Vancouver, B.C.---Capilano University has been accredited by the
Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), an independent,
non-profit organization based in Washington State and recognized by the U.S.
Department of Education. In granting Capilano University accreditation, the
NWCCU closely examined the way the University operates and recognized it as
having met rigorous international standards of excellence for higher education
institutions when it comes to performance, integrity and quality.
"Being fully accredited by the NWCCU is a
significant advantage for Capilano University, its students, faculty, and staff,”
says president and vice-chancellor, Kris Bulcroft. “It demonstrates we are a
university that knows what our students learn, and through the clear learning
outcomes, we foster the development of transferable, real-world skills. These
include critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration and
Capilano University is only the second Canadian public
university to receive accreditation in the United States and the first
university to be accredited by the NWCCU. Accreditation will further enhance
the University’s reputation for providing quality education and its ability to meet
student’s needs, interests and academic and professional goals. It fully
entrenches a culture of outcomes assessment and public accountability at the University
and formalizes a process for continuous improvement.
Canada is the only developed country without a national
post-secondary accreditation system. As a result, Capilano began exploring U.S.
accreditation in 2005. While accreditation is mandatory for all U.S.-based
post-secondary institutions seeking federal funding, Capilano University
voluntarily embarked upon the pursuit of accreditation as a mechanism for a
more formal approach to identifying and validating the effectiveness of its
current practices as a teaching-focused institution. The process also helped to
determine how well it was fulfilling its mission,values and vision and achieving its strategic goals.
The process—which customarily takes between five and
seven years to complete—began in 2007 when Capilano University applied for
accreditation candidacy which was granted in 2008. The next stage was a
comprehensive self-study exercise and a site evaluation visit by NWCCU
administrators and peers from accredited post-secondary member institutions.
Subsequent evaluation visits took place in 2009 and 2010. The final step was a
presentation to the commission board in January 2013.
Based primarily on the self-study evaluation, and with
feedback from the NWCCU, Capilano University implemented a number of policies,
procedures and actions including a cross-institutional assessment and
benchmarking initiative. Such approach focuses on student learning outcomes for
all academic courses and programs, ultimately benefiting students’ learning
Other initiatives included the development of a long-term
facilities master plan, outlining the requirements for new buildings, roads and
social spaces for students.
The university received several commendations from the
NWCCU’s evaluation team, for example, on its core theme of community engagement: “…Capilano has taken seriously its outreach services,
particularly with the First Nations Community.”
“The Board of Governors is very grateful for the
leadership, commitment, and considerable efforts of all in the Capilano
University community in realizing the goal of full accreditation, and is very
excited about the many benefits it will bring in the form of highly engaging
learning environments, for current and future students,” says Dr. Robin Brayne,
Established in 1952, the NWCCU is one of six independent
regional organizations officially sanctioned by the U.S. federal government to
assess post-secondary school educational quality and institutional
effectiveness, and grant accreditation. Capilano University will be evaluated
by the NWCCU on regular basis to determine its adherence to the best-practice standards
set out by the commission.
“On behalf of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and
Universities (NWCCU), we commend Capilano University for its demonstrated
commitment to quality assurance and continuous improvement,” says Dr. Sandra
Elman President, Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. “Capilano
University is the first Canadian institution of higher education to be
accredited by NWCCU. The Commission looks forward to working with Capilano
University in the years ahead as we strive to further enhance the institution's
academic quality and institutional vitality in the spirit of regional
"Achieving accreditation in the NWCCU is a
significant milestone for Capilano University, and provides more options for
students in their pursuit of their post-secondary education goals,” says Ruth
Wittenberg, President of the B.C. Association of Institutes + Universities, of
which Capilano University is a member.
As a NWCCU member, the University will share best
practices with fellow member institutions and also provide advice to other
Canadian post-secondary institutions undergoing the accreditation process or
planning to in the future.
Capilano University is a
learner-centred university with campuses in North Vancouver, Squamish and
Sechelt, British Columbia. Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges
and Universities (NWCCU), the University currently offers 11 bachelor degrees
as well as associate degrees and a range of diplomas, certificates and
statements of completion. More than 7,500 students are enrolled in credit
programs each term, with an additional 7,000 people taking non-credit courses
annually. Capilano University has earned an international reputation for
quality teaching, programs and services, instilling the knowledge, skills,
motivation and attitudes that will enable students to become independent
thinkers and learners, and to contribute effectively in a rapidly changing
world. More information can be found at www.capilanou.ca
The accreditation timeline and associated reports can be