McDaniel College Middle States 2023 Reaffirmation FAQs
McDaniel College is in the midst of the process that reaffirms our accreditation status with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). McDaniel’s accreditation was initially granted in 1922 and was most recently reaffirmed in 2013. Accreditation occurs every 10 years.
What is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)?
Since 1919, MSCHE has been a voluntary, non-governmental membership association that accredits nearly 600 colleges and universities nationally and internationally. Also known as “Middle States,” MSCHE is an institutional accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. MSCHE has been McDaniel College’s accrediting body since 1922.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a voluntary review process that demonstrates that McDaniel College is providing an excellent education in accordance with our mission and the expectations of the U.S. Department of Education.
Why does accreditation matter?
Maintaining accreditation is necessary for institutions to gain access to Title IV federal financial aid funding. Title IV is part of the Higher Education Act of 1965, the law that regulates many aspects of U.S. higher education activities.
More than 90% of McDaniel students use some form of financial aid, so accreditation — and therefore access to Title IV funding — is crucial to our ability to continue to be a College That Changes Lives for students in Maryland and beyond.
Accreditation of the college can also be a factor in transfer of credit between institutions, admission to graduate school, eligibility for certain credentialing exams and professional licensure, and employment opportunities.
According to MSCHE, “The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), through accreditation, mandates that its member institutions meet rigorous and comprehensive standards, which are addressed in the context of the mission of each institution and within the culture of ethical practices and institutional integrity expected of accredited institutions. In meeting the quality standards of MSCHE accreditation, institutions earn accredited status, and this permits them to state with confidence: ‘Our students are well-served; society is well-served.’”
What is involved in the reaffirmation process?
Preparation for reaffirmation began in the fall of 2020 with President Jasken’s appointment of a Middle States Steering Committee to lead the self-study process and subsequent formation of eight workgroups in the summer of 2021. The committee and workgroups comprise faculty, staff, leadership, and members of the Board of Trustees.
The workgroups assist in the writing of a self-study report which is a required step in the reaffirmation process. Following our submission of the self-study to MSCHE in early March 2023, MSCHE appoints a team of peer reviewers who will visit the campus to meet with our campus community. We will host them on campus April 23-26, 2023.
What is a self-study?
The Middle States self-study is a major undertaking and written report, addressing the alignment of all areas of the college with our mission, planning, and innovation processes. The self-study must address the seven Middle States standards, which are:
- Standard 1: Mission and Goals
- Standard 2: Ethics and Integrity
- Standard 3: Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience
- Standard 4: Support of the Student Experience
- Standard 5: Educational Effectiveness Assessment
- Standard 6: Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement
- Standard 7: Governance, Leadership, and Administration
McDaniel is charged to consider its educational programs, policies, and services, and evaluate how effectively we meet the standards set forth by the commission. The self-study is a reflective process for the college to determine how well these programs and services accomplish strategic plan goals and priorities as we work to fulfill our mission.
The steering committee and workgroups have been studying the college, compiling evidence, and preparing reports that document our strengths and our ability to meet the Middle States’ seven Standards for Accreditation & Requirements for Affiliation.
However, our self-study report will not simply talk about all the things we are doing well. We will also identify further opportunities for self-improvement, innovation, and better alignment with our mission and goals.
Who is involved in the self-study?
The self-study is being conducted by a steering committee made up of members of our campus community. The committee is co-chaired by Wendy Morris, Acting Provost and Dean of the Faculty, and Vickie Mazer, Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies. They are leading the 13-member steering committee, which includes representatives from faculty, staff, administration, and trustees. The steering committee members lead eight workgroups, one for each of the seven Middle States Standards and an eighth group with specific content on the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, 48 members of our community have contributed to this process by serving on a working group or the steering committee.
Additional McDaniel community members have been able to or will be invited to participate in interviews, surveys, meetings, providing information from their programs or departments, and reviewing draft reports.
What happens during the team visit?
The purpose of the team visit is to verify what we have shared with them in our self-study and to provide additional opportunities for them to learn more about our college. The focus of their visit is to confirm that we have policies, processes, and infrastructure in place to ensure that we meet the Requirements of Affiliation and the requirements outlined in the seven standards. At the end of the visit, the team will provide an oral report open to the campus community.
This oral report will outline their findings and any recommendations the team has for us. This oral report will be followed with a written report within 14 days. We will have an opportunity to correct any factual information before the report is officially submitted. Steps following the team’s submission of the final report are dependent upon the final findings that are outlined in the report.
How can I help McDaniel’s accreditation gain reaffirmation?
Ultimately, the successful completion of the self-study engages faculty, staff, administrators, students, and the Board of Trustees in providing information, feedback, and support throughout the process. We believe that the people on the Hill are what truly make this place special and so valuable to our students. With that in mind, you may be invited to join a specific meeting because of your campus role to share your experiences with the visit team. There will also be open forum meetings that we encourage all campus community members to attend.
Where can I get more information?
- Visit the college's dedicated Middle States Accreditation webpage.
- Become familiar with the Middle States standards. You can find them on the Middle States website.
- Watch your email, Campus Announcements, and Middle States Accreditation webpage for updates related to the self-study and review team visit.
- Contact Wendy Morris or Vickie Mazer, the college’s self-study steering committee co-chairs. You may also view a full list of steering committee and workgroup members on the Middle States Accreditation webpage.
- Make sure you are familiar with the mission and vision of the college.
- Make sure you are familiar with the strategic plan and goals of the college, as well as your department's work related to the plan. Academic departments should be familiar with the department assessment plans and outcomes. Get more information on the strategic plan website, Reaching New Heights.
What is the McDaniel College mission statement?
McDaniel College is a diverse, student-centered community committed to excellence in the liberal arts and sciences and professional studies. With careful mentoring and attention to the individual, McDaniel changes lives. We challenge students to develop their unique potentials with reason, imagination, and human concern. Through flexible academic programs, collaborative and experiential learning, and global engagement, McDaniel prepares students for successful lives of leadership, service, and social responsibility.
What are the Strategic Plan Initiatives?
The timing of this self-study and reaffirmation aligns well with the recent roll-out of the institution’s new strategic plan, Reaching New Heights: McDaniel College Strategic Plan 2022-2027. With so much attention recently paid to our mission, vision, and values, we are well-prepared to demonstrate how we meet the Middle States Standards. You can learn more about the strategic plan on the dedicated website: Reaching New Heights.
- Strategic Initiative 1: Improve Student Attraction, Achievement, and Outcomes
- We will provide a rich, engaging experience for students at all levels to increase student satisfaction, academic quality, and the value proposition of the institution.
- Strategic Initiative 2: Become an Employer of Choice
- We will attract and maintain top-quality talent that supports the college’s mission and value.
- Strategic Initiative 3: Build Community Partnerships
- We will expand alliances within the city of Westminster and the region to enhance the student and employee experience.
- Strategic Initiative 4: Enhance Revenue Generation, Business Operation, and Governance
- We will identify programs and operations to increase revenue, maximize resources, modernize practices, and improve integration.