PSU warned about accreditation issues
Portland State University officials were warned in late January that the school could face problems with its accreditation by a Northwest group.
In a Jan. 28 letter, Sonny Ramaswamy, president of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, warned PSU President Rahmat Shoureshi that the Portland college "is now out of compliance with the NWCCU Standards for Accreditation."
The PSU Vanguard newspaper reported Thursday, Feb. 21, that the commission's warning was echoed during a Feb. 4 Faculty Senate meeting by Provost Susan Jeffords.
The commission, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, provides regional college accreditation by peer schools. The group reviews standards and policies of more than 150 colleges and universities in eight Northwest states, including dozens of small private colleges in the region, Oregon community colleges, Oregon Health and Science University and the University of Oregon.
Accreditation means the university has met certain standards for its programs and degrees. The commission's work is done every seven years by volunteers who visit campuses to evaluate policies, programs, governance and other items. The PSU accreditation warning came during a mid-cycle review.
Ramaswamy's letter warned that PSU needed to resolve several issues that were brought to light in an Aug. 25, 2015, seven-year peer-evaluation report. According to the 276-page report, the group recommended that PSU better evaluate student learning outcomes for both undergraduate and graduate programs. The issue, known as Recommendation 2, was included in a March 1, 2017, self-evaluation report that outlined improved annual assessment steps taken by the university to meet the commission's standards.
Ramaswamy's January letter included a warning about progress on meeting the Recommendation 2 requirements. "The commission requires that Portland State University take appropriate action to ensure this recommendation is addressed and resolved in the prescribed two-year period," Ramaswamy wrote.
Colleges and universities that lose accreditation could face funding problems, and students might be unable to get federal or state financial aid. In addition, other schools are often reluctant to allow students to transfer from unaccredited institutions.