to the broader portfolio of the state's system of public universities.

The review process employed by Portland State University serves to track the success of each program and identify its unique strengths. It provides a systematic way to improve programs by examining:

  • Adequacy of resources needed to sustain a quality offering;
  • Continued ability to address access and market demand;
  • Currency of the curriculum within the evolution of the discipline or field; and
  • Success of the program in terms of student learning.

Usually conducted through a form of self-study or external accreditation, the process for the ongoing review of existing programs engages faculty, administrators, graduates, and community partners in a thoughtful exploration that parallels many of the same elements reviewed during the program's initial approval. Results help reaffirm an institution's commitment to a program area, confirm the program's linkage with the institution's mission and strategic plan, and provide useful data for the institution's planning cycle.

At PSU, this process includes rigorous review and approval processes for all new programs and certificates, as well as a systematic review of all existing programs carried out at the college/school level.

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Distance Education and State Licensure Information

Portland State is authorized to offer distance education through its membership in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements, known as NC-SARA.  Participation in SARA allows accepted out-of-state students to take on-line courses from locations in other SARA states and still qualify for Title IV funding. 

NC-SARA requires that any institution that offers courses or programs potentially leading to professional licensure must keep all students informed as to whether such offerings actually meet state licensing requirements. 

The Speech and Hearing Sciences master’s degree program at Portland State University meets the academic and clinical requirements to be certified by the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association and to be licensed as a speech-language pathologist in Oregon. Because licensure requirements vary from state to state, Portland State University is unable to determine if the academic training meets requirements for states other than Oregon. Program participants who are interested in working professionally outside of Oregon should visit the American Speech & Hearing Association (ASHA) State by State Requirements web page or the state licensing web page for the specific state in which they hope to practice.

The educator training offered in the College of Education at Portland State meets the requirements for licensure in the state of Oregon. Because licensure requirements vary from state to state, Portland State University is unable to determine if the academic training meets requirements for states other than Oregon. Program participants who are interested in working professionally outside of Oregon should visit the state licensing web page for the specific state in which they hope to practice. More information about educator licensure can be found at: https://www.pdx.edu/education/licensure.

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