By Nina Bai
UC San Francisco has been granted renewed accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) for the maximum 10-year accreditation period. WSCUC accreditation ensures that an institution meets rigorous standards of quality and integrity and allows students enrolled in the institution to receive Title IV federal financial aid funding.
“This accreditation is a recognition of UCSF’s excellence in education,” said Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS. “The outstanding news reflects the professionalism, passion and dedication of our educators and staff who made this happen.”
UCSF was among a select group of high-performing institutions that were given the opportunity to pursue a new, alternate route to renewed accreditation, known as the Thematic Pathway for Reaffirmation (TPR). Designed for institutions that demonstrate consistent evidence of healthy fiscal condition, strong student achievement indicators, and sustained quality performance, TPR allows institutions to focus on self-selected themes that advance their mission, coordinate with their strategic planning and promote institutional improvement.
“TPR goes above and beyond a focus on compliance and requires quality improvement projects along one or more themes that are important to the institution,” said Doug Carlson, registrar and assistant vice chancellor for student information at UCSF, who served as accreditation liaison officer for the renewal.
UCSF’s chosen project was to improve tracking and reporting of career outcomes for UCSF graduates. The inspiration came from the Graduate Division’s efforts, beginning a few years earlier, to contact alumni and track whether they went into careers in academia, industry, government or other sectors. The Graduate Division is using this data to better align curriculum and career support services with students’ education and career goals.
For the TPR, UCSF expanded career outcome tracking to the entire campus, with each professional school customizing the tracking in ways meaningful to that school. The School of Dentistry, for example, might track what specialties students enter into or whether they go on to practice in underserved communities.
Overall, more systematic tracking of career outcomes will provide a clearer picture of the value of a UCSF education, said Carlson, including the many ways that alumni contribute to their communities and to California, whose taxpayers fund our students’ educations. The project is ongoing and aims to collect and share data that will translate into better support for students.
UCSF’s renewed accreditation is the culmination of several years of dedicated work, from project proposal in May 2018 to interviews with students, staff and faculty by the external review board this past October. WSCUC formally notified UCSF of its renewed accreditation on March 3, 2020, in a letter that included commendations and recommendations for further improvements.
“The commission’s response affirms the quality of UCSF’s education programs and our commitment to continuous improvement,” said Carlson. “It’s a celebration of many people’s work and a confirmation that we’re always committed to doing things better.”