NWCCU Fellowships

NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellowship

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) fosters through its accreditation standards, policies, and eligibility standards a process of continuous quality improvement centered around the fulfillment of each member institution’s unique mission. NWCCU’s unique accreditation model allowing institutions to define their mission; core themes; and meaningful, assessable, and verifiable indicators of achievement that form the basis for evaluating mission fulfillment respects the diversity of institutions within the region and their methods of educational delivery, culture, and measures of student achievement.[1]

NWCCU’s Mission Fulfillment Fellowship prepares higher education leaders to advance institutional mission fulfillment and quality initiatives through assessment, reflection, and planning. The Fellowship is designed to introduce aspiring leaders to regional and national leaders in assessment, accreditation, data analysis, quality assurance, educational innovation, and educational effectiveness – and Fellows are expected to work in pairs of institutional partners to produce a final project advancing their institution’s practices quality improvement activities.

The Fellowship’s curriculum includes two three-day residential experiences, on-line and hands-on experiential activities, and a final project designed to advance the Mission Fulfillment of the Fellows’ own institutions. Fellowship materials and presenters are selected to offer Fellows a wide range of subject matter, including: the role of assessment in institutional planning and decision-making, the use of data and analytics to demonstrate and guide institutional mission fulfillment, creating a culture of institutional evidence and excellence, engaging with faculty to support institutional advancement, the use of technology to support institutional efforts, creating systems of ongoing quality improvement, and how national and regional policy shapes institutional practice.

Fellowship Requirements

The Fellowship is open to faculty, staff, and administrators who are committed to:

The process and the value of quality assurance, continuous improvement, and mission fulfillment.
Developing expertise in the practices and philosophies of assessment.
Advancing one’s institutional practices and expertise around assessment, retention, student success, and institutional measures of quality.

Fellowship Outcomes

Graduates of the NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellowship will be able to:

Apply effective assessment practices across a variety of institutional settings.
Analyze, interpret, and integrate data into institutional planning and accreditation processes.
Analyze institutional activities and collaborate with stakeholders to advance student learning, student achievement, and mission fulfillment.
Build a culture of engagement and quality at the institutional level through the process of understanding, analyzing, communicating, and facilitating with key stakeholders.

NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellowship Curriculum

  • Unit One – The Value of Quality Improvement Practices
    History of Quality Improvement, Assessment, and Accreditation
    Current Trends in Higher Education
    The Value of Quality
    Mission Fulfillment and Putting Students at the Center
  • Unit Two – Assessing Student Learning
    Articulating Goals and Learning Outcomes
    Curriculum Mapping & Alignment
    Direct and Indirect Assessment Techniques and Instruments
    Types and Quality of Evidence
    Understanding and Using Recent Research on Student Learning and Success
    Analyzing Assessment Results
    Summarizing Assessment Results
    Supporting Assessment Work with Appropriate Resources
    Varying Levels of Assessment (General Education, CTE, et cetera)
    Assessing Student Learning in Graduate and Co-Curricular Programs
  • Unit Three – Assessing Institutional Effectiveness
    Setting Appropriately Rigorous and Meaningful Standards and Targets
    Indicators of Achievement for Institutional Mission
    Indicators of Student learning Achievement: Rubrics, Tests, Published Instruments (other than NSSE), and Qualitative Measures
    Setting Appropriately Rigorous and Meaningful Standards and Targets
    Organizing Assessment Work for Systematic Evaluation
    Supporting Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment with Appropriate Resources
    Connecting learning Goals and Assessments Across Levels (Course, Program, Degree, and Institution)
    Aligning Institutional and Unit Goals and Assessments
    Effective (Good Quality, Valid, Reliable) Assessment Practices, Including Sampling
    Rubrics and Performance Assessment
    Presenting Data and Sharing Results with Constituencies
  • Unit Four – Mission Fulfillment and Quality Improvement
    Theories of Leadership and Change
    Building Institutional Buy-In
    Stewardship: Keeping Assessment Work Cost Effective, With Appropriate Benefit
    Understanding Organizational Challenges & Cultures
    Facilitating Change in Higher Education
    Best Practices in Retention, Graduation, and Mission Fulfillment
    Exploring Institutional Practices in Private, Public, and For-Profit Institutions
    Understanding Institutional Diversity and Appreciating Difference
    Utilizing Technology To Drive Improvement
    Applying Mission Fulfillment Principles During a Period of Change
    Building a Culture of Excellence

The Final Project

NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellows will present a final project applying mission fulfillment best practices to an institutional challenge/opportunity at their institution. The two (2) Fellows from each institution will collaborate and present a single project. By analyzing, interpreting, and integrating data into institutional planning, the Fellows are expected to facilitate a collaborative solution with internal stakeholders to advance student learning, student achievement, and mission fulfillment within the Fellows’ own institution.

Institutional Visits

NWCCU Fellows are required to participate in an observation role with two (2) other institutions. The institutions can be tribal, two-year, four-year, private, public, or faith-based (and either within or outside of the region). The visits are an opportunity to assess the practices and capacity of institutions, and to bring back and apply best practices to the Fellow’s own institution. Fellows will be required to write-up two (2) three-page summaries of their visits.

Tuition and Associated Costs

Tuition cost for the NWCCU Fellowship is $4900 per Fellow (which covers all seminars, webinars, and meals during Fellowship events). Participating institutions that wish to send more than the required two (2) Fellows, or who wish to send only one, should contact the Fellowship Director (Mac Powell, mpowell@nwccu.org). In addition, Fellows will meet in person for two four-day residential programs and will be responsible for their overnight food and lodging costs (approximately $500).

The University of Puget Sound will host the inaugural residential gathering in June 2020 and the final three-day residential experience will take place in March 2021 at a site to be determined. More information about the University of Puget Sound’s conference settings and accommodations are available at https://www.pugetsound.edu/about/offices-services/conference-services/. A special conference rate for overnight lodging is available.

To apply, please contact Fellowship Director Mac Powell (mpowell@nwccu.org).

[1] https://www.nwccu.org/accreditation/standards-policies/standards/





NWCCU Academy for Retention, Completion, and Student Success

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) fosters through its accreditation standards, policies, and eligibility standards a process of continuous quality improvement centered around student success and the fulfillment of each member institution’s unique mission. The process of revising the NWCCU Standards of Accreditation and Eligibility Requirements has highlighted and expanded a renewed focus on student learning and student achievement – the driving measure of institutional success.

The NWCCU Academy for Retention, Completion, and Student Success (ARCSS) is a mentored experiential learning platform to support institutions and faculty in their efforts to promote student success.

Initially, ARCSS will bring together 20 institutions and their representatives in a two-year program designed to support efforts around retention, completion, and the use of data to create and deploy interventions that can drive positive institutional results, particularly with students from underrepresented groups.

ARCSS will comprise four phases: Information Gathering, Planning, Action, and Assessment.

In the Information Gathering Phase, Academy faculty will create resources from around the United States and other countries on best practices to promote transformative support at the institution by providing expertise and model practices in retention, completion, and student achievement, and ask institutional representatives to provide current and actionable data on ongoing, planned, and diverted activities occurring on their campuses.

In the Planning Phase, institutional representatives will be paired with peer institutions that are excelling in student success and work with Academy faculty to establish a plan for creating and executing one or more interventions appropriate to institutional mission and context.

In the Action Phase, institutional representatives, with continued mentorship of Academy faculty and NWCCU staff, will help lead activities at their institutions supported and funded by institutional leadership.

In the Assessment Phase, Academy faculty will support evaluative analysis and sharing of data to guide institutional decision-making around future efforts.

Onsite and Online Collaboration

Participants in the Retention, Completion, and Student Success Academy will meet for one day preceding the 2019 NWCCU Annual Conference, participate in monthly webinars and facilitated mentored activities, and present their results at the 2020 NWCCU Annual Conference.

Costs and Fees

Because NWCCU believes that the majority of funds for student success should be spent directly on campus activities, the two-year Retention, Completion, and Student Success Academy is offered at a price of $5000 per institution. This amount covers the cost of two onsite hosted meetings, webinars, online classroom instruction, mentor salaries, and faculty salaries.

Institutions may identify up to 10 participants to participate in the onsite and online collaboration, but all representatives are expected to attend all onsite and online events.

Outcomes and Deliverables

Institutions are expected to identify, fund, implement, and assess a program designed to impact retention, completion, or another element of student achievement aligned with the institutional mission and strategic priorities.

A final written report on the results of the practices employed is required and interested institutions will be given the opportunity to present the results at the 2020 NWCCU Annual Conference; in future years, institutions will be availed the opportunity to mentor other institutions.


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