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Danbury’s WestConn Earns Praise With Accreditation Renewal

Photo Credit: File
Photo Credit: File

DANBURY, Conn. - The New England Association of Schools and Colleges has renewed the accreditation for Western Connecticut State University, certifying that the Danbury school remains in compliance with its rigorous standards.

The renewal came from the association’s Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.

In a letter dated June 4, Commission Chairman Jean Wyld informed Western President James Schmotter of the action taken on April 25 to continue the university’s accreditation.

The commission’s decision followed a two-year process of self-study conducted by the university community and a site visit to Western in fall 2013 by a NEASC team of faculty and administrators from colleges across New England. They submitted their report to the commission in November. Western has held NEASC accreditation continuously since 1957.

The commission commended the “comprehensive and well-written self-study” submitted by WCSU and noted with approval the university’s clear articulation of its mission and its open and transparent structure of shared governance. Wyld’s letter singled out a diversity of accomplishments since NEASC’s last major accreditation review of Western a decade ago, including the establishment of the School of Visual and Performing Arts, introduction of a new education doctoral program in instructional leadership, a 100 percent pass rate for WCSU nursing students in the state board examination, and adoption of a tiered, competency-based model for general education by the University Senate.

Wyld praised Western’s highly qualified faculty comprised of “active, engaged scholars and practitioners,” observing that the university’s mission is carried out successfully through “effective and excellent teaching.” The commission also recognized the university’s provision of a wide range of academic and student services.

In keeping with its policy requirements for periodic accreditation reviews, NEASC has requested Western to submit a fifth-year interim report for its consideration in fall 2018. The commission indicated that the interim report should give specific emphasis to achievement of enrollment, retention and graduation goals, assessment of student learning outcomes, implementation of the university’s strategic plan, and evaluation of the impact of higher education governance changes in the state of Connecticut. The commission also instructed the university to submit a separate report in spring 2016 to provide an update on the implementation of a new online doctorate in nursing education program that is being offered in a collaboration between WCSU and Southern Connecticut State University.

NEASC has scheduled its next comprehensive evaluation of WCSU for fall 2023.

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