Ashford University Catalog
- To offer online and campus-based educational programs that meet the needs of diverse learners and support student success and completion.
- To integrate current technology that cultivates student-centered learning experiences led by dedicated and qualified faculty wherein students gain knowledge and build skills that support personal and professional development.
- To provide learning opportunities that help students synthesize theory and practice, enabling them to respond ethically to contemporary issues and complex problems.
- To foster a rich student learning environment focused on diverse social, ethnic, economic, and educational experiences and thereby prepare and empower graduates to be collaborative and inclusive within their communities.
- To work closely with employers and workforce development experts to identify the workplace skills and competencies that will enhance our graduates' abilities to contribute to their organizations, achieve greater professional and personal success, and strengthen their organizations.
- To place priority on innovation, continuous assessment, and improvement of student learning, curriculum development, access to learning resources, and responsive students services.
- To maintain operational, financial, and strategic strength that ensures the future of Ashford University.
The University, originally named Mount St. Clare College, was founded in 1918 by the Sisters of St. Francis in 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 2002, 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).
Ashford University is accredited by WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 100, Alameda, CA 94501, (510) 748-9001, . WSCUC is a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Ashford University has received specialized accreditation for its eligible business programs through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE), located in Lenexa, Kansas, USA. The business programs in the following degrees are accredited by the IACBE:
- Master of Accountancy
- Master of Arts in Organizational Management
- Master of Business Administration
- Master of Public Administration
- 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 Finance
- 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 Project Management
- Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration
- Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations and Marketing
- Bachelor of Arts in Service Management
- Bachelor of Arts in Sports and Recreation Management
- Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management
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.
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, Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs, Chief Academic Officer and Accreditation Liaison Officer, Dr. Laura Palmer Noone, at (800) 798-0584.
- 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 (AAC&U)
- Association of College and University Housing Officers International (ACUHO-I)
- Association of Governing Boards (AGB)
- Association of International Educators
- Association for Institutional Research (AIR)
- Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD)
- Association of Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA)
- Association of Title IX Administrators (ITIXA)
- California Association on Postsecondary Education and Disability (CAPED)
- Central Association of College and University Business Officers (CACUBO)
- 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)
- Golden Key International Honour Society
- Illinois Association for College Admission Counseling
- International Association of University Presidents
- League for Innovation in the Community College
- Marine Corps Academic Explorer (MCAeX)
- Mountain Pacific Association of Colleges and Employers (MPACE)
- 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 Career Development Association
- 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 Degree Network School (SOCDNS)
- The Sloan Consortium, Inc.
- 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
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.).
The Board of Trustees is responsible for the governance of Ashford University. The strategic priorities of the Board include mission, organizational structure, financial and 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.
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 that reauthorized the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), which requires colleges and universities to publicly disclose various aspects of their policies and procedures. 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. School Performance Fact Sheets can be found on each program’s information page on the University website at http://www.ashford.edu/degrees.htm..
The The 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.
For a current listing of the states in which Ashford University is licensed, registered, authorized, certified, or exempt, and states where such licensure is not required, 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.
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 DRegulatory Affairs team for documentation by visiting www.ashford.edu/statedisclosure.htm and clicking on the appropriate link.
The following disclosures are required by various state regulatory authorities:
Alaska: Ashford University's programs are exempt from authorization under AS 14.48 and 20 AAC Chapter 17 because the programs are online or distance delivered and the University does not have a physical presence in the state.
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 minimum standards have been met under the rules and regulations of institutional 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., Floor 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 300
Indianapolis, IN 46204-1984
Kansas: Kansas Board of Regents (approved)
1000 SW Jackson Street, Suite 520
Topeka, KS 66612-1368
Minnesota: Ashford University is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education pursuant to Minnesota Statutes 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 advertise, recruit and offer field placements for 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.
The transferability of credits earned at Ashford University is at the discretion of the receiving college, university, or other educational institution. Students considering transferring to any institution should not assume that credits earned in any program of study at Ashford University will be accepted by the receiving institution. Similarly, the ability of a degree, certificate, diploma, or other academic credential earned at Ashford University to satisfy an admission requirement of another institution is at the discretion of the receiving institution. Accreditation does not guarantee credentials or credits earned at Ashford University will be accepted by or transferred to another institution. To minimize the risk of having to repeat coursework, students should contact the receiving institution in advance for evaluation and determination of transferability of credits and/or acceptability of degrees, diplomas, or certificates earned.
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.
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 California 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).
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.
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;
- 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.
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 The U.S. Department of Education's Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (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. Additionally, Ashford University prohibits the sale of student work as a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. 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.
Central to the University’s mission is a commitment to high-quality learning opportunities and educational 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, the institution encourages and engages students in the pursuit of intellectual growth, social responsibility, and lives characterized by service and personal integrity.
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 Associate's and Bachelor's programs at Ashford University will be able to:
- Synthesize theories and approaches from the subject areas of the general education curriculum to address complex problems.
- Integrate skills from the general education competencies when interpreting ideas and arguments in order to respond to civic, societal, environmental, and economic challenges.
- Synthesize proficiencies appropriate to the degree level and discipline or major.
- Construct ethical responses to contemporary issues.
Graduates of Master's programs at Ashford University will be able to:
- Synthesize core proficiencies in the major area of study in a manner appropriate to the degree level to important issues within the field.
- Integrate skills from core competencies in order to respond to civic, societal, environmental, and economic challenges.
- Synthesize theories and approaches to the discipline in solving complex problems.
- Construct ethical responses to contemporary issues.
- Demonstrate lifelong learning skills and self-reflective capacity by engaging in continuous professional and scholarly development.
Credit Hour Definition
A credit hour is defined as the amount of work represented in intended student learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates in traditional terms, not less than one hour of online and/or on-ground classroom and/or direct faculty instruction, and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student equivalent work over a different amount of time; or at least an equivalent amount of work as required for other academic activities including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
Ashford University defines a credit hour as a reasonable approximation of the student learning outcome equivalency of, at a minimum, a Carnegie Unit.
Course developers and subject matter experts are to ensure that the quantity of student learning required to earn a semester credit is reasonably equivalent to 45 hours of coursework over the duration of the course through activities that address and demonstrate student competency in the defined learning outcomes; and draw upon recommended instructional practices.
Student learning outcome equivalencies are to be based on documented qualitative and quantitative expectations for the time required of students to complete assigned learning activities, taking into account expectations based on degree level, discipline, and weight in students' final course grade, time required of students to read and understand content developed by course faculty, and time required of course faculty and students to participate in online and/or on-ground conference and engaged activities. The time required of students to complete assigned learning activities shall not include time required to read a course syllabus.
Student learning outcome equivalencies reflect differences in delivery methods, variety of instruction and interaction, degree of supervision, measurements of student work, academic disciplines, academic calendars, and degree levels.
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 and by the University’s Board of Trustees. 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 strategic planning model. To enhance the University’s planning and analytical capacity 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 collaborates with Ashford University leadership, Board of Trustees, faculty and staff to ensure institutional strategic planning, data collection and analysis is student focused, systematic and cross functional. Progress on strategic planning objectives, supporting analytical assessment and resource allocation are regularly reviewed and measured; objectives will be revised as they are accomplished.
Ashford University is committed to providing students with innovative solutions to improve learning and their educational experiences. As such, Ashford University continually seeks and studies new approaches to instruction, curriculum and content presentation, assessment, and so forth. As an Ashford University student you may utilize innovative learning tools, approaches to learning, or other support. Your consent is implied when you enroll in a course, take advantage of a learning tool, and/or are exposed to a strategy to enhance your experiences here at Ashford University. Informed consent will be sought in particular situations that may pose a risk or require additional protections. In those cases, students will be made aware of the pros and cons of participation, their participation options, and other information to inform decision-making prior to requesting informed consent. Students may contact the Chair of the Ashford University Institutional Review Board at [email protected] with any questions about this statement.
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.
- Graduate level faculty ensure students are challenged by rigorous academic curriculum and hold students to high expectations in their academic work.
- Faculty and students reflect a highly developed framework of ethics; academically, personally, and professionally.
- 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.
- 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.
- Faculty and students leverage technology in innovative ways for teaching and learning.
- Faculty and students examine and evaluate the research or scholarship of the discipline to produce scholarly or creative work consistent with disciplinary standards.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.