On March 3, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) reaffirmed the Naval Postgraduate School’s (NPS) overall effectiveness by reaccrediting the university for the next ten years, the maximum a university can achieve.
As a deliverer of technological and intellectual advantage for American seapower, receiving the maximum 10-year accreditation demonstrates that NPS provides a top-tier education and learning environment to future leaders throughout the Navy, Marine Corps and beyond.
On the heels of the accreditation, affirming the results, NPS received high marks in the latest “U.S. News and World Report” graduate school rankings, released this week. Programs in Graduate Schools of Defense Management (GSDM) and Engineering and Applied Sciences (GSEAS) were recognized.
Ranked #1 in the specialty category of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, GSDM also ranked in the top 25 percent of graduate schools across the nation for public affairs and is accredited by the Network of Schools of Public Policy, Affairs and Administration (NASPAA). Also breaking the top 100, GSEAS engineering programs were ranked 93rd (five way tie) out of 221 total schools nationwide. Programs specifically mentioned include Aerospace/Aeronautical/Astronautical, Electrical and Systems Engineering.
According to NPS President retired Vice Adm. Ann E. Rondeau, NPS is the Navy’s applied research university, which makes it a unique place among our nation’s accredited universities.
“The one thing we do differently than anywhere else is solve complex defense problems leveraging the research-based, graduate education process,” said Rondeau. “The WSCUC team was tremendously impressed at what they saw, heard and experienced about our university. They commended everyone’s passion for the NPS mission and the academic advancement of students, and the distinctive and forward-looking education we provide our students through innovative programs of study and research.
“With this re-accreditation, NPS will not just continue its unique mission, but advance its mission,” continued Rondeau. “We will advance deeper into preparing technology leaders and solutions to Naval and national security problems. NPS is a very special place to learn, teach and work, and we will continue to fulfill the Navy’s mandate and our own vision of being the finest graduate institution available to our military men and women and DoD partners.”
As Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Dr. Doug Moses noted, the accreditation process is a quality assurance process.
“[Accreditation] is external academics coming in and reviewing how we operate,” said Moses. “They assess us to provide some assurance that we have high-quality academic programs that are serving the needs of our students. While there's areas that we certainly want to put attention to get even better, we were told we are a high performing university.”
While NPS has received the 10-year accreditation multiple times in the past, this achievement comes with another, prestigious designation for the university. NPS was one of eight schools selected by WSCUC, the same agency that accredits other top-tier universities like Stanford and Cal Tech, to participate in the first-ever Thematic Pathway for Reaffirmation (TPR). This streamlined approach was made available only to high-performing institutions.
According to WSCUC, TPR is an alternative accreditation renewal pathway designed for institutions that demonstrate consistent evidence of healthy fiscal condition, strong student achievement indicators, and sustained quality performance. This new path is as rigorous as the regular institutional review with a special timeline during which institutions can focus on self-selected themes that advance their mission, coordinate with their strategic planning, and promote institutional improvement.
“This tells an onlooker that we have a strong level and quality of education at NPS,” said Dr. Mary Sims, Associate Dean of Academics and Accreditation Liaison Officer. “It tells them that we have been doing things in a forward-looking manner for a long time. It tells them that if they come here, they're going to get a quality outcome. Their degree has real meaning and real prestige based on what independent accreditors believe that we are capable of, and our rankings support their assessment.”