Every ten years, Caltech participates in an intensive review in order to re-affirm our accreditation. The Department of Education requires that institutions receiving government funding explain everything from the governance structure of an institution to teaching practices in the classroom. This process of self-examination, which is currently underway,provides us with an opportunity to evaluate how well we are achieving the goals we set for ourselves, and the expectations that the accrediting agency -- the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) – has established for institutions of higher education.
Our goals are outlined in Caltech’s mission statement: “The mission of the California Institute of Technology is to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education. We investigate the most challenging, fundamental problems in science and technology in a singularly collegial, interdisciplinary atmosphere, while educating outstanding students to become creative members of society.”
The goals WASC sets for institutions include the following: 1) defining institutional purposes and ensuring educational objectives; 2) achieving educational objectives through core functions; 3) developing and applying resources and organizational structures to ensure quality and sustainability; and 4) creating an organization committed to quality assurance, institutional learning, and improvement.
To be reaccredited, we must demonstrate how our mission fulfills the criteria established by WASC. Full community participation is crucial to the success of the accreditation process. To this end, we ask that you go to the accreditation page on the Caltech website (accreditation.caltech.edu) and see the committees that have been assembled, the timeline, the core learning outcomes, and the institutional themes, developed in 2018, that faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and staff thought were particularly important for us to assess. These themes are 1) the core curriculum and 2) academic and co-curricular support structures. On behalf of the accreditation steering committee, I encourage you to provide feedback about any aspect of the accreditation process by using this link: http://accreditation.caltech.edu/contact-us/provide-feedback. Thank you.