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Accreditation Group Takes Action : National University Put on Probation

July 22, 1987|GENE YASUDA | Times Staff Writer

National University has been placed on probation by the Western Assn. of Schools and Colleges (WASC), which cited the school's rapid growth as detrimental to the quality of its educational programs, an association official said Tuesday.

Ralph Wolff, associate executive director of the independent accreditation agency, said the probation, apparently designed to limit the university's growth, is scheduled to last until June 30, 1989.

National University will immediately appeal the probation, said the school's public relations director, Arleen Tuchscher.

"We believe the (association) has erred in its judgment to place the university on probation," said a statement released by the university. "We will immediately ask for a review of the decision, as is our right under WASC rules.

"In the meantime, we will continue with our mission, which is innovative delivery of education to working adults near where they work or live. We do not expect the WASC action to have a negative effect on the staff nor the students that attend our campuses."

The university was established by its current president, David Chigos, in 1971, starting with 27 students, Tuchscher said. Since then the university has expanded to 12 campuses throughout the state and has an enrollment of 13,000 students, she said.

But such booming growth has been tempered over the years with criticism from some in the education community, who have accused the university of being a "diploma mill." The institution has also been maligned by criticism that it has minimal admission standards and few full-time faculty members.

The latter fault was the basis for the university being placed on probation in 1980 for the first time. The university was also placed on probation for a few months last year, Wolff said.

The association, under terms of the probation, has denied the university's request to initiate doctoral-level programs or initiate new degree programs; restricted the school from building new campuses and learning centers, and turned down the institution's request to offer additional degree programs at its Southern Nevada and Costa Rica campus.

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