University Accreditation Overview
The University of Nevada, Reno is accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. NWCCU is an independent, non-profit membership organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as the regional authority on educational quality and institutional effectiveness of higher education institutions in the seven-state Northwest region of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
The NWCCU defines accreditation as "a voluntary, non-governmental, self-regulatory process of quality assurance and institutional improvement." An institution of higher learning that is accredited is one that undergoes a continuous process of self-evaluation and that meets the standards of its accrediting agency, as determined by peer review. Accreditation applies to all academic units of the university and their degree programs and courses and requires a review of all aspects of the university's mission.
Over a seven-year cycle, the university is required to examine its mission, goals, operations, and achievements as these relate to the five standards of the NWCCU. The schedule for review is as follows:
- Year One: Standard One (Mission, Core Themes, and Expectations)
- Mid-Cycle (Year Three): Standard Two (Resources and Capacity)
- Year Seven: Standards Three (Planning and Implementation), Four (Effectiveness and Improvement), and Five (Mission Fulfillment, Adaptation, and Sustainability)
The university submits a self-study at each stage of this review process, and in the seventh year it prepares a comprehensive self-study that examines the fulfillment of its mission and core themes. Upon reading these self-studies (and visiting the campus in the seventh year), the peer reviewers assigned by the NWCCU articulate their commendations and recommendations that will help inform university planning for the future.