Northwest Commission reaffirms APU accreditation, includes year-old PsyD

Alaska Pacific University has earned reaccreditation from the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities following a self-study and comprehensive site visit.

The Commission’s Year-Three Resources and Capacity Peer Evaluation Report contained three commendations and five recommendations. The commendations acknowledged leadership for confronting [APU’s] financial situation; faculty for their commitment to active learning and student success; and staff for their commitment to student learning and community development.

“We have come a long way,” Bantz said, crediting work completed in May at a university-wide strategic planning summit.

Bantz said a new Strategic Plan, adopted by the Board of Trustees following the summit, was a first step in addressing recommendations attached to APU’s reaccreditation.

“We have a good deal of work to do,” the APU president said. “That work will commence in earnest as the academic year is upon us.”

The commission found APU in substantial compliance with criteria for accreditation, including the Psychology Doctorate program, which admitted its first cohort last year. APU’s PsyD is the only program of its kind in Alaska and attracts practitioners seeking an applied clinical doctorate degree.

Northwest evaluators have recommended that APU

  • develop a thorough response involving qualitative or quantitative measures to fulfilling the university mission
  • review academic programs to ensure content and rigor to ensure all programs have adequate resources
  • incorporate outcomes of general university requirement courses as part of an integrated university-wide assessment plan
  • complete an economic assessment of programs and services as APU seeks to regain financial stability
  • establish direct performance indicators related to the Sustainability Core Theme, including community partnerships and APU’s Spring Creek Farm at the Kellogg Campus in Palmer

Bantz said a financial resources report due in May 2014 is being undertaken to respond to the economic assessment recommendation. A report due in spring 2015 will address the other items.

Alaska Pacific University offers two-year, four-year, master’s and doctorate degrees, each emphasizing student leadership, creativity and self-direction. APU is Alaska’s only private, four-year baccalaureate liberal arts university.