UDLA receives international accreditation through WASC

UDLAPark campus

UDLA becomes the only university in Ecuador with U.S. accreditation

Adding to its reputation as one of the top universities in Ecuador, the University of the Americas (UDLA) has received international accreditation through the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC). UDLA is the only university in Ecuador with U.S. accreditation and one of only nine universities in all of Latin America with this designation.

The lengthy accreditation process took place in several stages that began in 2010 when UDLA authorities first set U.S. accreditation as a goal. After five years of applications, self-study, reports, close scrutiny and visits by WSCUC,  UDLA’s accreditation was finally approved in February 2016. This designation will be valid for six years.

Obtaining accreditation is historic for the Ecuadorian educational system,” said Carlos Larreátegui, UDLA’s rector. “The changes and adjustments UDLA has made during these past five years during the accreditation process have contributed to our higher level of educational quality,” he added.

“Being part of this group of accredited universities will allow UDLA to secure new international alliances and strengthen already existing ones,” said Jennifer Mullin, director of International Programs. “We are proud to be the only university in Ecuador with U.S. accreditation. These processes are very rigorous, and it’s a vote of confidence for UDLA.”

WSCUC is one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the United States that has accredited universities that include Stanford, UC Berkeley and the University of Southern California.

WSCUC’s philosophy centers on three beliefs: (1) a school’s goal is successful student learning; (2) each school has a clear purpose and school-wide student goals; and (3) a school engages in external and internal evaluations as part of continued school improvement to support student learning.

During the accreditation process, representatives from WSCUC examined many aspects of UDLA’s operation: educational model, learning skills, employment levels, continual improvement, student success, institutional integrity among other evaluation criteria. UDLA had to make a series of reforms regarding its educational model, infrastructure and teacher hiring process, which contributed to its institutional transformation and raised its educational standards considerably.

“Accreditation means a process of continual improvement. The WASC model compels universities to continue to get better,” said Larreátegui.

What does WSCUC accreditation mean?

  • Assures UDLA’s purposes are appropriate and accomplished through a viable education program — a trustworthy institution for student learning
  • Validates the integrity of UDLA’s program and transcripts
  • Facilitates transfer of credits to other English-speaking schools — critical for college/university acceptance worldwide
  • Fosters the ongoing improvement of UDLA’s programs and operations to support student learning

Contact the Office of International Programs to discuss exchange, study abroad and short course options