Middle States accreditation is an expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, its performance, and its resources. An institution is accredited when the educational community has verified that its goals are achieved through self-regulation and peer review. The extent to which each educational institution accepts and fulfills the responsibilities inherent in the process of accreditation is a measure of its commitment to striving for and achieving excellence in its endeavors.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Standards and Requirements of Affiliation are comprised of the enclosed seven standards and 15 requirements which serve as an ongoing guide for those institutions considering application for membership, those accepted as candidate institutions, and those accredited institutions engaged in self-review and peer evaluation. Accredited institutions are expected to demonstrate compliance with these standards and requirements, to conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the standards and requirements, and to engage in ongoing processes of self-review and improvement.
Four principles guided the development of these standards: first, the mission-centric standards acknowledge the diversity of institutions; second, the focus of the standards is on the student learning experience; third, the standards emphasize institutional assessment and assessment of student learning; fourth, the standards support innovation as an essential part of continuous institutional improvement.
These standards affirm that the individual mission and goals of each institution remain the context within which these accreditation standards are applied. They emphasize functions rather than specific structures, recognizing that there are many different models for educational and operational excellence.
Each standard is expressed in one or two sentences and is then followed by criteria. The criteria specify characteristics or qualities that encompass the standard. Institutions and evaluators will use these criteria together with the standards, within the context of institutional mission, to demonstrate or determine compliance. Institutions and evaluators should not use the criteria as a checklist.