Middle States Commission on Higher Education



Call for Comments; Accreditation Standards Review Process Continues

For most of the past year, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education has been involved in a thorough review of its accreditation standards, revising the standards as appropriate. These efforts have been led by a Steering Committee of Commissioners, peer reviewers, institutional representatives, and senior members of the Commission staff.

While drafting the proposed new standards, the Steering Committee conducted a series of listening sessions with national higher education experts, proponents and critics of regional accreditation, recognized innovators in higher education, and others who are interested in the Commission's work. In addition, since last March the Commission has conducted five Town Halls, enabling member institutions to provide their input to the Steering Committee.

The initial draft of the proposed new standards was reviewed by the Commission at its November 21, 2013 meeting, and was then presented for comment to member institutions at the Commission's 2013 Annual Conference, December 8-10. During February and March the Commission conducted Town Hall meetings in San Juan, PR, Baltimore, MD, and Pittsburgh, PA, to further discuss the proposed revisions to the standards. Additional Town Halls are scheduled for Philadelphia, PA, and Albany, NY.

The Commission also welcomes your comments now. Below are links to the Guiding Principles the Commission developed to assist the Steering Committee in its work and the first draft of the proposed new standards. You may submit written comments to policy@msche.org. Should you have any questions about the comment process or the proposed new standards, please write to policy@msche.org. Please do not call the Commission office with your comments or questions.

Click on any title below to download the associated document:

Guiding Principles for the Review of Characteristics of Excellence

These four Guiding Principles were developed to focus the Steering Committee on what is most important to the Commission: Mission Centric Quality Assurance, The Student Learning Experience, Continuous Improvement, and Supporting Innovation.

Proposed New Standards

This is the draft of the seven proposed standards developed by the Steering Committee following extensive input from member institutions and others in the higher education field. It is important to note that whereas the Commission currently has 14 acreditation standards, the revisions show only seven standards. In response to extensive feedback from member institutions and experienced peer evaluators, the Steering Committee attempted to streamline the standards, eliminate redundancies, and focus on clarity and brevity. While the number of standards has changed, their focus has not.  The Commission's mission-centric accreditation, and requirements regarding mission and goals; administration, leadership, and governance; integrity; student learning; student services; assessment; and planning, resource allocation, and institutional improvement, all remain in the proposed revisions, albeit with more concise language.

Comment on the Revision of Characteristics of Excellence 2013

You may comment on the proposed revisions to the standards by addressing your e-mail to policy@msche.org.