Accreditation at SFU

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With no comparable national quality-assurance organization in Canada, SFU has applied for formal accreditation in the United States from the Washington-based Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU).

The NWCCU is one of six independent regional agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate post-secondary educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions.

The independent, non-profit NWCCU accepted SFU’s application for candidacy in January 2009. The full accreditation process, which is based on a series of SFU self-assessments and NWCCU member peer reviews, will take between five and seven years to complete.

Upon completion, SFU will become the first major Canadian post-secondary research university to be so accredited.

Among the benefits of accreditation:

  • Regular external assessment of SFU's adherence to best-practice standards will increase our accountability to stakeholders.
  • Accreditation will help establish clearer benchmarks/standards for assessing learning outcomes and thus benefit students’ learning experiences.
  • Accreditation will enhance the value of an SFU degree for alumni abroad and for international students returning home.
  • Accreditation will simplify our relationships with US institutions, including government, foundations and collegiate sports associations. 
  • Accreditation will foster public confidence in SFU's ability to fulfill its stated mission and goals.

Effective January 11, 2012 the Northwest Commission on Colleges and
Universities approved SFU as a Candidate for Accreditation at the doctoral degree level. "Candidate for Accreditation" is a status of affiliation with the NWCCU which indicates that the institution has achieved initial recognition and is progressing toward accreditation.

During the candidacy period, which could last up to five years, SFU will submit annual reports to the NWCCU and host periodic site visits from an evaluation committee. If successful, the end of the process will be SFU’s accreditation. Then begins a regular seven-year cycle of annual reports on individual cycles, with two visits from the NWCCU in the seven years. Each seven-year cycle will conclude with a full Self Evaluation and re-accreditation.

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