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Most of the 2016 Self-Study Report results have now been posted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The remaining results will be posted on July 4. For the first time, MSCHE listed specific Requirements of Affiliation in requests for follow-up reports.
All accredited institutions are expected to be in compliance with the Requirements of Affiliation. Compliance is expected to be continuous in all areas. MSCHE’s publicly-reported accreditation actions have identified each of the 14 accreditation standards for which institutions were expected to follow up. However, in the current cycle, Requirement of Affiliation (ROA) #5 and #7 were cited.
ROA #5 was cited for an institution at which a lobbyist alleged to have been involved in bid-rigging had an office. The institution was reminded that it needs to keep MSCHE informed of developments related to that investigation.
ROA #7, which is tied to an institution’s mission and goals, was cited for another. ROA #7 states:
The institution has a statement of mission and goals, approved by its governing body, that defines its purpose within the context of higher education.
The institution had a mission statement that had been updated on February 23, 2013. However, MSCHE’s request for a monitoring report requested evidence that “includes planning and improvement processes that are clearly communicated, provide for constituent participation, and incorporate the use of assessment results.”
MSCHE Accreditation Standard I (Mission and Goals) contains several relevant provisions. Those provisions declare that an institution’s mission and goals:
- Are developed through appropriate collaborative participation by all who facilitate or are otherwise responsible for institutional development and improvement (1a)
- Are approved and supported by the governing body (1c)
- Are publicized and widely known by the institution’s internal stakeholders (1f)
- Are periodically evaluated (1g)
These citations may indicate that MSCHE is transitioning toward placing greater emphasis on the Requirements of Affiliation/Compliance. If so, all of the Requirements of Affiliation, especially those that are related to specific accreditation standards may require greater attention in institutional reporting to MSCHE.