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MSCHE Standard 2, 3, and 7 Insights from the 2016 Self-Study Reports

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In general, Standards 2, 3, and 7 have been incorporated into Standard VI (Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement). The 2016 Self-Study outcomes suggested that assessment-related issues will likely play a leading role in requests for follow-up reports that reference Standard VI.

Below are the leading categories on which requests for follow-up reports were based in the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s review of the self-study reports that were submitted this year.

Assessment of institutional effectiveness [that covers the total range of programs/services and/or to improve programs, services, student support services]: 63% cases

Assessment results are used to develop/revise goals, objectives, and strategies; in budgeting, planning, resource allocation; and, to improve programs/services: 53% cases

Goals, objectives, strategies (institution-wide and units) are clearly stated and/or communicated: 37% cases

Goals, objectives, plans, and strategies are linked to the institutional mission and goal achievement: 37% cases

Planning and assessment results are shared and discussed widely with appropriate constituents: 37% cases

The strategic plan, and goals, objectives, and strategies are used for planning and resource allocation: 32% cases

Steps to improve short-term and long-term financial viability/assessment of short-term and long-term viability: 21% cases

Steps taken to improve student enrollment and the institution’s short- and long-term financial viability: 25% cases

Policies and procedures guide multi-year financial planning: 11% cases

Annual and multi-year budgeting for institutions and units: 11% cases

Based on the above information, it is possible that the following provisions from Standard VI could become a focus of follow-up requests:

Standard VI, 1: Institutional objectives, both institution-wide and for individual units, that are clearly stated, assessed appropriately, linked to mission and goal achievement, reflect conclusions drawn from assessment results, and are used for planning and resource allocation.

Standard VI, 2: Clearly documented and communicated planning and improvement processes that provide for constituent participation, and incorporate the use of assessment results.

Standard VI, 3: A financial planning and budgeting process that is aligned with the institution’s mission and goals, evidence-based, and clearly linked to the institution’s and units’ strategic plans/objectives.