MSCHE Formalizes Separation from MSA, Amends Bylaws

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) officially withdrew from the Middle States Association (MSA) on July 1, 2019. The withdrawal was approved by the Board of Trustees of MSA and the Executive Committee of MSCHE in May 2019.

The withdrawal from MSA closes the chapter on the separation of the two entities that had been associated for about 100 years. A ruling by the United States Department of Education in 2010 led MSCHE to separately incorporate under Pennsylvania Commonwealth law. The resulting entity emerged on March 1, 2013, and has been operating separately and independently as the Mid-Atlantic Region Commission on Higher Education, doing business as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

“In the years since the Middle States Commission on Higher Education incorporated, the Commission was still a part of the Middle States Association and still had a presence on the MSA Board, but it really did not make sense given the distinct focus of the two,” said MSCHE President Dr. Elizabeth H. Sibolski. “I am very happy that all parties worked together to allow MSCHE to amicably withdraw from the MSA.”

MSCHE adopted amended bylaws, effective July 1, 2019, to reflect the withdrawal of MSCHE from MSA. In addition, the amended bylaws clarify the roles and responsibilities of institutional members, reflect an updated policy-making process, and capture current practices of the Commission based primarily on changes to the accreditation cycle. In addition, the policy Institutional Responsibilities in the Accreditation Process has been withdrawn since updated roles and responsibilities of membership were incorporated into the amended bylaws.

New Policy Voting Procedures

One shift relates to how the Commission processes approvals for revised or new policies. Existing practices require that the membership vote to adopt policy, even after the Commission completed a first and second review and has voted to approve. The amended bylaws now reflect that the Commission’s approval be regarded as final.

The policy-making process still requires that the Commission conduct a first review to move the policy draft to the next phase, which is the call for comments among the membership as well as from the public. The call for comments has proven to be the most valuable phase of policy development or revision. The staff receive and make revisions to the draft of the policy based on the comments and present the final version of the policy to the Commission, along with a summary of revisions based on the comments received. The Commission would then consider the policy and, as representatives of the membership, vote. That vote would be considered final.

To review the amended and restated bylaws, click here.