Alfred University Self-Study for Middle States Re-accreditation

May, 2015 Update

The monitoring report requested by Middle States was submitted in March and a small visiting team from MSCHE came to campus in April to gather additional information. Their report (along with the monitoring report, prior team report, and the self-study report) is available through the "Reports" link above. The Visiting Team found Alfred University to be in compliance with each of the MSCHE Standards.

Alfred University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Our first accreditation was conducted in 1921; in order to maintain accreditation we must go through a process of self-study every 10 years.

The current self-study process started in Fall, 2011. A Self-Study Design and a detailed timetable, approved by MSCHE in June, 2012, guided the process.

Self-study involved the entire campus community on some level. A Steering Committee had the overall responsibility but received guidance from numerous working groups comprised of students, staff, faculty, and administrators. These working groups spent the academic year 2012-2013 examining various aspects of the University against MSCHE standards and prepared reports for the Steering Committee.

The Steering Committee combined the individual reports into a final Self-Study Report, made available to the campus in Fall, 2013 for review, feedback and comment.

The final report was due to MSCHE in early Spring, 2014. An Evaluation Team visited campus later that spring to follow-up with and finalize our self-evaluation. In June, 2014 the University was asked to create a follow-up monitoring report to provide further illustration and examples of how the University approaches planning, resource allocation, and assessment.

What is accreditation and why do it?

Accreditation is intended to strengthen and sustain higher education, making it worthy of public confidence and minimizing the scope of external control. Regional accreditation, a means of self-regulation adopted by the higher education community, has evolved to support these goals.

Membership in MSCHE includes a commitment to continuous self-assessment. Based upon the results of an institutional review by peers and colleagues, accreditation attests that an institution:

  • Has a mission appropriate to higher education
  • Is guided by well-defined and appropriate goals, including goals for student learning
  • Has established conditions and procedures under which its mission and goals can be realized
  • Assesses both institutional effectiveness and student learning outcomes, and uses the results for improvement
  • Is accomplishing its mission and goals substantially
  • Is organized, staffed and supported so that it can be expected to continue to accomplish its mission and goals
  • Meets the eligibility requirements and standards of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)

The Commission’s accreditation standards were developed by consensus among member institutions in the Middle States region. They identify an institution’s mission, goals and objectives as guideposts for all aspects of the accreditation protocol.

The accreditation standards focus on two fundamental questions:

  • Are we, as an institutional community, achieving what we want to achieve?
  • What should we do to improve our effectiveness in achieving our fundamental aims?

During the self-study, the institution carefully considers its educational programs and services, with particular attention to student learning and achievement, and it determines how well these programs and services accomplish the institution’s goals, fulfill its mission and meet the Commission’s standards.

The self-study report has two sets of audiences and two major purposes:

  • The primary audience is the institution’s own community
  • The secondary audience includes external (or public) constituencies
  • The primary purpose of the self-study is to advance institutional self-understanding and self-improvement. The self-study report, therefore, is most useful when it is analytical and forward-looking rather than descriptive or defensive, when it is used both to identify problems and to develop solutions to them, and when it identifies opportunities for growth and development.
  • The secondary purpose of the self-study is to demonstrate to external audiences, such as the MSCHE, government regulatory agencies, and the public, that the institution meets the Commission’s standards for accreditation.

(information extracted from the MSCHE publication Self Study: Creating a Useful Process and Report, 2nd edition, 2007)

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