Student Achievement and Success
Student Success as a Moral Imperative 
Sonny Ramaswamy, NWCCU President

Student Success . This is the mantra these days at the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, as it is in Washington, DC. On Capitol Hill, where members of relevant Senate and House committees are discussing reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. At the United States Department of Education, which has convened conversations and is making decisions on the NegRegs ( aka Negotiated Rulemaking for Higher Education 2018-19) and the recently updated Accreditor’s Bible, 34 CFR Part 602 . And, in the windowless meeting rooms of myriad thinktanks on the Right and Left of the political spectrum discussing the (shortcomings of?) higher education.
With the onset of fall term, many of the NWCCU family of institutions are hosting convocations and workshops for faculty focused on student success.
Likewise, the 2020 Eligibility Requirements and Standards for Accreditation, which was overwhelmingly approved by the NWCCU member institutions, focus on promoting student success and closing equity gaps.
Student success is defined by student learning and achievement that occurs as a result of the educational programs, experiences, and support offered by the college such that students accomplish their current and future academic, personal, and professional goals.
NWCCU Votes to Adopt New 2020 Standards for Accreditation and Eligibility Requirements
Mac Powell, Senior Vice President

The chief executive officers of 158 eligible member institutions were availed the opportunity to vote on adoption of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities’ 2020 Eligibility Requirements (ERs), Standards for Accreditation, and Evaluation Cycle. Of the 134 who voted, 129 voted Yes to adopt the new ERs and Standards, four voted No, and one Abstained.
The 2020 ERs and Standards will take effect on January 1, 2020. 
NWCCU Staff will hold a series of online and in-person training sessions throughout fall 2019 to answer questions and provide resources. Additionally, the 2020 Handbook of Accreditation will provide explanations, models, templates, and rubrics to institutions and Evaluation Teams. 
The 2010 ERs and Standards have been greatly streamlined and the revised Standards focus on Student Success, defined by outcomes such as student learning and student achievement, and on closing equity gaps.
It was an year-long, iterative process involving input from thousands of stakeholders, including our commissioners, who helped create a model for our future work that places Student Success at the center of every conversation.
Cybersecurity :  Managing the Risk in Higher Education

Sean B. Hoar
Partner , Lewis Brisbois
Randy J. Aliment,
Partner, Lewis Brisbois
The Higher Education Sector: A Continuous Target

The higher education sector is a continuous target of malicious actors due to the multiple revenue streams it offers. Over 70 years ago, when asked why he robbed banks, the infamous bank robber Willie Sutton allegedly responded “I rob banks because that’s where the money is.” Malicious hackers of today have chosen their roles and targets for the same reason. As participants in numerous multi-billion dollar criminal business models, malicious hackers continuously attempt to monetize unauthorized access to systems and data. Their exploits are constantly evolving, in part due to new technology, but also due to increasingly creative criminal revenue streams derived from extortion and the sale of stolen data. As explained below, the higher education sector must heighten its awareness of these exploits and reallocate resources to better prepare for and respond to them.
Interstate Passport:
Streamlining Transfer Pathways
Patricia Shea, Senior Adviser for Academic Leadership Initiatives
Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE)
Streamlining Transfer Pathways

Based at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), Interstate Passport® is a growing national program facilitating block transfer of completed lower-division general education attainment based on student learning outcomes rather than on specific courses and credits. Students who transfer with a Passport to another member institution are recognized as having completed all lower-division general education requirements prior to transfer, regardless of course titles and number of credits. 
New Board Chair
Thayne M. McCulloh, NWCCU Board Chair,
President, Gonzaga University

Dr. McCulloh is in his tenth year as President of Gonzaga University. He holds a B.A. from Gonzaga (1989) and was awarded a Ph.D. in experimental social psychology from Oxford University, England (1998). He first began working at Gonzaga in 1990, and from his roots in student affairs, he has remained fundamentally focused on students.
New Commissioners
Noelle Cockett, President, Utah State University
Noelle E. Cockett was appointed as Utah State University’s 16th president in October 2016, beginning her official tenure in January 2017.
At the time of the presidential announcement, Noelle was serving as executive vice president and provost at USU and has held that position since 2013. Prior to that, she served USU as vice president for Extension from 2006 to 2013; Dean of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences from 2002 to 2013; and Director of the Utah Agriculture Experiment Station from 2009 to 2013.
Mark Mitsui, President
Portland Community College

Mark Mitsui became President of Portland Community College in August of 2016. He is the first Asian American president in the 58-year history of PCC, which educates over 70,000 students annually and is the largest higher education institution in the state of Oregon. He was selected by the Portland Business Journal as an “Executive of the Year” in 2018 and currently serves on several boards: The Governor’s Workforce and Talent Development Board; the Portland Business Alliance board and the Greater Portland Incorporated board.

Scott Finnie, Director & Senior Professor
Africana Studies, Executive Director
Race & Culture Studies 
Eastern Washington University

Dr. Scott Finnie, raised in the Bay Area, came to Spokane in 1975 on a basketball scholarship at Gonzaga University. He earned a B.A. in English and a Minor in Criminal Justice in 1979, a Master’s degree in American History from Eastern Washington University in 1992, and a Ph.D. in Leadership Studies from Gonzaga University in 2000. His dissertation was entitled “The Impact of the Removal of Affirmative Action Upon the Freshmen Class at the University of Washington – Implications of a Ten Year Quantitative Study.”
Streamlining Transfer Pathways
Veronica Dujon , Director of Academic Planning and Authorization and Patrick Crane , Director of Community Colleges and Workforce Development, Higher
Education Coordinating Commission, State of OR
Streamlining Public Transfer Student Pathways

What does it mean to shift from a myriad of locally developed institution-specific transfer policies to a statewide, student-centered transfer policy? And how is this being done in a state where the higher education agency plays a coordinating role, and each public community college and university has its own governing board? Today’s postsecondary students attend or acquire credits from numerous institutions and programs as they work toward commencement. And just as students have been creatively charting their own paths to achieve their college goals, we in higher education leadership are wrestling with redesigning our systems so that students are not succeeding despite our policies, but because of them. In Oregon, deriving momentum from legislation passed in 2017 (House Bill 2998), our 24 public colleges and universities have joined the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) in an unprecedented level of collaboration to focus on improving transfer pathways to better serve our students.
Cultural Student Success
Student Success:
It Really Takes a Village

Bogdan Hoanca,
 NWCCU Commissioner,
Professor of Management Information Systems,
University of Alaska Anchorage

In working on student success, we tend to focus on what we do in class, in office hours, or in extracurricular activities involving students. We tend to forget that there is much more we do not know about students, especially those who might be quieter, less regular in attending class, or from a culture with which we are not very familiar.

Early in my teaching career, an Alaska Native student came to me to tell me she would have to miss class for a couple of weeks because her Auntie was coming to town. That struck me as a bit extreme – missing class for that long just because some relative was visiting. I do not recall exactly what I said or how I reacted, but I am afraid my words or facial expression might have conveyed some of my disapproval of the absence given the circumstances. It was only years later in a culture camp where we were learning about the Alaska Native culture that I understood what the Auntie’s visit meant. 
Data Driven Decisions
Scott Carnz, Ed.D.
Provost, City University of Seattle

A Data Quandary

Data Driven Decision making has become an essential component of policy setting, program planning and the design of educational experiences. But not all institutions have robust data systems, nor the culture in which the expectation is to rely on data consistently as a basis for university- or college-wide decision making. Establishing and maintaining such data systems can be a particular challenge for smaller, private institutions like City University of Seattle (CityU).
Several years ago, CityU found itself in a data quandary. The university had at its disposal a wide variety of data sets and ways to access them. However, we had a problem: the data was inconsistent. Depending on who was pulling the data, from where and when the data was drawn, and what permissions a particular user had, the data would be different. This caused a good deal of frustration, many heated discussions, and led to a general distrust of the data that was available. For an institution aiming to rely on data as a basis for its decision making, this was a huge obstacle. What the university needed was what CityU’s Director of Information Technology, Kevin Brown called a “single point of truth.”
Assessing Global Leadership
Jeanne Loftus,
Director of the Global Leadership Initiative
Terri Herron,
Professor of Accounting
Nathan Lindsay,
Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
Assessing the Global Leadership Initiative:
Using Direct Measures to Evaluate a High Impact Practice

At the University of Montana, placing student success at the center of all we do is a top priority (see .)
One signature initiative within this priority is the Franke Global Leadership Initiative (GLI), a high impact practice that provides a wide range of applied and experiential learning opportunities for hundreds of students. This article outlines how direct measures have been used effectively to assess and enhance the GLI, providing an example of how high impact practices might be assessed at other NWCCU institutions.
NWCCU 2019 Annual Conference

Value Proposition: Student Success

November 20 - 22, 2019

Hyatt Regency - Seattle

Plenary Speakers
Hotels and Travel

Visit our web page -
Notable Accomplishments

Thompson Rivers University Kamloops, British Columbia,

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) wins National Teaching Excellence Award. Wednesday, June 12, 2019. TRU's Knowledge Makers initiative has been awarded the National Alan Blizzard Award  for excellence in collaborative teaching.
Concordia University
‘All In’ in Its Neighborhood

The facility is the first completely new ground-up construction of a Portland public school in 20 years, thanks to a bond passed by Portland voters in 2012. The Portland Public Schools bond provided $38.3M, while Concordia University Portland and its supporters contributed an additional $15.5M plus land . The new Faubion School in Portland, OR. promotes holistic education and features a health clinic and food club for students and their families.

They opened August 30, 2017 – A community-wide celebration marked the opening of Faubion School + Concordia University, a 3 to PhD® community. The new education model and facility in NE Portland prepares the next generation of educators inside a public pre-K-8 school, taking into account the needs of the whole child – from prenatal care through “pursuing one’s highest dreams.”
Stone Child College Dedicates Education
Building to Former President

Please join NWCCU in congratulating President Cory Sangrey-Billy and the faculty, staff, and students of Stone Child College on the dedication of their education building, which will house their very first four-year bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
The building is named for Stone Child College’s late president, Nathaniel St. Pierre, who also served as a commissioner of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
Good luck with this program, President Cory Sangrey-Billy, and we wish you much future success.
2019 Award Winners Selected
To Receive the Inaugural Beacon Award for Excellence in
Student Achievement and Success
The Beacon Award for Excellence in Student Achievement and Success is an annual award to recognize institutional or programmatic accomplishments in student achievement and success at the NWCCU family of institutions.

Three separate categories of The Beacon Award were offered, based on unduplicated student enrollment during the most recent fall student headcounts: institutions with fewer than 2,000 students; between 2,000 and 6,000 students; and more than 6000 students.

First-time awards winners have been selected and will be honored at the November 21, 2019, Annual Conference Luncheon. Each award recipient’s institution will receive a cash award of $2,500 and a custom-made blown glass Beacon Award of Excellence.

See the NWCCU website at for additional information for the Beacon Award for Excellence.
New Members of CHEA
Board of Directors And Executive Committee Take Office

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Board of Directors elected seven new board members, including Dr. Joseph Brimhall, president of the University of Western States and former chair of the NWCCU Board of Commissioners, as well as the 2019-2020 Executive Committee during the board’s Annual Meeting, held May 6, 2019 in Washington, DC. The changes are effective July 1, 2019.
Catalyzing Student Success

This workshop may be highly beneficial to Minority Serving Institutions and Tribal Colleges and Universities. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to network and experience hands-on learning using high-impact practices and effective research, initiatives, and programs that catalyze academic success of students.   

At this year’s NWCCU Annual Conference, Wednesday, November 20, will be devoted to networking and hands-on learning about best practices and effective research, initiatives, and programs that impact the academic success of students.  The workshops offered throughout the day may be highly beneficial to participants from Minority Serving Institutions and tribal colleges and universities. The list of confirmed speakers and facilitators includes:
  • Dr. Tia Brown McNair - Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Student Success, American Association of Colleges and Universities, Washington, DC
  • Dr. Jessica Taylor - Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Multnomah University, Portland, Oregon
  • Dr. Jose Enriquez - CEO Latinos in Action, Sandy, Utah
  • Mr. Cesar Perez - Director, Jerome and Gooding Centers & Hispanic Community Liaison, College of Southern Idaho, Twin Falls, Idaho
  • Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, President, Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida
  • Dr. Daniel Peterson, Vice President for Development, University Advancement, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
  • Dr. David Iyall, Senior Director of Philanthropy, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
From Anecdotal to Actionable
Earlier this year, President Ramaswamy reached out to member institutions to learn from their work around data collection and measuring mission fulfillment. The critical significance of data has never been more important as we implement our new 2020 Standards for Accreditation around the central notion of improving student achievement and student success. To support these continuing conversations, NWCCU held several convenings. Oregon institutions met on July 12 th  in partnership with the Oregon Student Success Center to discuss “Learning, Achievement, Indicators, and Benchmarks: Working Collaboratively to Support Institutional Improvement.”   In addition, NWCCU is offering a webinar on the same subject on October 18 th , followed by a presentation on November 22 nd , at the Annual Conference entitled “From Anecdotal to Actionable: Using Data to Drive Institutional Change” which will feature a panel of regional members sharing their ideas and best practices.
Retention, Completion, and Student Success Academy

NWCCU has selected its initial participants for the Retention, Completion, and Student Success Academy, which will launch on November 20, 2019, at the NWCCU Annual Conference. The program to be offered by regional and national thought-leaders, including Kristi Wellington-Baker, Shauna Davis, Michael Anthony Baston, and Elizabeth Cox Brand. The Academy is a mentored experiential learning platform to support institutions and faculty in their efforts to promote student success. The results of the year-long project will be shared at the 2020 Annual Conference.
Update on the
NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellowship
The University of Puget Sound hosted 38 NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellows from June 18-21, 2019.
Fellowship faculty, Peter Ewell, Linda Suskie, Melanie Booth, and Richard Winn, shared best practices in assessment, institutional assessment, and the fulfillment of mission. 
During the final day of the residential portion of the fellowship, the Fellows worked with NWCCU staff to build rubrics for the assessment of student learning, student achievement, and mission fulfillment to be used in NWCCU’s 2020 Accreditation Handbook.  
The participating Fellows came from all seven states NWCCU serves, representing tribal colleges, faith based institutions, Hispanic serving institutions, two-year institutions, four year institutions, specialty/focused institutions, and a state board of education.
The cost of the year-long Fellowship is $4900 and includes a year of mentorship, two residential meetings, and monthly webinars with luminaries in the field of assessment and higher education (including Paul Gaston, Natasha Jankowski, Stephen Hundley, Pat Hutchings, Charlie Blaich, Kathy Wise, Vicki Wise, Peter Ewell, Linda Suskie, Melanie Booth, and Richard Winn). 
NWCCU provided a scholarship for the cost of lodging and food for the initial residential portion of the fellowship to the 38 fellows who attended the inaugural meeting.
Applications for the second year of the Mission Fulfillment Fellowship will be available Summer 2019.

Questions about the Fellowship should be directed to Dr. Mac Powell, Senior Vice President.

NWCCU has clarified the definition of “Education and General Expenditures” in a new policy that is now available on the NWCCU website: . E & G Expenditures is a category that is requested each year on the Annual Report. NWCCU uses the E & G Expenditures to calculate annual institutional dues from member institutions.
NEW Themes for
The Beacon
The 2019-2020 Themes for The Beacon guide the content of The Beacon’s featured articles and support the efforts of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. Four themes have been determined for the next four issues of The Beacon in the 2019-2020 academic year. They are:

  • September 6 – Student Achievement and Success
  • November 20 – Managing Change
  • February 20 – Closing Equity Gaps
  • May 20 – Global Citizenship

The required format for featured articles in The Beacon is simply to provide content in a professional manner appropriate to the Northwest region. The software interface accommodates any type of media including video. Please submit articles for consideration in association with the theme of one of the four issues and email the article as an attachment one week prior to publication dates, or earlier. If you have any questions, or would like to submit an article, please contact Pamela Goad at
NWCCU Institutional Portal Coming soon!

Keep an eye on your inboxes this fall for directions on how to access the NWCCU Port , the new portal for accredited institutions in the seven states of the U.S. and the province of British Columbia, Canada. 
New Presidents in 2019
Blackfeet Community College
Karla Bird, Ph.D.,
President, June 2019
Clark College
Sandra Fowler-Hill, Ph.D.,
Interim President, July 2019
Everett Community College
Daria J Willis, Ph.D.,
President, May 2019
National University
of Natural Medicine
Christine Girard, ND, MPH,
President, July 2019
Miles Community College
Aaron Clingingsmith, MBA,
Interim President, July 2019
Pacific Lutheran University
Allan Belton, MBA,
President, April 2019
Snow College
Brad Cook, Ph.D.,
President, June 2019
The Seattle School of
Theology and Psychology
Derek McNeil, Ph.D.,
Acting President, March 2019
University of Providence
Fr. Oliver Doyle, STL
Interim President, July 2019
NWCCU Calendar and Events
Mission Fulfillment Fellowship
JUNE 2019 - MARCH 2020 Read more

Assessment Essentials: Assuring Standards of Educational Effectiveness and Quality Improvement
OCTOBER 18, 2019
Portland, Oregon Read more

NWCCU Accreditation and Student Success
OCTOBER 18, 2019 - NOON
NWCCU Webinar Read more

Building the Alignment Triangle For Quality With Coursetune and Quality Matters: Are Students Learning What We Think They're Learning
NWCCU Webinar Read more

EVENTS 2019 - 2020

NWCCU 2019 Annual Conference
NOVEMBER 20 - 22, 2019
Seattle, Washington Read more

Conference Sessions:
  • Catalyzing Student Success
NOVEMBER 20, 2019, NWCCU Annual Conference
Open to all members, Seattle, Washington Read more

  • Retention, Completion, and Student Success Academy
NOVEMBER 20, 2019, NWCCU Annual Conference
Invitation Only, Seattle, Washington Read more

  • From Anecdotal to Actionable: Using Data to Drive Institutional Change
NOVEMBER 22, 2019, NWCCU Annual Conference
Seattle, Washington Read more

Next Commission Meeting
JANUARY 8-10 , 2020

See the NWCCU website for registration for specific events, and for more details:
Thank you
The Beacon is NWCCU's quarterly newsletter to inform its member institutions and other stakeholders of updates, news, resources, and information pertaining to accreditation and higher education issues. Please send your comments to Pamela Goad ( or Jan Wilson ( as well as inquiries for a contribution to The Beacon.
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