The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), with the consent of its many member institutions, decided to revise the standards for accreditation in 2014. The previous set of standards were fourteen in number whereas the new standards are comprised of seven items [hyperlink]. It should be noted that although the number of standards has been halved, this does not mean there is any lessening of rigor for accreditation. Rather, the MSCHE felt that the new streamlined standards would help to avoid redundancies that were leading to overly lengthy reports and that were increasingly demanding on the time of participant institutions. Furthermore, and more importantly, the new streamlined standards shift the focus of the self-study to “an increased emphasis on institutional self-reflection,” concentrating mainly on the mission of the university and the delivery of the student learning experience. (MSCHE Newsletter, 2014).
In order to facilitate a smooth transition to the new standards, MSCHE has asked fifteen member institutions who are up for reaccreditation in 2017 to participate in the Collaborative Implementation Project (CIP). RIT, along with fourteen other schools, have been asked to meet several times over the course of the next 2.5 years to share their experiences with the new standards with each other and with the MSCHE. In addition, the co-chairs of the re-accreditation process have been asked to train co-chairs from other schools who will be required to undergo re-accreditation under the new standards in the future. RIT is pleased to participate in this project because it means that MSCHE views RIT as an institution in very good standing, and, of course, it allows RIT to be ahead of the curve, as it were, with the new standards. RIT has always thought of itself as a leader in higher education, and this project only confirms this.
The Collaborative Implementation Project is certainly a learning experience for RIT, but it is also an opportunity to provide valuable feedback to the MSCHE on the new standards for accreditation. Community involvement in the re-accreditation process is always of the highest importance in the life of the university, and this is especially true now as we embark on this exciting new project. We’ll look forward to providing you with further information as the project progresses over the next couple years, but in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us should you have any questions, concerns, or feedback.
Christine Licata, Senior Associate Provost, Accreditation Liaison Officer
Anne Wahl, Assistant Provost, Co-chair MSCHE 2017 Self-Study
Michael Laver, Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Co-chair MSCHE 2017 Self-Study