Global Citizenship


Sonny Ramaswamy

SARS-CoV2, COVID-19, Coronavirus, Wuhan, Flatten-The-Curve, Pandemic, Lockdown, Shelter-In-Place, Social Distancing, PPE, Zoombombing, Ventilators, Hydrochloroquine, Fauci, Flexibilities, ....

These are terms and phrases we had barely heard of, nor part of our daily vocabulary, until just a few months ago. Like a lightning bolt, out of nowhere, COVID-19 struck, with its concomitant individual and societal impacts. Just like that, we felt stranded. Insecure. Afraid. Angst-ridden. Divided. The sense of security and comfort we had taken for granted, no longer guaranteed. 
New Commissioners
Bradley Cook
Snow College

Bradley J. Cook is the President of Snow College and Professor of History. Prior to his current position, he served for 10 years as Provost and Executive Vice President at Southern Utah University. While at SUU he worked to elevate SUU’s academic reputation as a premier public regional university and advanced an ambitious agenda of internationalizing the university. With 25 years of executive administrative experience in higher education, Bradley has also served as President of the Abu Dhabi Women’s College in the United Arab Emirates, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Utah Valley State College (UVSC), and Vice President for College Relations also at UVSC (now Utah Valley University). Dr. Cook completed with honors a bachelor’s and master’s degree at Stanford University, where he also started as a cornerback for Stanford’s football team. As a Rotary Ambassadorial Fellow, he received a doctoral degree in Middle East Studies from the University of Oxford in Great Britain.
Marlene Tromp
Boise State University

Marlene Tromp is the 7th president of Boise State University. She was previously the campus provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Before joining the University of California system, Dr. Tromp served as Arizona State University’s vice provost of the West campus and dean of the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. As a first generation student, Marlene attended Creighton University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in English. She returned to Wyoming to complete a master’s degree and completed her doctorate at the University of Florida. 
Rachel Solemsaas
Hawaiʻi Community College 
Rachel Solemsaas was appointed chancellor at Hawaiʻi Community College in 2016. She previously served as the vice president for finance and administrative services at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada. Prior to that appointment, Rachel was vice president for administrative services at Bellevue College and vice president for finance and operations at Edmonds Community College, both in Washington. Dr. Solemsaas earned a doctorate of education in higher education with emphasis on community college leadership from Washington State University and a master’s in public administration from the University of Washington. She earned a bachelor of science in accounting from De La Salle University in Manila.
Delores (Kandee) Cleary
Vice President of Inclusivity and Diversity
Central Washington University

Delores “Kandee” Cleary is Vice President of Inclusivity and Diversity and Sociology Faculty member at Central Washington University. Dr. Cleary’s educational journey has been unique in many ways. She received an AA degree from North Seattle Community College, BA/BS from Central Washington University, and MA and Ph.D. from Washington State University. Growing up on the Colville Indian reservation gives Kandee a unique perspective on gaps in the educational process for individuals from underrepresented groups. At CWU Dr. Cleary has provided leadership in the development of a comprehensive, intentional, integrated framework for equity, inclusion through collaboration leveraging current efforts and initiatives. She has used data driven approaches to identify strengths, gaps and opportunities in diversity and inclusion policies, practices, and procedures and has promoted diversity centric policies, practices and procedures to support the needs of underrepresented groups.
International Programs’ Impact
Richard Menard
Senior International Officer
Director, Center for Global Engagement

At the start of each New Year, and new term, those of us in academia return from a holiday break refreshed and prepared to begin again. At the start of 2020,I found myself looking forward to the new stories, experience, and the transformations of our students. It has always been these moments and experiences our students take part in that drives my purpose to foster a global community. Of course, this year would be different, and we all would be tested professionally in ways that most could not imagine. It was January 21st when I received an email from Gonzaga University’s Risk Manager, one that will forever be etched in my memory. It was a forwarded email regarding an outbreak in Wuhan, China, and it simply said, “Do we need to talk about this?”
NWCCU’s Paradigm Shift: Part III
Alana Hoare , Quality Assurance 
and Accreditation Liaison Officer, Thompson Rivers University
Pamela Goad , Executive
Vice President,
NWCCU’s Paradigm Shift: Part III

In the November 2019 Beacon we wrestled with the seemingly disharmonious fundamentals of accreditation: accountability and improvement. In March 2020, we introduced two potential interventions to resolve this conflict: 1) contextualized, qualitative performance indicators; and, 2) leadership strategies that promote collaboration and trust. Continuing on in our discussion, we will explore early findings from the NWCCU Quality Culture Project–an initiative aimed at understanding how higher education stakeholders in the Northwest region understand quality assurance (QA) processes; what underpins their views; and,the internal and external factors that may curtail the positive intentions of assuring academic quality.

NWCCU Quality Culture Project 

In Fall 2019, we embarked on an ambitious project to study factors that positively and negatively impact a culture of quality in NWCCU membership institutions. A culture of quality is defined as a culture “in which structural/managerial and cultural/psychological elements act in synergy to continuously improve education” (Bendermacher, Egbrink, Wolfhagen & Dolmans, 2016, p.39). The study involves a systematic literature review and interrogation of organizational frameworks and leadership theories to examine the conceptual elements of a culture of quality, the results of which informed the development of a survey and focus group discussion questions.
Connected by Words, by Technology, by Our Humanness
Selena Grace
Senior Vice President

Watching the events of the last couple of weeks unfold, I’ve struggled to know what to say and how to articulate the way that I feel. I am forever a student of writing and of words. I am forever a student of American Indian studies and public policy and administration. I believe in others, their stories, their experiences and that in evaluating our history we might understand where we come from and therefore develop answers and solutions to where we need to go. We are experiencing what feels unprecedented with the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is not. Perhaps how we are addressing it as a society is unprecedented, but the pandemic itself is not. We are searching for answers regarding the rage and violence associated with the protests, but we only need to look to our past to truly understand why people are feeling the rage and frustration they feel. And in the end, it is our words, written or spoken, our policies, and how we treat each other that makes us part of a global society.
Spring 2020 Visits
We extend our deepest gratitude to our peer review teams and to the institutions reviewed during the 2020 spring evaluation season. We know there was significant concern and uncertainty regarding the virtual evaluation visits, but because of the commitment of our institutions, evaluation teams, and staff, along with the training provided by Western Governors University, we pulled off a successful spring visit cycle. The success of the spring visits is, in large measure, attributable to the professionals we have the privilege of working with on a regular basis: each of you! Whether you were on a peer review team or an institutional team being evaluated, each of you rose to the occasion with your commitment to ensuring accountability, quality, and integrity in ensuring student success. Thank you!
Two Perspectives on Virtual Visits
Chris Bragg
Associate Dean of Institutional Effectiveness & ALO
College of Southern Idaho

I kept waiting for it to get postponed. In fall 2019 I had agreed to chair an evaluation of institutional effectiveness (EIE) visit to Cascadia College in Bothell, Washington. But by the time our visit materials arrived in early March, the odds of the visit happening appeared slim. A nursing home in Seattle, just a few miles from the college, was the national epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak. The University of Washington, which shares a campus location with Cascadia, announced that it was moving all courses online, and Cascadia quickly followed suit. Things were changing so rapidly that I just did not see how the visit could possibly go forward
Kerry Levett
Vice President for Student Learning
and Success & ALO
Cascadia College

We began preparing for our year 7 visit 18 months before our scheduled time in April 2020. Even though our draft report was outlined and initial evidence collected, Cascadia decided to shift to the new more streamlined standards when the draft was proposed in January 2019. We accepted some level of risk and messiness while boldly moving forward.
Part of the messiness is that we were caught in the early transition of the new standards and new review process. The expectations for written reports have also changed, limiting institutions to roughly 50 pages per standard.

Results of ALO's Survey
Normalcy in Abnormal Times
During a major period of uncertainty, we asked you to share ways that you have managed normalcy in abnormal times. A number of you shared ways that you, personally, or your institutions have maintained a level of normalcy. Thank you for sharing these great stories of strength, compassion, passion, and commitment.
New Presidents and Provosts
Ms. Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson ,
Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage, April 2020
Fr . Oliver Doyle , President, STL
University of Providence
July 2019
Dr. Karin Edwards, President
Clark College
Summer 2020

Dr. L Dean Fisher, President
College of Southern Idaho
June 2020
Dr. Sara Thompson Tweedy
Big Bend Community College
July 2020

Dr. Michelle DenBeste ,
Provost/Vice President for Academic & Student Life
Central Washington University
May 2020
Dr. Andrea Scott ,
George Fox University
July 2020
NWCCU Updates
Gates Foundation Update
As you know, NWCCU was selected as one of 12 organizations—and the only accreditor—as a grantee in the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Intermediaries for Scale Project. 

The purpose and vision of the Gates Foundation’s IFS project is aligned with NWCCU’s mission and revised Standards for Accreditation, i.e., focus on data-based and evidence-informed student success and closing equity gaps for poor, first generation, and underserved students.
During the first, 18-month Planning Stage, the grant will be for approximately $1.5M.

Since January, NWCCU staff has been working with the five self-selected pilot institutions to complete the Institutional Transformation Assessment (ITA) and the completion of this milestone remains on track to finish by mid-June.
Data Update
In May, we wrapped up the NWCCU Institutional Data Capacity Survey. The data survey was launched to support our work as an Intermediary for Scale (IFS) for a major grant we received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Gates) to build capacity in our region for data-informed, best-practices approaches to achieving equitable outcomes. We are analyzing the results of the survey and will share aggregated results and insights with institutions later this summer.

We hosted three online Postsecondary Data Partnership (PDP) Info Sessions with about 300 attendees. The info sessions were co-hosted with the National Student Clearinghouse and introduced the PDP, briefly reviewed the data requirements of the 2020 Standards for Accreditation, demonstrated the PDP’s data dashboards, and discussed how the PDP facilitates benchmarking. We answered nearly 100 questions from attendees during the sessions, including how to express interest in the NWCCU PDP pilot program. If you missed the info sessions, you can watch the video and access the presentation on the NWCCU website .

Dr. Jess Stahl (VP), Dr. Mac Powell (Sr. VP), and Jess Delegencia (Equity Consultant) facilitated conversations about transformative approaches to achieving equitable outcomes and institutional excellence (based on the Institutional Transformation Assessment) with Yakima Valley College, Treasure Valley Community College, College of Southern Nevada-in partnership with Complete College America, Nevada State College-in partnership with the Gardner Institute, and Chief Dull Knife College (in June). We want to recognize these institutions for their willingness to engage in meaningful reflection, their commitment to equitable student success, and amazing ability to bring together (“virtually”) a core transformation team of institutional leaders and to engage with a student success community representative of their institution during these unprecedented times.

If your institution has launched a research study about the impact of COVID-19 on students at your institution, please contact [email protected] . We would like to host a webinar about this type of research and write about it in future issues of The Beacon.
Diversity Updates
NWCCU Brings in Expert Consultant in Equity and Inclusion: Introducing
Jess Delegencia, MA, MDiv

NWCCU has brought Jess Delegencia on board as an expert consultant in equity and inclusion. Jess comes to us with over 25 of years of experience in equity and inclusion work, having served most recently in foreign service as an Equity and Inclusion Training Specialist, training Peace Corps’ global workforce in over 60 countries and supporting agency-wide change efforts. Apart from being a “lifelong student,” Jess also brings a wealth of higher education experience, having served as a Chief Diversity Officer (John F. Kennedy University), Adjunct Faculty and Coordinator of Asian American Pacific Islander Programs (Pacific School of Religion), and an Intercultural Training Specialist and Consultant for Robertson Center for Intercultural Leadership at the University of California at Berkeley.

On behalf of NWCCU, Jess will spearhead equity-related initiatives in the region and help support transformation efforts and provide resources to institutions in closing equity gaps. Stay tuned as resources and support opportunities become available.
Staff Updates
There have been a number of staffing changes over the last six months. Please go to our website to learn more about our staff.
NWCCU Reminders and Events
Annual Report Reminder
We are pleased to announce that the NWCCU Institutional Portal is up and running, and being used as an integral part of this year’s Annual Report process. The Institutional Portal continues NWCCU’s efforts to move towards having our institutions review and update, rather than reenter, data about their institutions. We want to thank the great team of volunteers who tested the portal over the past few months.

The Institutional Portal can be used by campus Accreditation Liaison Officers (ALOs) to update their institution’s profile, identify Key Role holders, including he new key role of Chief Diversity Officer, and update instructional sites and academic programs. This summer we are also asking that ALOs work with others on their campuses to prepare and upload a complete list of all Title IV eligible academic programs offered by your institution – through the Institutional Portal. The deadline for completing this year’s annual report is August 1, 2020.

Upcoming Workshops, Webinars, Events, Commission Meetings

July 22, 2020 -- Strategic Financing to Support Student Success
The effects of the recent COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many institutions dealing with
reduced budgets to support institutional initiatives and activities. This webinar will share
information on successful strategies to prioritize funds to ensure student success. Examples scenarios will be discussed.

August 26, 2020 -- Benchmarking: Identifying Peer Institutions
The 2020 Standards (1.D.3) require benchmarking disaggregated indicators of student
achievement against peer institutions at the regional and national levels. This webinar will focus on how to identify peer institutions and will include idea sharing and Q&A.

NWCCU 2020 Annual Conference
November 17-20, 2020
Location TBD
Seattle, Washington

Commission Meetings
June 24-26, 2020

January 13-15, 2021
Hyatt Regency Seattle Downtown
Seattle, Washington

The Beacon Award
In the midst of the chaos, we know that there are also days of innovation where our member institutions are not only supporting existing successful implementations, but also spearheading new efforts in response to the changing landscape.

Please mark your calendars and plan for submitting nominations by July 31, 2020.
Award winners must demonstrate distinctive, measurable, and replicable innovations that have resulted in student achievement and success at the institutional or programmatic level. Innovations in advising and mentoring, alternative credentialing, experiential learning, learning communities, development of new curricula, courses, or educational delivery models, as well as innovative approaches that have significantly contributed to measurable improvements in completion and/or graduation rates at the institution will all be considered. Awardee institutions will be recognized during the NWCCU Annual Conference, where an institutional representative will have the opportunity to present on the topic of their award-winning endeavors.

Awardees will also receive the Beacon trophy and cash award to be used to further the institution’s efforts to implement the initiative. 
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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, as well as inquiries for a contribution to the Beacon: [email protected]
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