Buffalo Town Hall Covers Commission Updates and National Accreditation Trends

Dr. Andrea Lex, Senior Vice President for Operations, provided an overview of the new member portals and the inaugural Annual Institutional Update during the Town Hall.

Dr. Andrea Lex, Senior Vice President for Operations, provided an overview of the new member portals and the inaugural Annual Institutional Update during the Town Hall.

More than 100 higher education administrators attended the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Town Hall in Buffalo, NY, on Sept. 13, 2018, at the Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER. The first of three Town Halls being held this year, Commission staff covered an array of topics impacting member institutions to the external world of accreditation.

MSCHE President Dr. Elizabeth H. Sibolski began the Town Hall by speaking about the trends happening with institutions in the region as well as the larger context of accreditation at the federal level. Dr. Andrea Lex, Senior Vice President for Operations, provided an overview of the new member portals and the inaugural Annual Institutional Update. A refresher about components of the fully implemented accreditation cycle was provided by Dr. Robert Schneider, Senior Vice President for Accreditation Relations, while Dr. Heather Perfetti, Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and Chief of Staff, spoke about the changes happening with Commission policy and procedures, and Mr. Brian Kirschner, Director of Communications and Public Relations, gave an overview of the new msche.org website and communications strategies.

President Dr. Elizabeth H. Sibolski addressed presidents and provosts at a pre-Town Hall breakfast.

President Dr. Elizabeth H. Sibolski addressed presidents and provosts at a pre-Town Hall breakfast.

Prior to the Town Hall, Dr. Sibolski addressed presidents and provosts, highlighting the potential impact of the recently announced U.S. Department of Education negotiated rulemaking process. She also spoke about the turn towards data involving graduation rates, cohort default rates, and loan repayment rates being reflected in many national conversations.

Ms. Diana Bonner, Executive Assistant to the Vice Presidents, at the ALO workshop.

Ms. Diana Bonner, Executive Assistant to the Vice Presidents, at the ALO workshop.

In the afternoon, Commission staff Ms. Diana Bonner, Executive Assistant to the Vice Presidents, Vice President Dr. Stephen Pugliese, and Dr. Schenider held a workshop for Accreditation Liaison Officers (ALO). The half-day session focused on the role of the ALO on campus; revisions to MSCHE accreditation processes, including aspects of the Self-Study, Annual Institution Update, Mid-Point Peer Review, and federal compliance; and strategies for campus communication and engagement.

Town Halls allow the Commission to update members on topics ranging from changes at MSCHE to the political environment and/or the accreditation landscape that has the potential to impact the higher education community. It is also an opportunity for members to ask questions of Commission staff.

The Commission will hold two more Town Halls in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Feb. 28, 2019, and Harrisburg, PA on March 26, 2019.

A copy of the Buffalo Town Hall slide deck is available here.