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Public Disclosure Statement

Essex County College

June 22, 2017

By the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

This statement has been developed for use in responding to public inquiries, consistent with the Commission’s policies on Public Communication in the Accrediting Process, Accreditation Actions, and Standardized Language for Commission Actions on Accreditation. It should be read in conjunction with the Statement of Accreditation Status for Essex County College. The policies listed above explain what information the Commission makes public regarding its member institutions and what information remains confidential, describe the various accreditation actions the Commission can take, and define the terms used in the Commission’s actions.

Essex County College, located in Newark, New Jersey, is a comprehensive, public community college. It has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1974. The College offers Associate degrees and postsecondary certificates and diplomas. A complete listing of Essex County College’s branch campuses and other instructional sites can be found in its Statement of Accreditation Status. A summary of the most recent Commission actions relative to the institution’s accreditation follows.

Current Accreditation Status

 

On June 22, 2017, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted to note the visit by the Commission's representatives and to remind the institution of the Commission's action of November 17, 2016, to place the institution on warning because of insufficient evidence that it is currently in compliance with Standard 3 (Institutional Resources), Standard 4 (Leadership and Governance), and Standard 8 (Student Admission and Retention). The full text of the Commission’s action is provided below. The Commission’s accreditation standards are available online at http://www.msche.org/publications/CHX-2011-WEB.pdf.

 

Essex County College remains accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education while on warning.

 

The Commission places an institution on warning when, in the Commission’s judgment, the institution is not in compliance with one or more Commission accreditation standards. When the Commission warns an institution, it believes that, although the institution is out of compliance, the institution has the capacity both to make appropriate improvements within a reasonable period and to sustain itself in the long term. A follow-up report, called a monitoring report, is required to demonstrate that the institution has made appropriate improvements to bring itself into compliance. A small team visit also is conducted to verify institutional status and progress. 

 

Summary of Recent Commission Actions

 

On June 22, 2017, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To note the visit by the Commission's representatives. To remind the institution of the Commission's action of November 17, 2016, to place the institution on warning because of insufficient evidence that it is currently in compliance with Standard 3 (Institutional Resources), Standard 4 (Leadership and Governance), and Standard 8 (Student Admission and Retention) and to request a monitoring report due September 1, 2017. To note that the institution remains accredited while on warning. Upon reaffirmation of accreditation, the next evaluation visit is scheduled for 2022-2023.

 

On November 17, 2016, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To accept the monitoring report and to note the visit by the Commission's representatives. To  warn the institution that its accreditation may be in jeopardy because of insufficient evidence that the institution is currently in compliance with Standard 3 (Institutional Resources), Standard 4 (Leadership and Governance), and Standard 8 (Student Admission and Retention). To note that the institution remains accredited while on warning. To request a monitoring report, due September 1, 2017, documenting evidence that the institution has achieved and can sustain compliance with Standards 3, 4, and 8, including but not limited to evidence of the development and implementation of (1) adequate institutional controls to deal with financial operations, with evidence that rational policies and procedures for expenditure control are being consistently followed (Standard 3); (2) (a) procedures for the periodic assessment of the effectiveness of institutional leadership and governance, including annual evaluations of the president and self-assessment by the Board, and the use of such assessment results to inform decision making and continuous improvement, and (b) a conflict of interest policy for the Board which ensures that potential conflicts are disclosed and that they do not interfere with the impartiality of Board members or outweigh the greater duty to secure the academic and fiscal integrity of the institution (Standard 4); and (3) a comprehensive enrollment management program, including the assessment of how effectively such practices support admission, retention, remediation, and related services (Standard 8). A small team visit will follow submission of the monitoring report. To direct a prompt liaison guidance visit to discuss Commission expectations. To note the institution's obligation to inform the Commission about any and all significant developments related to any investigation(s) conducted by state, federal, or other agencies. Copies of the report(s) that follow from any of these investigations must be submitted to the Commission within 10 business days of their completion. Upon reaffirmation of accreditation, the institution will return to its established evaluation schedule.

 

On July 22, 2016, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To note that an extension has been granted for the submission of a monitoring report, requested in the Commission's action of June 23, 2016, that provides evidence and documentation of ongoing institutional compliance with Standards 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8. The monitoring report is now due September 1, 2016.

 

On June 23, 2016, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

To reject the supplemental information report because it provided limited institutional responses to requested information and did not present evidence and analysis in a manner conducive to Commission review. To request a monitoring report, due August 1, 2016, including but not limited to documented evidence of (1) resource allocation procedures that provide for (a) adequate institutional controls to deal with financial, administrative and auxiliary operations, (b) rational and consistent policies and procedures to determine and monitor the allocation of assets, and (c) periodic assessment of the effective and efficient use of institutional resources (Standard 3); (2) a governing body that (a) certifies to the Commission that the institution is in compliance with the Requirements of Affiliation, the accreditation standards, and all policies of the Commission, (b) adheres to a conflict of interest policy that assures the impartiality of governing body members and the academic and fiscal integrity of the institution, and (c) undertakes the periodic assessment of the effectiveness of institutional leadership and governance (Standard 4); (3) an administration characterized by (a) a chief executive officer, with the combination of academic background and other qualities appropriate to an institution of higher education, whose primary responsibility is to lead the institution toward the achievement of its goals, (b) administrative leaders with appropriate skills, degrees and training to carry out their responsibilities and functions, (c) qualified staffing appropriate to the goals, type, size and complexity of the institution, (d) clear documentation of the lines of organization and authority, and (e) improvements based on the periodic assessment of the effectiveness of administrative structures and services (Standard 5); (4) equitable and consistent treatment of all institutional constituencies in the application of (a) fair and impartial practices in the hiring, evaluation and dismissal of employees, (b) administrative reviews, (c) institutional governance and management practices, (d) policies regarding student evaluation, and (e) improvements based on periodic assessments of institutional integrity (Standard 6); and (5) basic skills and enrollment management policies and procedures that (a) support and reflect the mission of the institution, (b) ensure that admitted students who marginally meet or do not meet the institution’s qualifications achieve expected learning goals and higher education outcomes at appropriate points, and (c) makes use of periodic assessments of policies and procedures related to admission, remediation, retention, and graduation (Standard 8). A small team visit will follow submission of the monitoring report. To note the institution's obligation to inform the Commission about any and all significant developments related to any investigation(s) conducted by county, state, federal or other agencies. Copies of the report(s) that follow from any of these investigations must be submitted to the Commission within 10 business days of their completion. The date for the next accreditation review will be determined by the Commission when it revises the accreditation cycle.

 

On April 11, 2016, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted as follows:

Staff acted on behalf of the Commission to request a supplemental information report, due May 12, 2016, addressing recent developments at the College which may have implications for current and future compliance with Standard 3 (Institutional Resources), Standard 4, (Leadership and Governance), Standard 5 (Administration), and Standard 6 (Integrity).

 

Current Status and Expected Activities   

 

Essex County College remains accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education while on warning.   

Following submission of a monitoring report on September 1, 2017, the Commission will conduct a small team visit to assess the institution’s compliance with the Commission’s standards. Following the on-site visit, a report by the visiting team will be completed. The monitoring report, the small team report and the institutional response to the small team report will be considered by the Committee on Follow-Up Activities, and then by the Commission.

Following review by the Committee on Follow-up Activities, the Commission will take further action, in accordance with the Commission’s policy, Accreditation Actions (available at http://www.msche.org/documents/P2.3-AccreditationActions.pdf  ). If, based on the monitoring report and small team report, the Commission determines that Essex County College has made appropriate progress in addressing the cited concerns, the Commission may act to remove the warning and reaffirm accreditation. If the Commission determines that progress sufficient to demonstrate compliance with its accreditation standards has not been made, the Commission may take further action as allowed under Accreditation Actions

 

For More Information

The following resources provide additional information that may be helpful in understanding the Commission’s actions and Essex County College’s accreditation status:

Statement of Accreditation Status for Essex County College (http://www.msche.org/institutions_directory.asp) provides factual information about Essex County College and the full text of the Commission’s recent actions regarding the institution.

Media Backgrounder (http://www.msche.org/documents/MediaBackgrounder2017.pdf) answers questions about accreditation such as “What is accreditation?” and “What is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education?”