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NWCCU Mission Fulfillment & Sustainability Fellowship

The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU) fosters through its accreditation standards, policies, and eligibility standards a process of continuous quality improvement centered around student success and the fulfillment of each member institution’s unique mission. NWCCU’s unique accreditation model allowing institutions to define their mission and meaningful, assessable, and verifiable indicators of achievement that form the basis for evaluating mission fulfillment respects the diversity of institutions within the region and their methods of educational delivery, culture, and measures of student learning and achievement.

NWCCU’s Mission Fulfillment & Sustainability Fellowship prepares higher education leaders to advance institutional mission fulfillment and quality initiatives through assessment, reflection, and planning. The Fellowship is designed to introduce faculty, staff, and administrators from NWCCU institutions to regional and national leaders in equity-mindedness, assessment, accreditation, data analysis, quality assurance, educational innovation, and educational effectiveness – and Fellows are expected to work in pairs of institutional partners to produce a final project advancing their institution’s planning and assessment practices and quality improvement activities with regard to equity, student learning, and/or student achievement.

The Fellowship’s curriculum includes two three-day residential experiences (virtual, if residential experiences are not safely possible), attendance at NWCCU’s Annual Conference, online and hands-on experiential activities, and a final project designed to advance the Mission Fulfillment of the Fellows’ own institutions. Fellowship materials and presenters are selected to offer Fellows a wide range of subject-matter, including: the role of assessment in institutional planning and decision-making, the use of data and analytics to demonstrate and guide increased equity and institutional mission fulfillment, creating a culture of institutional evidence and excellence, engaging with faculty to support institutional advancement, the use of technology to support institutional efforts, creating systems of ongoing quality improvement, and how national and regional policy shapes institutional practice. Fellows will also be matched with a peer mentor from a prior Fellowship Cohort, if desired, and placed in small-group peer Communities of Practice based on the final project area selected.

Fellowship Requirements

The Fellowship is open to faculty, staff, and administrators who are committed to:

  • The process and the value of quality assurance, continuous improvement, and mission fulfillment.
  • Developing expertise in the philosophies and practices of assessment.
  • Advancing one’s institutional practices and expertise around assessment, retention, student success, and institutional measures of quality with an equity lens.

In addition to the payment of program tuition, demonstrated institutional support for the Fellows is required in the form of a Leadership Champion approving the team’s application, time to complete Fellowship learning and activities, and campus collaboration in completion of the final project as needed.

Fellowship Outcomes

Graduates of the NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellowship will be able to:

  • Apply effective assessment practices across a variety of institutional settings.
  • Analyze, interpret, and integrate data into institutional planning, evaluation, improvement, and accreditation processes.
  • Analyze institutional activities with an equity lens and collaborate with stakeholders to advance student learning, student success/achievement, and mission fulfillment.
  • Build a culture of engagement and quality at the institutional level through the process of understanding, analyzing, communicating, and facilitating with key stakeholders.

NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellowship Curriculum

Unit One – The Purpose, Value, and Context of Mission Fulfillment and Quality Improvement

  • History of Quality Improvement, Assessment, and Accreditation
  • Current Trends in Higher Education
  • The Value of Quality
  • Mission Fulfillment and Putting Students at the Center

Unit Two – Introduction to Assessing Student Learning

  • Articulating Goals and Learning Outcomes
  • Curriculum Mapping & Alignment
  • Overview of Tools and Strategies to Assess Student Learning
  • Quality of Student Learning Tools and Strategy

Unit Three – Introduction to Assessing Mission Fulfillment

  • An Institutional Effectiveness Framework for Mission Fulfillment
  • Indicators of Achievement for Institutional Mission
  • Connecting Mission Fulfillment, Institutional Effectiveness, and Planning
  • Aligning Institutional and Unit Goals and Assessments
  • Applying Effective Assessment Practices Across the Institution

Unit Four – Building a Culture of Engagement, Evidence, and Excellence

  • Theories of Leadership and Change
  • Building Institutional Engagement
  • Stewardship: Keeping Assessment Work Cost Effective, With Appropriate Benefit
  • Utilizing Technology to Drive Improvement
  • Applying Mission Fulfillment Principles During a Period of Change
  • Building a Culture of Equity & Excellence

Unit Five – Building Ongoing, Integrated Quality Improvement Processes

  • Setting Appropriately Rigorous and Meaningful Standards and Targets
  • Organizing Assessment Work for Systematic Evaluation
  • Supporting Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment with Appropriate Resources
  • Presenting Data and Sharing Results with Constituencies

Unit Six – Mission Fulfillment and Quality Improvement

  • Organizational Challenges & Cultures
  • Facilitating Change in Higher Education
  • Exploring Institutional Practices in Private, Public, and For-Profit Institutions
  • Respecting Institutional Diversity and Appreciating Difference

The Final Project

NWCCU Mission Fulfillment Fellows will present a final project applying mission fulfillment best practices to an existing institutional challenge/opportunity at their institution. The two (2) Fellows from each institution will collaborate and present a single project that analyzes, interprets, and integrates data into their own institutions’ planning, facilitating a collaborative solution with internal stakeholders to advance equitable student learning, student achievement, and mission fulfillment within the Fellows’ institution.

The project should include a description of the challenge or opportunity experienced at the Fellows’ institution (and the historical context), reflection upon current literature and best practices, and a discussion and analysis of the implementation efforts employed during the Fellowship. Finally, the project should offer a reflection upon how the solutions brought to bear on the opportunity/challenge could be applied to wider contexts or different institutional challenges.

Institutional Visits

NWCCU Fellows are required to participate in an observational site visit to two (2) other institutions. The institutions can be tribal, two-year, four-year, private, public, or faith-based from within or outside of the region. The visits are an opportunity to assess the practices and capacity of institutions, and to bring back and apply best practices to the Fellow’s own institution. Fellows will be required to write up two (2) three-page summaries that explore the practices of the observed institutions and how they can be applied to the Fellow’s own institution.

Tuition and Associated Costs

  • Tuition cost for the NWCCU Fellowship is $4,900 per Fellow. This covers all seminars and webinars, onsite accommodations/food for the in-person 2024 June Seminar at the University of Puget Sound, and general registration for the 2024 NWCCU Annual Conference. A limited number of $1,000 scholarships are available for accepted Fellows. An invitation to request scholarship support will be included in the letters of acceptance sent to each institutional team of Fellows and their Leadership Champion.
  • Fellows’ institutions are responsible for travel to all convenings and for their overnight food and lodging costs at the 2024 NWCCU Annual Conference in Seattle and 2025 March Seminar at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Each of these convenings will include three days of on-site speakers and cohort-based activities.
  • Institutions that wish to send more than the required two (2) Fellows, or who wish to send only one, should contact us.

For more information, please contact Heather Bennett, Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Compliance at or Dr. Gita Bangera, Senior Vice President at

Apply Now!

NWCCU Data Equity Fellowship

For complete details on the Data Equity Fellowship, please visit its website at or contact Dr. Jess Stahl at

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