About the Ashford University Catalog

In the Ashford University Academic Catalog you'll find important disclosures and information for Ashford University applicants and students. Information includes, but is not limited to, admission, enrollment, state specific requirements, academic and graduation requirements, course descriptions, financial aid, financial responsibilities, student life, student rights and responsibilities, and general policies and procedures. Ashford University applicants and students are responsible for reviewing, understanding, and abiding by the contents of the Catalog.

Section One: Introduction

Mission Statement of the University

The mission of Ashford University is to provide accessible, affordable, innovative, high-quality learning opportunities and degree programs that meet the diverse needs of individuals pursuing integrity in their lives, professions, and communities.

Statement of Purpose

To foster a vigorous, diverse learning environment shaped by contemporary awareness, intellectual inquiry, and a shared search for truth in which students gain knowledge and build skills and values useful in their personal and career development.

To cultivate student-centered learning at all levels, supported by technological resources and led by qualified faculty and staff who are guided by contemporary scholarship and professional practice.

To promote the development of foundational values relevant to leadership in the 21st century: self-worth, creativity, interdependence, service, integrity, and effectiveness.

To foster intellectual and personal growth, sensitivity to diversity and human dignity, effective and responsible leadership, environmental responsibility, and lifelong learning.

To offer online and Clinton campus-based degree programs with foundational perspective, breadth and professional relevance for undergraduate and graduate students.

To place priority upon institutional effectiveness, excellent value, affordability, responsive student services, accountable administrative processes, continuous assessment of student learning, and curriculum improvement to assure quality in a rapidly changing culture and demonstrate innovative leadership in higher education.

To maintain operational, financial, and strategic strength to ensure the future of the University.

History

The University, originally named Mount St. Clare College, was founded in 1918 by the Sisters of St. Francis, Clinton, Iowa, as a junior college for women. In 1950, the College was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (now the Higher Learning Commission [HLC]) and has since maintained its regional accreditation. Its interest in adult learners began in 1962 when an evening program was introduced to serve the needs of students with career and family responsibilities. In 1967, the College became coeducational. Baccalaureate degree programs began in 1979 and graduate degrees in 2003, coinciding with the name change to The Franciscan University. In 2005, the University was acquired by Bridgepoint Education, Inc. and renamed Ashford University.

Also in 2005, HLC extended Ashford’s accreditation to offer adult degree-completion programs. Following a Comprehensive Visit in 2006, the University’s accreditation with HLC was reaffirmed for ten years. By 2009, three new Master’s programs were added to the University’s offerings. Today, the University has grown to the extent that students can choose from numerous programs at the undergraduate level and graduate level.

With the growth of the online student population, the University’s leadership decided to move its headquarters from Clinton, Iowa to San Diego, California and to apply for accreditation with the Western Association of Colleges and Schools (WASC). On December 6, 2013, the University received final approval from the U.S. Department of Education for the migration of its accreditation to the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).

Accreditation

Ashford University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001, www.wascsenior.org. WSCUC is a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education

Ashford University has received specialized accreditation for its business programs through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), located in Lenexa, Kansas, USA. The business programs in the following degrees are accredited by the IACBE:

  • Master of Arts in Organizational Management
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Master of Public Administration
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Applied Science in Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Accounting
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Economics
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Information Systems
  • Bachelor of Arts in Entrepreneurship
  • Bachelor of Arts in Human Resources Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in International Business
  • Bachelor of Arts in Operations Management and Analysis
  • Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Professional Accounting
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Marketing
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sports and Recreation Management
  • Associate of Arts in Business

Information pertaining to student learning and achievement in the business programs accredited by the IACBE can be obtained by visiting the Ashford University website at https://assessment.ashford.edu or by contacting the University Director of Assessment and Academic Quality at 400 North Bluff Blvd., Clinton, Iowa 52732, via email at assessment@ashford.edu or via phone at (866) 475-0317.

A copy of the documentation describing the University’s accreditation will be made available to any enrolled or prospective student upon request. Please contact the Provost, Dr. Lorraine Williams. Dr. Williams can be contacted at (800) 798-0584.

Memberships

  • Alpha Sigma Lambda
  • American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE)
  • American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)
  • American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO)
  • American Council on Education (ACE)
  • American Society for Training & Development (ASTD)Association for General and Liberal Studies (AGLS)
  • Association of American Colleges and Universities
  • Association of College and University Housing Officers International (ACUHO-I)
  • Association of Governing Boards
  • Association of International Educators
  • Association for Institutional Research (AIR)
  • Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
  • Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA)
  • California Association on Post Secondary Education and Disability (CAPED)
  • Central Association of College and University Business Officers (CACUBO)
  • Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Clinton Regional Development Corporation
  • The College Board
  • Commission for Accelerated Programs (CAP)
  • Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA)
  • The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL)
  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
  • Council of College and Military Educators (CCME)
  • Eduventures
  • Golden Key International Honour Society
  • Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling
  • International Association of University Presidents
  • Iowa Association for College Admission Counseling
  • Iowa Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
  • Iowa Network of Women in Higher Education (IWHE)
  • Iowa State Education Association
  • League for Innovation in the Community College
  • Marine Corps Academic Explorer (MCAeX)
  • NAFSA: Association of International Educators
  • National ACademic ADvising Association (NACADA)
  • National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE)
  • National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA)
  • National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC)
  • National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA)
  • National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)
  • National Institute for Staff & Organizational Development (NISOD)
  • National University Telecommunications Network
  • The Observatory on Borderless Higher Education
  • President’s Alliance for Excellence in Student Learning and Accountability
  • Quality Matters Consortium
  • Servicemembers Opportunity College (SOC)
  • The Sloan Consortium, Inc.
  • SOCGUARD
  • Society for Applied Learning Technology (SALT)
  • Society for College and University Planning (SCUP)
  • Society for Human Resource Management (National and San Diego)
  • Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Ed (formerly National Association of Student Personnel Administrators [NASPA])
  • Upper Midwest Association of International Educators

Ownership

Ashford University, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of

Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
13500 Evening Creek Dr. North, Suite 600
San Diego, CA 92128

Bankruptcy Notice

Ashford University does not have a pending petition in bankruptcy, is not operating as a debtor in possession, has not filed a petition within the preceding five years, nor has had a petition in bankruptcy filed against it within the preceding five years that resulted in reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code (11 U.S.C. Sec 1101 et seq.).

Governance

The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of Ashford University. The strategic priorities of the Board include mission, organizational structure, academic integrity, operational responsibility, and planning. Trustees meet regularly to ensure accountability of the University to its students and constituencies. The Board of Trustees appoints the University President to provide overall leadership and to administer the day-to-day operations of Ashford University.

Student Consumer Information

As a prospective student, you are encouraged to review this Catalog prior to signing an enrollment agreement. You are also encouraged to review the School Performance Fact Sheet, which must be provided to you prior to signing an enrollment agreement.

Prospective and current students can locate important information about Ashford University on the Student Consumer Information page on the University website at www.ashford.edu/about/consumer-information.htm. This page includes links to helpful information/disclosures, and is designed to provide open, pertinent information for both prospective and current students. The presentation of this information complies with the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which requires colleges and universities to publicly disclose various aspects of their policies and procedures.

Right to Change Requirements

The 2014-2015 Ashford University Academic Catalog presents the policies and procedures for all undergraduate and graduate programs offered by the University. The University reserves the right to make alterations to this Catalog and the policies and procedures therein as deemed necessary by the University. Changes may also be necessitated by federal, state, or local law, other regulatory requirements, accreditation, or licensure. Changes may include but are not limited to curriculum, academic policies, administrative policies, procedures, and costs. Notice is not required for a new policy to take effect; however, Ashford University will make reasonable attempts to notify students promptly of any policy changes through communication methods deemed appropriate by the University administration. In the event that the University plans to change a program such that it will impact a student’s graduation requirements, information will be posted at www.ashford.edu/about/consumer-information.htm. Please refer to the Plans to Improve an Academic Program policy in the General Academic Information and Policies section of this Catalog for more information on program revisions.

State Regulatory Information

For a complete listing of the states in which Ashford University is licensed, registered, authorized, certified, or exempt, and states where such licensure is not required at this time, please visit www.ashford.edu/statedisclosure.htm. The University will continue to monitor developments in state laws in each state in which it enrolls students and, if authorization or licensure is or becomes necessary, will promptly seek to obtain such approvals. For states with an approved status, please be aware that individual programs may not be approved or may be pending approval by a state licensing authority and cannot be offered to students residing in that state.

The following disclosures are required by various state regulatory authorities:

Arkansas: Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board certification does not constitute an endorsement of any institution, course or degree program. Such certification merely indicates that certain criteria have been met as required under the rules and regulations implementing institutional and program certification as defined in Arkansas Code § 6-61-301. The student should be aware that these degree programs may not transfer. The transfer of course/degree credit is determined by the receiving institution.

California: This institution is a private institution approved to operate by the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Approval to operate means the institution is compliant with the minimum standards contained in the California Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009 (as amended) and Division 7.5 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

Iowa: Ashford University is registered to operate as a postsecondary educational institutional institution in Iowa by the Iowa College Student Aid Commission, located at 430 East Grand Ave., Fl 3 Des Moines, IA 50309-1920. The telephone number is (877) 272-4456.

Indiana: This institution is authorized under IC 21-18.5-6-5 by:

The Indiana Board for Proprietary Education
101 West Ohio Street, Suite 670
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1984
(317) 464-4400 Ext. 138
(317) 464-4400 Ext. 141

Kentucky: Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (licensed)

1024 Capital Center Drive, Ste. 320
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 573-1555

Minnesota: Ashford University is registered as a private institution with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, 1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350, St. Paul, MN 55108-5227, pursuant to sections 136A.61 to 136A.71. Registration is not an endorsement of the institution. Credits earned at the institution may not transfer to all other institutions.

Tennessee: Ashford University is authorized by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. This authorization must be renewed each year and is based on an evaluation by minimum standards concerning quality of education, ethical business practices, health and safety, and fiscal responsibility.

Tennessee Residents: Any grievances not resolved on the institutional level may be forwarded to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, 404 James Robertson Parkway Ste. 1900, Nashville, TN 37243-0830, (615) 741-3605.

Washington: Ashford University is authorized by the Washington Student Achievement Council and meets the requirements and minimum educational standards established for degree-granting institutions under the Degree-Granting Institutions Act. This authorization is subject to periodic review and authorizes Ashford University to offer specific degree programs. The Council may be contacted for a list of currently authorized programs. Authorization by the Council does not carry with it an endorsement by the Council of the institution or its programs. Any person desiring information about the requirements of the act or the applicability of those requirements to the institution may contact the Council at P.O. Box 43430, Olympia, WA 98504-3430.

Wisconsin Residents: In the event student complaints are not satisfactorily resolved with the school, students can contact the State of Wisconsin Educational Approval Board at (608) 266 1996.

A copy of the documentation describing the institution’s licensure, registration, authorization or certification will be made available to any enrolled or prospective student upon request. Please contact Bridgepoint Education, Inc.’s Director of State Compliance for documentation.

Student Complaint State Contact Information

Students are encouraged to use the University procedures outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of this Catalog to file an informal complaint or formal grievance. Any student may contact his or her specific state agency directly to register a complaint. For information on registering a complaint in a particular state, go to http://www.ashford.edu/statedisclosure.htm.

A student or any member of the public may file a complaint about this institution with the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education by calling (888) 370-7589 or by completing a complaint form, which can be obtained on the bureau’s internet web site (www.bppe.ca.gov).

Commitment to Diversity

Ashford University prepares students to serve populations with diverse social, ethnic, economic, and educational experiences. Both the academic and training curricula are designed to provide an environment in which students can develop the skills and attitudes essential to working with people from diverse backgrounds.

Statement on Scholarship

Scholarship at the University refers to the in-depth investigation and shared search for knowledge and truth embodied in the University mission statement. Faculty and students learn to identify relationships and to make connections, both within their own academic areas of study as well as across disciplinary lines with other programs. They have the opportunity to work collaboratively on scholarly projects within an atmosphere of the highest academic integrity and to share knowledge gained with the University community and beyond.

Examples of scholarship at the University include the following:

  • Scholarly research in more specialized areas that is used to enhance regular course offerings or is presented to the campus and local communities in open forums, seminars, and other venues;
  • Published works such as papers, articles, essays, editorials, book reviews, books, short stories, poetry, plays, or music;
  • Performances in the fine arts, both on and off campus such as concerts, recitals, plays, art exhibits, and computer graphics designs; and
  • Presentations made at professional conferences, seminars, meetings, or conventions.

In addition to joining in scholarly research, faculty and students also share certain responsibilities toward scholarship. These responsibilities include the following:

  • Establishing and cultivating a broad general knowledge base across academic programs and acquiring knowledge in one’s own discipline;
  • Accepting responsibility for one’s own learning and seeking opportunities for scholarly dialogue; and
  • Making the commitment to pursue learning throughout one’s entire life and to assist others in the pursuit of knowledge.

 Above all, the faculty continually strives to convey a sense of excitement to their students in the shared search for knowledge and truth.

Ownership and Use of Student Work

Students own the copyright in works created in or as part of an Ashford University course. Students grant to Ashford University and its administration, faculty and staff, a license and/or permission to use their work for research and educational purposes which includes, but is not limited to, institutional and academic research projects, program review, and assignment exemplars.

No personally identifiable information will be included per Institutional Review Board standards for the protection of human rights. In addition, such information will be kept confidential in accordance with FERPA regulations. The University will adhere to all laws, ethics, and criteria for ensuring and protecting rights to privacy and identity.

Ashford University monitors student work for plagiarism, including the use of anti-plagiarism applications, tools, and services. Ashford University maintains the right to submit student work or require a student to submit his or her work to a plagiarism application, tool, or service at any time.

In regard to student employees, this policy is upheld for all works created within their roles as students. Works created within their roles as employees are outside the scope of this policy and therefore, held to employee regulations.

Academic and Professional Standards

Central to the University’s mission is a commitment to high-quality learning opportunities and degree programs that are accessible, affordable, and innovative. Seeking to serve diverse needs, the University embraces the liberal arts as a perspective for learning in its undergraduate programs and offers graduate studies within a framework of professional competence. Through this learning environment, available in classroom and online modalities, the institution encourages and engages students in the pursuit of intellectual growth, social responsibility, and lives characterized by service and personal integrity.

Institutional Outcomes

To achieve organizational effectiveness, Ashford University is committed to developing and improving student learning through continuous assessment of course objectives, faculty contributions, learning environments, student performance, and program outcomes.

Graduates of Ashford University will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to read and think critically and creatively;
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively in speech and in writing;
  • Demonstrate the ability to communicate effectively through the use of technology;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the various forms of diversity;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the interdependence among living beings, the environment and humanly-created systems;
  • Demonstrate competence in their major fields of study;
  • Demonstrate an understanding of service directed at meeting the needs of others;
  • Demonstrate the ability to draw information from different fields of study to make informed decisions; and
  • Develop skills and abilities that provide for lifelong learning.

University’s Self-Evaluation Process

The extent to which the University is actively pursuing the fulfillment of its mission is re-examined on an annual basis through its strategic planning process. The University strongly believes in the need to continually improve its programs and services through the following strategies:

  • An ongoing cycle of systematic assessment, evaluation, and institutional research;
  • Analysis and evidence-based planning;
  • Creation of innovations and new initiatives to better meet student needs;
  • Budgeting based on identified needs and opportunities for improvement; and
  • Monitoring of initiatives to ensure that intended results are being achieved.

Continuous improvement efforts at Ashford rest on its strategy, planning, and effectiveness model. To enhance the University’s planning and analytical capacity, and to integrate strategic planning and to enrich research and data analyses that inform these processes, the Offices of Strategic Planning & Management and Institutional Effectiveness are located within the same department. The department is led by the Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning and University Services, who serves on the President’s Cabinet and regularly interacts with the Ashford Board and institutional and faculty committees. This organizational placement will ensure that data use and planning permeate the institution and that evidence-based discussions regularly occur at the highest levels of Ashford leadership.

Staff within this department collaborate with AU leadership, Board of Trustees, managers, faculty and staff to ensure institutional planning, data collection and analysis is student focused, systematic and cross functional. Progress on strategic planning goals, supporting analytical assessment and resource allocation are regularly reviewed and measured; goals will be revised as they are accomplished.

Ashford University Graduate Culture Definition

Ashford University’s graduate programs provide robust, rigorous learning experiences for students to prepare future professionals and leaders in the global economy. At the graduate level, our programs focus on building capacity in our students to synthesize, evaluate, create, and apply knowledge in their field of specialized study, as well as in interdisciplinary studies. At the graduate level, faculty members act as facilitators of learning, where they support students through direct and inquiry-based approaches to promote student learning through research, scholarship and applied practice in the field. We foster a learning environment that supports student abilities to transfer skills and knowledge to real world situations, and to develop the professional skills necessary to be successful professionals, leaders, and citizens in society.

Ashford University Graduate Culture Characteristics

  1. Graduate level faculty ensure students are challenged by rigorous academic curriculum and hold students to high expectations in their academic work.
  2. Faculty and students reflect a highly developed framework of ethics; academically, personally, and professionally.
  3. Faculty and students demonstrate a high level of research, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of pertinent topics in their specialized discipline through discussion, reflection, collaboration, written work, and practical experience.
  4. Faculty and students at the graduate level advance the body of scholarship in their field of study, as well as in work and professional environments in local, national, and/or international settings.
  5. Faculty and students leverage technology in innovative ways for teaching and learning.
  6. Faculty and students examine and evaluate the research or scholarship of the discipline to produce scholarly or creative work consistent with disciplinary standards.
  7. Graduate faculty seek to prepare innovators and leaders who demonstrate 21st century skills and professional soft skills necessary to be successful in the field, such as tenacity, perseverance, adaptability, communication, collaboration, and leadership.
  8. Faculty and students are held to high expectations for excellence in written and oral communication with the ability to convey complex ideas clearly, consistently, and logically.

Reference:
Wendler, C., Bridgeman, B., Cline, F., Millet, C., Rock, J., Bell, N., & McAllister, P. (2010). The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States. Princeton, NJ: Educational Testing Service.

Assessment at Ashford University

As active learners at Ashford University, students share the responsibility for their learning. It is only through cooperative participation in the assessment process that Ashford can better understand itself and better serve its students. Each Ashford student is expected to participate in outcomes assessment. We believe in using assessment to provide students the feedback they need to monitor progress toward their goals. We also use assessment as a vehicle for educational improvement and as a source of measuring the success of our students over the course of their academic career at Ashford. Assessment helps us identify where and how our programs are succeeding and where changes need to be made. We also believe in sharing publicly the aggregated results of student assessments in a transparent manner to inform all audiences about the quality of education at Ashford. Since assessment results are a direct reflection of institutional quality, it is important for everyone to take their participation in assessment activities seriously.

Assessment at Ashford takes place at the institutional, general education, program and course levels. At the institutional level, assessment is conducted primarily via surveys. General education, program and course-level assessment may include examples of student work, a paper, some test questions, a presentation, or other work that may be selected for assessment. The information obtained from assessment activities is essential for improving the learning opportunities and environments provided by the University, and we consider assessment of student achievement, learning, and satisfaction fundamental for Ashford University to accomplish its mission and purposes.

Contact Information

For additional information pertaining to this Catalog, please contact Ashford University at (800) 798-0584 (toll-free) or write to 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd. San Diego, CA 92123. Obtain information by visiting the University website at www.ashford.edu.

Any questions a student may have regarding this Catalog that have not been satisfactorily answered by the institution may be directed to the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education at 2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400, Sacramento, CA 95833 or P.O. Box 980818, West Sacramento, CA 95798-0818, www.bppe.ca.gov, (888) 370-7589 or by fax (916) 263-1897.