Many times, when we are examining our institution’s assessment processes, we find ourselves asking the question, “What does our regional accrediting agency expect in terms of our assessment processes?” In some ways, this hearkens back to when we were doing our chores because our parents made us. Mom wants us to wash the dishes…okay, how well does she want them washed? Now, as adults, we don’t wash the dishes “well enough,” we wash the dishes until they’re clean. Similarly, if we approach our assessment processes focused on the external demands, we’re more likely to run into problems down the road. Rather than doing assessment because “the accreditor says so,” far better to focus on the intrinsic motivations for assessment: we want to improve our programs. We want our students to learn and to be successful after they leave the institution.
So, your institution has an upcoming reaffirmation of accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)? Here are some tips to help you put your best foot forward and prepare for a successful reaffirmation.
Assessment practices in higher education directly impact many aspects of the institution. This can include student success and continuous improvement, among other areas. Below, we share ten ways your institution can improve your assessment process.
Accreditation for institutions of higher education is essential for ensuring that your students are successful in their chosen career paths and for promoting institutional and programmatic excellence. The following outlines what every academic leader must know about the process.
Strategic planning can shape the future of a higher education institution, from effectively managing budgeted funds to driving continuous improvement efforts. Below, we outline ten ways your institution can get the most out of its strategic planning efforts.
Institutional accreditation is an assurance that an institution of higher education meets a series of quality standards. Accreditation standards require institutions to demonstrate that they adhere to good practices in higher education. Furthermore, accrediting agencies should be recognized by organizations such as the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the US Department of Education. An accrediting agency without this recognition may be seen as an “accreditation mill,” an agency that offers to award accreditation to programs or institutions without the rigor and high standards of the recognized accrediting agencies.
Program accreditation (also called specialized accreditation) is a type of accreditation that is focused on professional preparation programs within institutions of higher education (e.g., the Nursing program, the School of Business, etc.).
Each institution generally has the flexibility to define its administrative and support departments as it sees fit. A good starting point is to define administrative and support departments based on the institution’s organization chart. If you choose to define administrative and support departments differently than those shown on the organization chart, just be sure to have a good (and documented) rationale for doing so – your peer reviewers will probably ask about it during your reaccreditation process.
So, your institution has an upcoming reaffirmation of accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)? You’re in good company: the Higher Learning Commission is the largest regional accreditor in the United States, serving institutions in 19 states. Here are some tips to help you put your best foot forward and prepare for a successful reaffirmation.
There are many ways in which we can assess how well our programs are reaching their goals or outcomes. If we are trying to assess non-learning program outcomes, the method will depend on the outcome itself.