Faculty, Administration Encourage Student Involvement
McDaniel College is in the midst of an exhaustive assessment of its operations in preparation for a review to have its accreditation renewed.
The review, conducted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, will examine every aspect of the college to see how well McDaniel is fulfilling its obligation to its students, according to Dr. Gretchen McKay, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee heading up the reaccreditation effort.
The college released a draft copy of an institutional self-study in September on the college’s website, and held a forum with students on Sept. 26 to discuss the reaccreditation process. The study is focused primarily seeing whether the college fulfills 14 Standards that all Middle States member colleges must meet in order to retain their accreditation. These standards cover a wide range of departments at the college, from the institution’s goals, to the administration and faculty, to student admissions and learning outcomes.
McDaniel is subject to this process every ten years in order to ensure the college is following its mission and is a credible institution of higher education. The stakes are high for both the institution and its students.
“If we were not an accredited college when you graduate, your degree is not worth much; in fact, your degree is not worth anything,” said McDaniel President Dr. Roger Casey when opening the Sept. 26 forum.
The self-study report serves to tell the story of the college, most notably where it is and where it wants to be. The 100 page report is divided into five chapters that encompass the standards that Middle States will review before issuing its decision. Faculty members associated with the process are encouraging students to read and respond to what the self-study draft says about the college.
“We say we are a student centered institution, so we want to ask you for your input,” McKay told the students in attendance Sept. 26, adding “we believe in our students, and we believe that we want you to have a say.” Steering Committee Co-Chair Dr. Deborah Johnson-Ross added that she believes that students should want to know “why their McDaniel degree is valuable,” and should be involved with the reaccreditation process.
Students have already held an important role in the drafting of the self-study, with several serving on working groups that worked with the Steering Committee in writing the report, and McKay says that Middle States is “very impressed” by the amount of student involvement in the process thus far, that she and hopes that the student body comments on the draft study to expand the role of students in constructing the report.
A page on the McDaniel Portal has been established for the Middle States process where students and faculty can read the draft report in its entirety, and a form on that page allows for readers to provide feedback. An e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org, has also been established for those with questions or feedback about the process.
McKay says that she hopes that students take the time to at least find and read one chapter that interests them and give feedback on it. In particular she cited Chapter 3, regarding standards detailing student admission, retention, and support services, as of particular interest to students.
A final version of the self-study must be submitted to the Evaluation Team Chair by January 27. The process will culminate with a visit by a team of outside administrators in March 2013, and a decision on renewing the college’s accreditation will be reached during the summer.
Members of the McDaniel Community can read the draft report, along with all supporting documents, and fill out a survey with any feedback they may have at this address https://my.mcdaniel.edu/administration/middlestates/middlestates2012/Pages/default.aspx
Reaccreditation and You
Why is reaccreditation important?
“If we were not an accredited college when you graduate, your degree is not worth much; in fact, your degree is not worth anything.”
-Dr. Roger Casey, President
What is reaccreditation?
Reaccreditation is the process that colleges and universities go through every ten years to maintain their accredited status. Middle States, the commission reviewing McDaniel’s status, defines accreditation as “a voluntary process intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of higher education, making it worthy of public confidence.”
Where is McDaniel in the process?
The college has produced a 100 page, 5 chapter draft of a self-study report that is an extensive examination of the college and how it functions. This draft must be finalized prior to January 27 in preparation for the Evaluation Team Visit in March. The decision on the college’s status will be made during the summer.
What is in the report?
The self-study report is organized into five chapters designed to address the 14 standards that Middle States requires an accredited institution to meet. These are the standards, organized by the chapter in which each one is addressed.
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.
Standard 2: Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal
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 support the development and change necessary to improve and to maintain institutional quality.
Standard 3: Institutional Resources
The human, financial, technical, physical 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Standard 8: Student Admissions and Retention
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’ educational goals.
Standard 9: Student Support Services
The institution provides student support services reasonably necessary to enable each student to achieve the institution’s goals for students.
Standard 11: Educational Offerings
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.
Standard 12: General Education
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 quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, and technological competency.
Standard 13: Related Educational Activities
The institution’s programs or activities that are characterized by particular content, focus, location, mode of delivery, or sponsorship meet appropriate standards.
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.
Standard 10: Faculty
The institution’s instructional, research, and service programs are devised, developed, monitored, and supported by qualified professionals.
Source: Middle States Commission on Higher Education, http://www.msche.org/?Nav1=About&Nav2=FAQ&Nav3=Question07
Where can I read the report?
The full draft self-study report, as well as all supporting documents, can be found on the McDaniel portal, on the “Middle States 2012” page which can be accessed through the “Administration” drop-down menu.
How can I give feedback to the report?
There is a “Submit Feedback Here” link on the Middle States 2012 page which will take you to a Qualtrics survey which will allow you to comment on any or all of the chapters of the draft report. The Steering Committee has also established an e-mail address, email@example.com, where you can send questions or comments on the report.