The Institutional Proposal guides the entire review process, which is a self-study focusing on "researchable questions" based on current issues germane to the university's mission. The self-study is also expected to address any recommendations made by the WASC Senior Commission during the last reaccreditation review. Three recommendations are highlighted in the Senior Commission's letter of March 6, 2001 reaffirming USD's accreditation.
In designing the proposal, institutions are encouraged to be creative, build on processes already in place, focus on a limited number of issues that can be addressed in depth, critique and refine the analysis and use of evidence collected by the institution, and significantly increase the institution's attention to student learning. The university is expected to engage the campus community in identifying issues to be explored.