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Overview of the Accreditation Process

Middle States modified the Standards of Accreditation in 2014, replacing fourteen standards with seven.  The emphasis of the Standards has changed as well; Middle States is now much more focused on institutional assessment, assessment of student learning, and the process of continuous institutional improvement.
 
Under recently revised processes, Middle States will organize a site visit by a team of external peer evaluators every eight years.  In preparation, a campus conducts a wide-ranging Self-Study to evaluate its performance against the “Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation.” A separate “Verification of Compliance” demonstrates compliance with a series of federal regulations, and, finally, a campus compiles a “documentation roadmap” that catalogs and annotates documents and data essential to demonstrating compliance with the Standards.

Within the context of the Seven Standards, the Self-Study examines selected current strategic priorities, improvements since the last Self-Study, outcomes based on assessments of institutional effectiveness, and institutional improvements proposed for implementation prior to the next Self-Study.  Largely an assessment of past performance, the Self-Study also looks ahead and is an important planning document.
 
Before working on the Self-Study, campuses prepare a “Self-Study Design” which is a blueprint for the entire reaccreditation process.  It lays out in detail the timing and steps the institution anticipates on the way to re-accreditation. The institution’s Vice President at Middle States must approve the Self-Study Design before work can begin on the Self-Study.
 
Following the completion of the final Self-Study Report, a team of volunteer faculty and administrators from similar institutions selected by Middle States will evaluate the institution’s Self-Study Report and related documents, and then conduct a team visit to determine if the institution meets Middle States accreditation standards. As part of the assessment, the Visiting Team may require additional efforts towards compliance with the Standards.  The team submits a report and the institution has a chance to respond.  The Middle States Commission itself issues the final verdict on reaccreditation, probably in June, 2019.

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