Middle States Accreditation

In Spring 2014 the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) approved new accreditation standards.  The guiding principles are: centrality of mission; innovation; student learning; and continuous improvement. Seven Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation replace the 14 Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education standards that we used for our 2004 and 2014 self-studies. The seven standards are:

  1. Mission and Goals;
  2. Ethics and Integrity
  3. Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience;
  4. Support of the Student Experience;
  5. Educational Effectiveness Assessment;
  6. Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement; and
  7. Governance, Leadership, and Administration.

During spring 2017, the first 15 institutions were evaluated on the new standards. They provided feedback to MSCHE about the new requirements and agreed to be helpful to other institutions moving forward.

There are also new processes and cycles for review effective Fall 2016. Institutions now submit a new Annual Institutional Update (AIU), participate in a Mid-Point Peer Review (MPPR), and participate in the Self-Study evaluation every eight years. Community College of Philadelphia’s MPPR will be in 2020 and the next self-study will be 2024.

For the AIU, every year our IPEDS information will be in the MSCHE portal for us to review in the spring. We will enter additional data that is required and, if we choose, we can enter additional demographic information that we believe helps explain who we are as an institution. The kinds of demographic information that can be added has already been determined by MSCHE – we just get to choose from the list. Once we decide to provide additional information, we must include updated information for the same metrics every year. We can also provide up to three reports that may be helpful to peer reviewers. An example of an additional report could be the pass rates for licensure exams. Again, once we decide to do that, we must provide the same reports every year.

For the MPPR, peer reviewers will look over the information we entered for our AIU for four years. The information will include the mandatory data and any of the additional demographic information we decide to submit. The peer reviewers will provide feedback to the institution.

The Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation will make it easier for institutions to demonstrate effectiveness and impact. By providing information every year, institutions and MSCHE may be able to spot an issue early rather than at the time of the self-study. Expect to hear about our first AIU submission in April 2018.