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Middle States Commission on Higher Education Reaffirms College's Accreditation

Middle States Commission on Higher Education Reaffirms College's Accreditation

Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., president of Chestnut Hill College, announced today that The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) reaffirmed the College’s accreditation for the next ten years. The College’s next Periodic Review Report will be due November 1, 2018.  

A Middle States Commission on Higher Education evaluation team visited in February, issuing an oral report that affirmed the College is meeting the 14 standards for institutional and educational effectiveness required for reaccreditation. The team’s primary affirmation was that the College’s mission of holistic education in an inclusive Catholic community was alive and well, said Barbara Hogan, Ph.D., dean of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS) and co-chair of the College’s reaccreditation steering committee. “They found it in classrooms, in offices, and among the students,” said Dr. Hogan. “The people they met embodied that and were found to represent the school’s greatest strength.” 

Most of the recommendations the team made stemmed from the College’s own self-study. Chiefly, to continue assessing every aspect of the school and to link the data to make improvements and guide decisions on resource allocation, Dr. Hogan said. 

“I like to think of it as a movement, a trajectory,” Dr. Hogan said. “The hope is that Middle States gave us language and standards to keep moving in the right direction as we become a larger and more complex organization.” 

In response to the Middle States Self-Study recommendations, the College is already actively engaged in the strategic planning process to guide the College through the next five years. 

“It’s very much of a dynamic process,” said Steven Guerriero, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs. “The key is to build strategic thinking and capacity into our institution to have the ability to respond to changes in the higher education landscape.” 

A key component of the strategic planning process is devising scenarios, he said — if X happens, let’s do Y. 

“That requires thoroughness in assessing your strengths and weaknesses in the context of current trends and issues in higher education that we feel we need to address. 

“Whether it’s facilities or student life or academics, we really want to create a sustainable community here,” he continued, “A mission-driven, learning-centered community.” 

The strategic planning process requires copious input from all corners of that community. As was the case during Middle States, the committee seeks to engage each member of the community and sift through the feedback to structure its plan. The committee will structure and write the plan this summer and present it to the College’s board of directors in the fall. 

“It’s exploring what it means to be a liberal arts college in the 21st century,” Dr. Guerriero said. “We’re excited about the process and what it can mean to the College.”

For more information about this press release or other Chestnut Hill College news, contact the News and Community Relations office.