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Self-study process begins

UD prepares for Middle States accreditation review

The University of Delaware is beginning the self-study process in preparation for its accreditation review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The self-study will take place over the next 18 months with the external review team’s site visit in spring 2021.

“This is an excellent opportunity to thoughtfully examine how we fulfill our institutional mission to serve students and the world, and to consider how we can continue building on the many accomplishments here at the University,” said President Dennis Assanis.

The co-chairs of the Self-Study Steering Committee are Lynn Okagaki, deputy provost for academic affairs, and Mark Rieger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“Accreditation is an important indicator of the quality of a University of Delaware education, assuring our students and their families, employers, donors, government agencies and many others that we adhere to top educational standards,” Okagaki said.

Added Rieger: “The self-study is a critical step in the accreditation process, giving the University an opportunity to reflect on what we do and ensure that we regularly assess and document the effectiveness of our work.”

April visit

On Friday, April 12, Hilda Colón Plumey, MSCHE Vice-President and Institutional Liaison will visit the University to meet with President Assanis, Provost Robin Morgan, the Middle States Steering Committee and other UD leaders to talk about the accreditation process. She will hold an open meeting for UD faculty, staff and students from 1:30-3 p.m. in 115 Purnell Hall to discuss MSCHE expectations and the accreditation process.

Given the size and scope of the institution, UD has chosen a standards-based approach to facilitate the development of the self-study and its evaluation. Middle States provides the following summary of the standards: “An accredited institution of higher education has an appropriate mission (I), lives it with integrity (II), delivers an effective student learning experience (III) and supports the overall student experience, both inside and outside of the classroom (IV).  An accredited institution of higher education also assesses its own educational effectiveness (VI), uses planning and resources to ensure institutional improvement (VI), and is characterized by effective governance, leadership, and administration (VII).”

The Self-Study Steering Committee will collectively lead the effort to engage the broader University of Delaware community in the self-study. In addition to coordinating the efforts of the six working groups, the Steering Committee will be responsible for addressing Standard 1. Each of the six working groups is assigned to one of the remaining six standards.

To facilitate the coordination of the working groups, the co-chairs of each working group are members of the Steering Committee. Working groups will conduct a robust review and evaluation of the University’s programs, practices and policies relevant to their MSCHE standard. Each working group is responsible for gathering the evidence that shows how UD meets the criteria for their standard, identifying any gaps in evidence, and ultimately writing a report that addresses the standard.

In addition to Okagaki and Rieger, other members of the steering committee are Jen Becnel-Guzzo, associate vice president and deputy general counsel; Iain Crawford, director, Undergraduate Research Program, and associate professor of English; Trevor A. Dawes, vice provost for libraries and museums and May Morris University Librarian; Laure Ergin, vice president and general counsel; Kevin Guidry, associate director for assessment, Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning, and assistant professor of Education; Debra Hess Norris, chair, Department of Art Conservation, and member, UD Board of Trustees; Greg Hicks, deputy dean, College of Health Sciences; Ron Huggins, director of Financial Systems; Heather Kelly, director of Institutional Research; Matt Kinservik, vice provost for faculty affairs, and professor of English; Mark Moline, director, School of Marine Science and Policy; Katy O’Connell, director of College Communications; Greg Oler, vice president for finance and deputy treasurer; Sharon Pitt, vice president for information technologies; Mary Remmler, vice president for strategic planning and analysis; José-Luis Riera, vice president for student life; Charlie Riordan, vice president for research, scholarship and innovation; Matt Robinson, professor of  hospitality business management, and president-elect, Faculty Senate; Lou Rossi, chair, Department of Mathematical Sciences; Greg Shelnut, chair, Department of Art and Design; and Matt Trevett-Smith, director, Center for Teaching and Assessment of Learning.

In August 2019, working groups will begin to solicit input from various UD groups, with a multitude of opportunities offered through December 2020. For more information and the general timeline of the self-study, please visit www.udel.edu/middlestates.

About Middle States Commission on Higher Education

The Mid-Atlantic Region Commission on Higher Education, doing business as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), was formally incorporated under Pennsylvania Commonwealth law on March 1, 2013. From its origins in 1919 through February 2013, the commission was a unit of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Although now an independent corporation, the commission maintains an ongoing relationship with the Middle States Association.

The Commission on Higher Education is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct accreditation and pre-accreditation (candidacy status) activities for institutions of higher education in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including distance education and correspondence education programs offered at those institutions. MSCHE is also recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit degree-granting institutions which offer one or more postsecondary educational programs of at least one academic year in length in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and other geographic areas in which the commission conducts accrediting activities.

The commission is a voluntary, nongovernmental, membership association that defines, maintains and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations, and resources. It examines each institution as a whole, rather than specific programs within institutions.

UD has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1921, with the most recent reaffirmation in 2016.

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