News & Events

Sonny’s Observations

Jul. 4, 2018

Greetings from Redmond, Washington, where slowly, but surely, we are seeing signs of summer!

After six years of service as President Barack Obama’s appointee as the Director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) in Washington, DC, as of July 1, 2018, I have assumed the presidency of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

It’s a privilege to serve in this new role, and I look forward to supporting our member institutions’ goals of educational quality and institutional effectiveness, particularly as it relates to student success.

Since October 2017, many, if not all, of you engaged with Dr. Marlene Moore in her role as interim president of the Commission. In the ensuing eight months and with the support of the Commission’s Board and NWCCU staff, President Moore brought tremendous experience, knowledge, passion, and a can-do attitude that contributed to transformative changes in the operations of the Commission and in how NWCCU engages with its member institutions.

Dr. Moore’s leadership was critical for the successful “renewal of recognition” by the United States Department of Education’s National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity last May; similarly, Dr. Moore helped the Commission work towards recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, which we hope occurs soon.

Just this past week in June, NWCCU Commission Board Chair, Dr. Joseph Brimhall of the University of Western States, and Dr. Moore, with the help of Commission staff, skillfully executed the Commission’s summer meeting where a number of institutions were considered for first year candidacy, mid-cycle review, reaffirmation of accreditation, and other actions. The institutions will be informed soon of the actions. I have had the privilege of participating in all of the efforts since May, and Dr. Moore, Dr. Brimhall, and our incomparable staff and Commissioners have been mentoring me and helping me learn the ropes.

As we move forward, our member institutions will see the effect of the changes – large and small – in the accreditation process, communications, transparency, and engagement with the Commission. My intent as the incoming president is to ensure that we are responsive to the member institutions’ goals of educating students and contributing to our nation’s global preeminence.

Have a wonderful and safe summer, and Happy July 4!