WASC Accreditation Review

As part of the College’s reaccreditation process that takes place every 10 years, a team of nine higher education experts from the Western Association of Schools & Colleges (WASC) visited the campus last week. As WASC team chair, Robert J. Dostal-provost of Bryn Mawr College-stated, "We’re here to be a mirror to you about yourselves." The group met with faculty, students, and staff during their four days on campus, and, at the end of the week, presented an open session for the Scripps community to briefly discuss their findings. The College will receive a detailed report of the WASC committee’s findings in the next several months.

Summary of findings
The team was very impressed with what they deemed "the brightness, energy, and liveliness of the students here, the commitment and thoughtfulness of the faculty, the loyal and hardworking staff, and the vision and leadership of the institution." Chair Robert Dostal shared the observation that "this is not a complacent institution-there is evidence of good hard critical thinking about where you are and where you want to go."

Comparison with WASC visit findings 10 years ago
The team made comparisons based on findings from the WASC review conducted in 1992. "It’s very clear that Scripps has made great progress in the course of the last 10 years," said Robert Dostal. He cited specifically that Scripps has incorporated planning into the ongoing work of the College; Scripps has become more confident and clearer about its identity as a college for women; the College has taken a number of important steps toward enhancing its academic reputation (e.g. the Core, Joint Science); the College has put into place a number of things to strengthen community-the Core, Commons, and number of student life programs; and the College has made some good efforts on the diversity front.

The WASC team made a number of suggestions as to how to further strengthen the College. First, on the issue of diversity, they suggested that while Scripps has made some good faith efforts on increasing diversity on campus, "you have a ways to go." They cited specifically that recruitment and retention of African American women has not been strong. They also pointed out that there are differing perceptions among different constituencies at the College as to "where you’re at" on the issue of diversity.

In other areas, the WASC team suggested that the College’s strategic planning would profit from more in-depth, qualitative, and comparative research, and that Scripps will need to make adjustments to its financial plan in the wake of September 11 and other economic realities.

In academic areas, the team asked the question, "Could Core address more explicitly/directly questions about women?" They suggested that in the hiring of new faculty, we sustain the excitement and commitment regarding Core, and that we continue to face the question of balance among the disciplines at Scripps.