SFSU also earned high marks for its efforts in academic excellence, addressing student needs and strategic planning from the nine-member visiting team from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
After the WASC team's four-day visit this spring, it described SFSU as "an energetic, dynamic university involved in revitalizing its urban mission. It is an engaged university that genuinely cares about its community. It is an ethnically and racially diverse university where composition of its students, faculty and staff mirrors that of its surrounding geographical areas."
Chaired by William DeLauder, president of Delaware State University, the team was charged with examining four areas: planning and administration; academic excellence; teaching, learning and community orientation; and diversity, internationalization and user-friendliness.
In the recently released report, the team concluded the University "seeks to continue to evolve with its community, recognizing community's needs, and providing education designed to bring that community, and its students to the highest possible level of achievement."
"We are delighted that the WASC team recognizes the strengths of San Francisco State and the many benefits offered to our students, faculty, staff and greater community," Corrigan said. "The team reaffirms what many on campus and in the community already know: contributions by students and faculty on and off campus reflect the University's spirit of service and innovation as well as research and academic excellence."
Like other public and private four-year universities and colleges across the country, the University's programs and services are reviewed every decade to reaffirm its accreditation. The reviewers are administrators and faculty members from colleges and universities nationwide.
The WASC team commended SFSU's focus on community service learning, defined as the integration of academic study and community involvement. The University offers more than 100 courses in 41 academic departments that incorporate community service into the curriculum and have inspired a new generation of students to actively involve themselves in their communities. Through the Office of Community Service Learning and the Community Involvement Center, students have the opportunity to gain course credit by volunteering at any of 750 community organizations.
In addition, SFSU has established hundreds of partnerships and outreach programs, including more than 400 community projects with K-12 schools such as Step to College, in which underrepresented minority high school seniors take college-level courses taught by SFSU faculty and receive mentoring and tutoring, and the America Reads Challenge, a nationwide program in which SFSU students tutor children in reading to ensure their ability to read at grade level. The University also has partnered with the business community to conduct town meetings and workshops on such topics as the digital divide and urban transportation.
The report noted the presence of CSU Distinguished Scholar Thomas Ehrlich, a nationally recognized service learning expert, on campus from 1995 to 2000, as a catalyst in enhancing the development of service learning courses. Since 1997, SFSU has served as headquarters for California Campus Compact, a statewide association of more than 55 colleges and universities that promotes the development of community service learning strategies.
The WASC team also singled out the University's efforts in orientation, advising, counseling, and support of incoming and continuing students. "Coupled with its new and improved offices and administrative facilities, SFSU is making noteworthy progress in bringing online one of the nation's state-of-the-art models for the admission, retention and matriculation of a diverse urban student body," the report states.
The team commended SFSU for developing a teaching evaluation form to be used campuswide. The report states "the resulting instrument shows promise as a model for the California State University."
While much praise was given to SFSU, the team also highlighted areas where the University should focus its efforts. Those recommendations include: improving communication between all members of the campus community, developing criteria that defines the quality of graduate programs, prioritizing assessment in budget decisions, placing more importance on student learning, providing added support and training for department chairs, and aggressively pursuing renovation and expansion plans for the J. Paul Leonard Library.
To view the entire WASC report visit: www.sfsu.edu/~acadplan/wascteamreport.htm.
| Public Affairs Offices/Campus News
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