Accreditation at SFU
SFU has been granted formal accreditation, effective September 1, 2015 by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), an independent, non-profit agency.
The NWCCU is one of six independent regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate the quality and institutional effectiveness of post-secondary institutions. Simon Fraser is accredited by a U.S. agency because Canada doesn’t have a comparable institutional accreditation body.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation allows an assessment by our peers (educators and researchers) who have the same aspirations to high standards as we have at Simon Fraser University. Currently, SFU has certain programs or faculties that have attained specific academic accreditation relating to their field.
What is the NWCCU?
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities is a non-governmental, non-profit, membership organization, overseeing regional accreditation for over 160 institutions in the seven-state Northwest region – Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington – and for a limited number of institutions outside the U.S. Its decision-making body consists of up to 24 Commissioners – institutional representatives and public members – a chair and the President, who is ex-officio. Click here for its accrediation standards.
What are the benefits?
SFU is the first Canadian post-secondary research intensive university to be accredited.
Benefits of accreditation include:
- Increase accountability - through regular external assessments of our adherence to best-practice standards.
- Set clear benchmarks - Establish clearer benchmarks/standards for assessing educational goals and students’ learning experiences.
- Enhance the value of an SFU degree, locally and internationally.
- Build relationships - Strategically build our relationships with U.S. institutions, including government, foundations and collegiate sports associations.
- Foster public confidence - in our ability to adhere to our stated vision and goals.
Does accreditation affect academic freedom at SFU?
The NWCCU does not expect or ask any institution to change its policies regarding academic freedom.
What is the term of Simon Fraser University's accreditation?
Accreditation is an ongoing status that must be reaffirmed periodically. Now that SFU has achieved initial accreditation with the NWCCU, it enters into a seven-year cycle that consists of regular reporting and peer reviews. A decision regarding reaffirmation of accreditation takes place at the conclusion of the seven-year cycle.
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