Self-Study Guide

This guide consists of seven modules to provide an overview of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s (Commission) self-study process and On-Site Evaluation Visit. Every eight years, institutions engage in self-study and are reviewed by peer evaluators during a culminating site visit. For an introduction to the Commission and accreditation, see Module One.

Module Two describes the multi-year self-study process that begins with the institution having preliminary discussions and making initial decisions in preparation for participation in the Commission’s Self-Study Institute.  This series of training events provide the institution’s representatives with the opportunity to gather essential information and tools to inform others and guide the next steps in the self-study process at their institutions.

Module Three includes two key elements: strategies for organizing the self-study Steering Committee to manage the institution’s self-study process and drafting the Self-Study Design, the comprehensive planning document for the process.

Module Four provides a brief overview of the Self-Study Preparation Visit conducted by the institution’s Vice President for Institutional Relations. During the visit the Self-Study Design is discussed, and the liaison assists the institution’s Steering Committee and conveys essential information about accreditation, the Commission, and the self-study process to the campus community.

Module Five focuses on overseeing the self-study process as well as the research, writing, and documentation identification necessary to prepare the Self-Study Report and Evidence Inventory as outlined in the Self-Study Design.

Module Six takes a deeper dive into the Evidence Inventory (EI), discussing strategies for organizing and managing the EI, and providing guidance on submission of the EI through the MSCHE portal.

Module Seven details the activities of the peer review component of the Self-Study Evaluation.  It provides an overview of the process for the selection of the Team Chair and Team Members and guidance for preparing for and hosting the Team Chair’s Preliminary Visit. This module also outlines how the institution should prepare for the Self-Study Evaluation Visit and what activities are expected during the visit.  Finally, activities after the Self-Study Evaluation Visit are described, including information on the deadlines for finalizing reports and when to expect a Commission decision.

Disclaimer: The material provided in this guide was developed to provide clarity for the self-study process. Commission Policy and Procedures will govern in the case of a conflict with this material. For any questions about an institution’s accreditation status or for additional information about MSCHE’s standards for accreditation, requirements of affiliation, policies, and procedures, you should contact MSCHE staff. This material is not intended as a substitute for professional advice from MSCHE staff and use of the material does not guarantee any specific accreditation outcome.