MSCHE Staff Attend CHEA Annual Conference and USDE Meeting in D.C.

Standing, left to right: Vice President for Policy andSenior Policy Analyst Dr. Amy Moseder, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Dr. Stephen Pugliese, Senior Director for Regulatory Affairs Ms. Mary Beth Kait, and Lead Vice President Dr. Ellie Fogarty. Seated, left to right: President-Elect Dr. Heather Perfetti, President Dr. Elizabeth Sibolski, and Senior Vice President for Accreditation Relations Dr. Christy Faison.

Standing, left to right: Vice President for Policy and Senior Policy Analyst Dr. Amy Moseder, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Dr. Stephen Pugliese, Senior Director for Regulatory Affairs Ms. Mary Beth Kait, and Lead Vice President Dr. Ellie Fogarty. Seated, left to right: President-Elect Dr. Heather F. Perfetti, President Dr. Elizabeth H. Sibolski, and Senior Vice President for Accreditation Relations Dr. Christy L. Faison.

A contingent of staff and senior leadership from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education attended the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 2020 Annual Conference and CHEA International Quality Group (CIQG) Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., from Jan. 27 to 29, 2020.

Headlining the conference was Diane Auer Jones, Principal Deputy Undersecretary for the U.S. Department of Education (USDE), who spoke about the new federal regulations effective July 1, 2020. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who was also slated to attend, addressed the attendees instead with a video message.

Attending on behalf of the Commission was Senior Vice President for Accreditation Relations Dr. Christy L. Faison; Lead Vice President Dr. Ellie Fogarty; Senior Director for Regulatory Affairs Ms. Mary Beth Kait; Director for Research and Analytics Development Mr. Douglas MacDonald; Vice President for Policy and Senior Policy Analyst Dr. Amy Moseder; President-Elect Dr. Heather F. Perfetti; Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Dr. Stephen Pugliese; and President Dr. Elizabeth H. Sibolski.

Sessions throughout the conference touched on topics such as the relationship between accreditors and state systems, student participation in the accrediting process, and quality in higher education as it expands beyond institutional and country borders.

Secretary DeVos returned to Washington to support a closed-door meeting titled Reconnecting the Triad, which included all of the staff analysts from the United States Department of Education as well as Assistant Secretary Robert King. Dr. Sibolski and Dr. Perfetti were among the invited accreditors, representatives from state education departments, and others.

The presentation included such issues as state authorization, borrower defense to repayment, and faith-based entities. Dr. Perfetti served as a panelist for the discussion Improving Communications in Challenging Times: School Closures, and shared her experience working with the Department as well as state agencies during times of institutional closures.

Additional conversations during the day centered on better ways to identify and monitor the financial situations of institutions in order to provide an early warning to meet the needs of potentially impacted students before institutions reached a crisis situation.