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MIDDLE STATES SELF-STUDY BEGINS

by Robin Hailstorks and Verna Teasdale, Co-Chairs, Self-Study Steering Committee

Every ten years our college submits an application to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for re-accreditation. This organization has been in existence for some time now and is the successor organization to the original accrediting body known as the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools that was founded in 1911. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a voluntary, nongovernmental, peer-based association dedicated to educational excellence. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education believes that improvement in higher education can be achieved through peer evaluation and accreditation.

Our college has been accredited since 1969. To be accredited means that our institution has academic integrity and that it supports its mission and goals through course offerings and programs. It also means that our institution is a self-governing body with appropriate checks and balances that has an effective mechanism for evaluating itself and its students. In order to become re-accredited, our institution must engage in a self-study process that evolves over the course of two years. At the end of this process, we must submit a comprehensive self-study report that adheres to the guidelines of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. These guidelines are published in a document titled, Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education. You may review this entire document online by visiting http://www.msache.org. The guidelines for accreditation are written as standards and include fundamental and option elements. Every college seeking re-accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education must demonstrate how they meet these standards. There are 14 standards in total and two standards in particular are of paramount importance to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education: Institutional Assessment and Student Assessment.

The self-study process occurs in two phases. The first phase of this process is creating a self-study design and submitting it to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for approval. The second phase of this process is writing a comprehensive self-study report based on the self-study design and the recommendations of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In order to complete the first phase of this process, the college has established a Self-Study Steering Committee (SSSC) and 14 Task Forces to examine each of the standards of excellence proposed by Middle States. The SSSC is co-chaired by Robin Hailstorks and Verna Teasdale. Each Task Force has two co-chairs and consists of one member of the SSSC. The members of the SSSC and the 14 Task Forces represent a broad cross-section of constituency groups (e.g., faculty, staff, students, administrators, and community leaders) both on and off-campus.

Our college has adopted the comprehensive model for its self-study design. This means that every area of the college must be examined in terms of how well it meets the 14 standards established by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education. Using the comprehensive model as a frame of reference, the SSSC and the Task Force co-chairs will create the self-study design. This design will include goals and objectives for the self-study, charges for the 14 Task Forces, and action plans that will guide the work of the Task Forces. The self-study design will be completed in April 2003. You may visit the college’s Middle States Self-Study Web page to learn more about the 14 standards for writing the self-study and to pose any questions you have regarding this process. The Web site address is http://academic.pg.cc.md.us/selfstudy/.

Once the self-study design has been written by the SSSC and the Task Forces, it must be approved by Dr. Ronald Williams and the vice presidents. After obtaining approval from our college president, the self-study design is then submitted to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for review. The Middle State Commission on Higher Education has assigned our college a liaison to assist us with this process. Our college liaison is Dr. George Santiago, who will provide the SSSC feedback regarding the self-study design and offer recommendations for improvement. He will also visit our campus on May 15, 2003, to discuss the self-study design with faculty, students, staff, and administrators.

Once the self-study design is approved by Middle States, the second phase of the self-study begins. The second phase of the self-study process involves the work of the 14 Tasks Forces. Each Task Force consists of two co-chairs and a member of the SSSC, as well as faculty, staff, students, administrators, and community leaders. The Task Forces will begin their work during fall semester 2003. However, much of the preliminary work of these groups has already begun. Each Task Force will submit a final report to the SSSC during spring semester 2004. The SSSC will review each of the 14 reports and write a comprehensive self-study report for the college. Once this report has the approval of Dr. Williams, it will be submitted to Middle States for final approval. After Middle States receives the final report in fall 2004, they will send a team of visitors to our campus during spring semester 2005 to review the evidence presented in the report. Middle States will officially inform us of our accreditation status once the visiting team submits its report and recommendations.

The work of the SSSC and the 14 Task Forces is crucial for the accreditation process. The college is indebted to these individuals for their time, talent, and expertise. The members of the SSSC and the co-chairs of the Task Forces are as follows:

Steering Committee Members

Beverly Anderson, Board of Trustees
Laurie Cunningham, Personnel
Samuel Deans, Community Leader
Lorna Gagneux, Multi Media
Geoffrey Greene, Student Leader
Oliver Hansen, Instructional Technology
Tamela Hawley, Planning and Institutional Research
Dennis Huffman, Metro Center
Melinda Kramer, English
David Mosby, Facility Management
Garry Murray II, Community Leader
Louis Renaud, Biological Sciences
Ethel Sheppard-Powell, Information Systems
Kathy Sexton, Andrew Air Force Base Extension Center
Marc Webb, Student Leader
Mary Wells, Distance Learning

Standard Task Forces and Co-Chairs

Standard 1  - Mission Robin Hailstorks and Verna Teasdale
Standard 2  - Planning, Resource Allocation and
                     Institution Review
Nancy Burgess and Margaret Taibi
Standard 3  - Institutional Resources Karl Boughan and Marilyn Pugh
Standard 4  - Leadership and Governance Charles Hansborough and Tracy Harris
Standard 5  - Administration Deidra Hill and Lynda Logan
Standard 6  - Integrity Cynthia Gossage and Barbara Sanders
Standard 7  - Institutional Assessment William Gardner and Bill Peirce
Standard 8  - Student Admissions Eldon Baldwin and Andristine Robinson
Standard 9  - Student Support Services Ellen Plissner and Mara Doss
Standard 10 - Faculty Jessie Alexander and Barbara Gage
Standard 11 - Educational Offerings Paula Guy and Beverly Reed
Standard 12 - General Education Vera Bagley and Robert Barshay
Standard 13 - Related Educational Activities David James and Sherry Kinslow
Standard 14 - Assessment of Student Learning John Ash and Leela Kapai

On behalf of the SSSC, we encourage you to become involved with the self-study process. Please volunteer to serve on one of the 14 task forces by contacting the co-chairs and indicating your willingness to serve. We need your support and your college needs your input in order to make this a truly comprehensive self-study report. Please contact Robin Hailstorks on extension 0539 or Verna Teasdale on extension 0767 if you have any questions.

 

The Instructional Area Newsletter, Volume 18, No. 3

Spring 2003