2019 Self-Study Institute Lays the Foundation for Institutional Success

More than 170 individuals from 64 institutions attended the 2019 Self-Study Institute.

More than 170 individuals from 65 institutions attended the annual Self-Study Institute (SSI) hosted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) from October 28-29, 2019, in Philadelphia.

A self-study requires an institution to engage in an in-depth, comprehensive, and reflective assessment process to identify institutional priorities as well as opportunities for improvement and innovation. SSI helps member institutions prepare for the self-study process that ultimately leads to granting or reaffirmation of accreditation.

“This is a process that allows your institution to evaluate itself against its mission, priorities, and goals,” President-Elect Dr. Heather F. Perfetti told the attendees. “It’s somewhat of a forced opportunity to pause and celebrate the institution’s successes while preparing for its future through improvement  initiatives that will make the institution the strongest that it can be.”

President-Elect Dr. Heather F. Perfetti (right) and Vice President Dr. Idna Corbett shared opening remarks.

Generally, the self-study process begins about two years before an institution submits its Self-Study Report. Colleges and universities at this year’s SSI will be evaluated in 2021-2022. Through this process, the institution must provide evidence and document compliance with the Commission’s standards for accreditation, requirements of affiliation, policies and procedures, and federal compliance requirements.

“(Self-study) is a continuous process of improvement, and the Commission encourages you to embrace self-study, be honest and reflective about where the institution sits and where it is going, and create for you and your colleagues a journey that is not simply about reaffirmation but is about the future health and well-being of your institution for years to come,” Dr. Perfetti continued.

Throughout the two days, attendees gathered valuable information at plenary and breakout sessions and were able to participate in hands-on activities that will aid in shaping the process of producing their institution’s Self-Study Report.

An opening plenary session included (left to right) Dr. Heather Kelly Director of Institutional Research, University of Delaware; Dr. Jamie McMinn, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Psychology, Westminster College; and Dr. Hilda Colón-Plumey, Vice President.

“We were pleased and impressed with the level of engagement of the SSI participants,” said MSCHE Vice President Dr. Idna Corbett who served as Chair of the SSI staff planning committee. “We are very grateful for the participation of several institutional representatives from previous SSI cohorts who served as co-facilitators and panelists, and who shared their experiences with the participants.”

Those co-facilitators included:

  • Jean Gallagher, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Pace University
  • José García León, Dean of Academic Affairs and Assessment, The Juilliard School
  • Michael Goodstone, Associate Provost, SUNY at Farmingdale
  • Penny Haynes, Vice President of Academic Affairs, SUNY Broome Community College
  • Dawn Hayward, Assistant Vice President for Assessment & Compliance, Gwynedd-Mercy University
  • Heather Kelly, Director of Institutional Research University of Delaware
  • Jamie McMinn, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Psychology, Westminster College
  • Melody Moore, Associate Vice President, Program Development and Partnerships, Carroll Community College
  • Nancy Ritze, Dean for Research, Planning and Assessment, Bronx Community College of CUNY

Vice President Dr. Ellie A. Fogarty leads a group during a break-out session.

The SSI planning committee also included Vice Presidents Dr. Ellie A. Fogarty and Dr. Hilda Colon Plumey, and Director for Volunteer Training and Development Ms. Gabriela Davie. In addition, support for the event was provided by the entire Vice President Unit as well as others throughout the MSCHE organization.

“The Self-Study Institute is well-worth the investment of time by the participants. Institutions gain valuable insights into the Commission’s expectations and processes,” said Dr. Christy Faison, Senior Vice President for Accreditation Relations.

To learn more about the self-study process and On-Site Evaluation Visit conducted by peer evaluators as part of the MSCHE’s eight-year cycle of review of accredited institutions, visit the Commission’s Accreditation Review Cycle and Monitoring Procedures. In addition, the Commission makes available an online Self-Study Guide to give an overview of the process.

Senior Vice President for Accreditation Relations Dr. Christy Faison reviewed the MSCHE accreditation and review cycle.