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What is Accreditation?

  • Accreditation is a voluntary activity initiated by the institution that requires a rigorous self-evaluation and an independent, objective appraisal of the overall educational quality by peers.
  • Accreditation emphasizes quality assurance and a commitment to continuous quality enhancement.
  • Activities are evaluated against criteria established by a nongovernmental accrediting agency.
  • Study of institutional governance and administration, financial stability, admissions and student services, institutional resources, student academic achievement, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with constituencies inside and outside the institution
  • Middle States Commission on Higher education (MSCHE) is one of seven independent regional organization in the united states established to accredit degree-granting institutions of higher education

What is Accreditation by MSCHE?

 

  • A means of self-regulation and peer review by the educational community intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of higher education, making it worthy of public confidence while minimizing the scope of external control
  • An expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, its performance, and its resources
  • Based upon the results of institutional review by peers and colleagues assigned by the Commission, accreditation attests to the judgment of the Commission on Higher Education that an institution has met the following criteria:
    • 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 ten Requirements of affiliation and fourteen accreditation standards

How is MSCHE accreditation obtained & Sustained? 

 

  • MSCHE and its evaluators use information provided by candidate and member institutions as a foundation for review of activities in conjunction with on-site interviews and data gatheringto determine whether an institution meets the Commission’s requirements of affiliation (10) and standards for accreditation (14)
  • Maintains a 10-year cycle of review, initial accreditation begins with a self-study and on-site evaluation followed by a Periodic Review Report (PRR) five years later; cycle continues with a comprehensive self-study and on-site evaluation every 10th year and a Periodic Review Report (PRR) in the 5th year
  • Monitors changes that occur between regularly scheduled periodic evaluations through a substantive change process, such as, additional locations

What Are the Benefits of accreditation?

 

  • Helps determine if an institution meets or exceeds minimum standards of quality.
  • Earned and maintained through a rigorous, multipronged  evidenced-based  system focused on institutional self-improvement.
  • Maintains A Trustworthy system as Agency & process are vetted by the United States Department of education (USDE) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
  • Helps students determine acceptable institutions for enrollment.
  • Assist institutions & Students in determining acceptability of transfer credits. 
  • Helps employers determine the validity of programs of study and whether a graduate is qualified as Employers often require evidence that applicants have received a degree from an accredited school or program.
  • Helps employers determine eligibility for employee tuition reimbursement programs.
  • Enables gradates to participate in certification examinations.
  • Involves staff, faculty, students, graduates, Board of trustees, external constituents, advisory boards, etc. in continuous institutional evaluation and planning.
  • Provides a self-regulatory alternative for state oversight functions.
  • Qualifier for participation in some grants and award proposals, such as, ASPEN

Why else is accreditation important?

 

It is the only way students can qualify for  federal grants, federal loans,  government protection, and certain state aid.

 

What are MSCHE Ten Requirements of Affiliation?

To be eligible for Candidacy status, Initial Accreditation or Reaffirmation of Accreditation, an institution must demonstrate that it meets or continues to meet the following: The Institution

  1. Awards postsecondary degrees. 
  2. Is able to provide written documentation that it is authorized to operate as an educational institution and award postsecondary degrees by an appropriate governmental organization within the Middle sates region.
  3. Is operational, with students actively pursuing its degree programs. It will graduate at least one class before the evaluation team visit for initial accreditation takes place, unless the institution can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that the lack of graduates does not compromise its ability to demonstrate appropriate learning outcomes.
  4. Has Representatives who are able to communicate with the Commission in English, both orally and in writing.
  5. Complies with all applicable government (usually Federal and state) policies, regulations, and requirements.
  6. Complies with applicable Commission interregional and inter-institutional policies.  These policies can be viewed on the Commission website, www.msche.org.
  7. Integrates plans for academic, personnel, information resources and technologies, learning resources, and financial development.
  8. Has documented financial resources, funding base, and plans for financial development adequate to support its educational purposes and programs and to assure financial stability.  Devotes a sufficient portion of its income to the support of its educational purposes and programs.
  9. HAS A Governing body THAT is responsible for the quality and integrity of the institution and for ensuring that the institution’s mission is being carried out. It is prepared to declare, in writing, the institution will make freely available to the commission accurate, fair, and complete information on all aspects of the institution and its operations.
  10. Has a core of faculty with sufficient responsibility to the institution to assure the continuity and coherence of the institution’s programs. 

What are MSCHE Fourteen Standards for Accreditation: Institutional Context?

Standard 1: Mission and Goals

  • The institution's mission clearly defines its purpose within the context of higher education and indicates who the institution serves and what it intends to accomplish, the Institution’s stated goals, consistent with the aspirations and expectations of higher education, clearly specify how the institution will fulfill its mission. The mission and goals are developed and recognized by the institution with the participation of its members and its governing body and are used to develop and shape its programs and practices and to evaluate its effectiveness.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Heriberto Arjona & Michael Degroft]

Standard 2: Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal and TSCT Strategic Goal IV

  • An institution conducts ongoing planning and resource allocation based on its mission and goals, develops objectives to achieve them, and utilizes the results of its assessment activities for institutional renewal. Implementation and subsequent evaluation of the success of the strategic plan and resource allocation supports the development and change necessary to improve and to maintain institutional quality.  
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: James Knapp & Allen Tate]

Standard 3: Institutional Resources and TSCT Strategic GOALs I & II

  • The human, financial, technical, facilities, and other resources necessary to achieve an institution’s mission and goals are available and accessible. In the context of the Institution’s mission, the effective and efficient uses of the institution’s resources are analyzed as part of ongoing outcomes assessment.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: James Knapp & Allen Tate]

Standard 4: Leadership and Governance

  • The institution's system of governance clearly defines the roles of institutional constituencies in policy development and decision-making.  The governance structure includes an active governing body with sufficient autonomy to assure institutional integrity and to fulfill its responsibilities of policy and resource development, consistent with the mission of the institution.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Michael Brady & Jason Kuntz]

Standard 5: Administration

  • The institution’s administrative structure and services facilitate learning and research/scholarship, foster quality improvement, and support the institution’s organization and governance.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Michael Brady & Jason Kuntz]

Standard 6: Integrity

  • In the conduct of its programs and activities involving the public and the constituencies it serves, the institution demonstrates adherence to ethical standards and its own stated policies, providing support for academic and intellectual freedom.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Heriberto Arjona & Michael Degroft]

Standard 7: Institutional Assessment

  • The institution has developed and implemented an assessment process that evaluates its overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals and its compliance with accreditation standards.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Steve Latta & Nora Othman]

Standard 8: Student Admissions and Retention and TSCT Strategic GOALs III & VII

  • The institution seeks to admit students whose interests, goals, and abilities are congruent with its mission and seeks to retain them through the pursuit of the students’ education goals.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Debra Schuch & Jacqueline Kacsmar]

Standard 9: Student support Services

  • The institution provides student support services reasonably necessary to enable each student to achieve the institution’s goals for the students.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Debra Schuch & Jacqueline Kacsmar]

Standard 10: Faculty and TSCT Strategic GOAL V

  • The institution’s instructional, research, and service programs are devised, developed, monitored, and supported by qualified professionals.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Trina Hess & Rob Tobias]

Standard 11: Educational Offerings and TSCT Strategic GOALs V & Vi

  • The institution’s educational offerings display academic content, rigor, and coherence appropriate to its higher education mission. The institution identifies student learning goals and objectives, including knowledge and skills, for its educational offerings.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Brad Adams & Sheri Wright]

Standard 12: General Education and TSCT Strategic GOALs V & Vi

  • The institution’s curricula are designed so that students acquire and demonstrate college-level proficiency in general education and essential skills, including at least oral and written communication, scientific and quantities reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, and technological competency
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Brad Adams & Sheri Wright]

Standard 13: Related Educational Activities and TSCT Strategic GOALs V & Vi

  • •The institution’s programs or activities that are characterized by particular content, focus, location, mode of delivery, or sponsorship meet appropriate standards.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Brad Adams & Sheri Wright]

Standard 14: Assessment of student Learning

  • Assessment of student learning demonstrates that, at graduation, or other appropriate points, the institution’s students have knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with institutional and appropriate higher education goals.
  • [Steering Committee Co-Chairs: Steve Latta & Nora Othman]

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For more information about the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, please click this link

Middle States Commission on Higher Education
3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West, Philadelphia, PA 19104 
Telephone: (267) 284–5000 E-mail: info@msche.org Spanish: españolinfo@msche.org