Photo courtesy: The Middle States Commission on Higher Education website.
By Angel Adegbesan
York College officials are expecting to have the college removed from the warning list of Middle States Commission of Higher Education (MSCHE) regarding its accreditation status, when representatives from the organization visit the campus in March.
York gets accredited every 10 years. The last MSCHE accreditation visit at York was in 2018. York’s accreditation was reaffirmed for 10 years in 2008. In preparation for the 2018 visit, the College community prepared a self-study report responding to the seven accreditation standards established by the MSCHE.
The visiting committee that came last March reported their findings about the college to the MSCHE. York was found to have met six out of the seven standards and did not meet the eighth and tenth affiliation requirements.
The college was then required “to provide evidence of consistent and meaningful assessment of academic program and general education through multiple cycles of a systematic and sustained process that informs improvement in educational effectiveness.”
The visiting committee reported their findings to the MSCHE and the college was placed on a warning list in June, 2018. The college was also given two years to meet the standards and affiliation requirements to get off the warning list.
York continues to be accredited while on the warning list, which is a temporary status to provide the opportunity to implement activities for the assessment of student learning outcomes at the program and institutional levels.
“We are far from losing an accreditation because if we put it in the context of grades, we didn’t get an A plus, we got an A minus,” said Provost Panayiotis Meleties. “So we are still accredited but it’s just that they had some questions. It wasn’t clear in the report how we were approaching certain things and they put us on the warning list and gave us two years to demonstrate to their satisfaction that we are doing what they expect us to do.”
After the MSCHE decision in June, the York community formed three committees to meet the fifth standard assessment and the requirements of the eighth and tenth affiliations. These committees are the General Education Assessment Committee, the Academic Assessment Committee, and the Administrative Educational Student Support Assessment Committees.
These committees were to report on assessment activities taking place at York, design and implement an annual and a five-year assessment plans for each department and unit. Each committee generated a report that was submitted to the Monitoring Report Committee and became part of a monitoring report that will be submitted to MSCHE by March 1, 2019.
At the 2019 annual Spring Symposium, the three committees presented their reports and findings to the college community. Meleties said the version presented at the Symposium was the ninth version of the report.York faculty members were asked to read the report and give their feedback.
The Federal Government requires that all colleges receiving federal funding be accredited. The Federal Department of Education delegates the accreditation authority to seven regional higher education accreditation commissions. MSCHE is one of them. This accreditation process through the monitoring of MSCHE, aims to continuously assess the college’s operations for continuous improvement of student learning outcomes and success, according to the MSCHE website.
The Middle States visiting team will be back at York from March 19 to March 20.
According to Provost Meleties, the accreditation enables the college to enjoy certain privileges like applying for federal grants. It also enables the college to prepare students with accredited degree programs that are recognized by other institutions and professional organizations.
“If a college loses its accreditation, then it’s basically closing down because the fact that the college has accreditation, it allows the college to participate in government programs to help the students,” Meleties added. “For example the financial aid program, if the college is not accredited, then the college cannot process financial aid for the students. But it’s not really a process that they come in one year. They are going to put you on a warning list and they are going to give you several warnings. It takes several years and several cycles.”
Responses, decisions and reports are public records and are available on York website. More information can be obtained on the MSCHE website.