Fresno Pacific recently received two enormously important pieces of good news that were officially posted on the same day. The first notice, by WASC, our accrediting association, reaffirmed our institutional accreditation for seven more years. Among other benefits, accreditation independently verifies our educational quality related to our mission and our financial stability. Accreditation is the required foundation of our academic creditability and of our ability to participate in a wide variety of governmental and private-sector programs and associations on which our students and faculty depend. WASC accreditation is also required for us to belong to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), the association of evangelical universities that is uniquely important to our ongoing quest for excellence in Christ-centered and biblically faithful higher education.
The second major announcement was NCAA approval of our full active membership in Division II. The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) has three divisions, each with different philosophies and policies. Division II provides an excellent combination of rigorous academic and service standards, high-level athletic competition and strictly monitored athletic financial aid. Sports play an important role in the life of FPU. More than 20 percent of our traditional undergraduate students are varsity athletes, and about 25 percent of our President’s Scholars are athletes. NCAA Division II aligns well with our values, and many other member institutions in our Division II athletic conference, the PacWest, are fellow members of the CCCU.
Administrators, faculty and staff have been working hard for the last four years to achieve both of these goals. Naturally there was great rejoicing at FPU as these major decisions were announced. WASC accreditation is necessary if we are to be a creditable academic institution. NCAA membership is integral to producing well-rounded graduates who can succeed in a variety of situations—just as recognition by the National Association of Schools of Music will be as we build our performing arts center, our next major project. Both help Fresno Pacific pursue its mission to develop “students for leadership and service through excellence in Christian higher education.”