Merced Center Substantive Change

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We hosted a WSCUC visitor to our Merced Regional Center this week to complete our “substantive change” application process approval.  The application was submitted last Fall, approved officially in January, and the last step was the visit by a colleague from the University of San Francisco, who is a member of the WSCUC Substantive Change committee.  The Sub Change committee receives applications for approval of changes in the work of a university.

Some of the more regular changes that require a “substantive change” approval are the opening of a regional center (as was the case in this week), a new online degree, and an academic program in a new degree level (for example when we first develop a doctoral program).  There are others, but these are some of the more usual. 

I am more than happy to report that the visit was very positive. Our visitor used words like “impressed,” “affirmation,” offered commendations for our “thoughtfulness and thoroughness” in planning for the visit.  And he praised our “collegiality,” “collaboration” and “creativity,” and he enjoyed the good humor of the team.  We will receive a “draft report” within two weeks to which we will respond to correct any “errors of fact.” 

There were nine separate sessions.  We were asked questions about how we support students, our assessment program (he liked the Assessment Cycle poster), how the center works, the mission of the university and how the regional centers are a part of it, our faculty, relation to the community, relationships with Merced College and UC Merced, our plans for expansion (and contraction if needed), and many more. WSCUC wants to see that we successfully carry out our mission, that students achieve the outcomes we establish for our academic programs, and that we administer and support students and faculty through the process. 

Planning for a visit from WSCUC and producing the reports required for the process are not easy tasks.  We were over-prepared, but that is the best way to be. And we had a large number of us there—education is a team sport.  Let me thank a number of people who worked on the project and were there for the visit:

  • Cindy Steel and Carroll Gossett who wrote much of the original report and were part of the process from beginning to end.
  • Linda Pryce-Sheehan who wrote the follow-up report and planned the schedule for the visit.
  • Cynthia Kaitfors, Laura Randal, Christina Perez (also a graduate student), Krista Saxon, and Dwayne Jones (IT) at the Merced Center.
  • Cindy Carter, representing DC programs as a whole and DC and Grad program directors Breck Harris, Carol Gossett, Allen Carden, and Linda Hoff.
  • And a very enthusiastic student services group, about half present in Merced and half by V-CON: Alan Ours, Cindy Steele, Faythe Perea, Linda Pryce-Sheehan, Dwayne Jones, Anne Guenther, Krista Saxon, Brian Taylor, Jonathan McCorkell (writing tutor and student), Angulus Wilson, Bethany Rader, Shirley Warkentin, Dahne Watson, Dave Watson, Melinda Gunning, Alicia Andrade, Stephanie Marriott, Fran Friesen.
  • The Advisory Committee for Early Childhood, with representative from Head Start and the Merced County Office of Education, and students Christian Perez, Jonathan McCorkell and Juanita Burns.

Thank you to all for representing Fresno Pacific so well.

This was a test run for our “Capacity” visit next March, when we will have 5-6 visiting WSCUC representatives. Then we will have two and a half full days of visits, probably on all of our campuses.  They will speak with representatives of all parts of the university.  We will have submitted a 70-85 page report, with hundreds of exhibits and pieces of evidence.  It is an intense and instructive time, and one that brings us all together on a common project. It will be here sooner than we think.

Thanks again to all who brought us through this small report and brief visit.

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