MIDDLE STATES COMMISSION ON HIGHER EDUCATION (MSCHE) ACCREDITATION
Delaware State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The MSCHE is “a voluntary, non-governmental, regional membership association” that currently supports the work of accreditation in 47 states, two U.S. Territories, the District of Columbia, and 94 countries.
The MSCHE assures students and the public of the educational quality of higher education. The Commission’s accreditation process ensures “institutional accountability, self-appraisal, improvement, and innovation through peer review and the rigorous application of standards within the context of institutional mission.”
In 2017, Delaware State University completed a Periodic Review Report and was reaccredited by MSCHE—see current MSCHE Statement of Accreditation Status. We are now conducting a self-study in preparation for a spring 2022 MSCHE reaccreditation review.
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is part of the self-regulation process within the independent sector of higher education in the United States. It involves a comprehensive self-study assessment along with a review by outside higher education professionals who evaluate the institution based upon its mission, operation, and goals.
The purpose of accreditation is to assure the quality and effectiveness of university educational programs and services. Delaware State University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Established in 1919, MSCHE is one of the “regional accrediting agencies” recognized by the federal government to accredit educational institutions within the mid-Atlantic region. After the completion of the 2022 Reaffirmation of Accreditation, Delaware State University will be under the eight-year cycle of self-study, external review, and commission approval with a four-year Mid-Point Peer Review.
Beginning in 2018, MSCHE instituted an Annual Institutional Update (AIU), which requires institutions to annually provide key data indicators, including student achievement data, enrollment data, information on the financial health of the institution, and optional additional data. The institution must also demonstrate on an ongoing basis that it meets the “7 Standards for Accreditation” (previously “14 Standards of Quality”) and the 15 Requirements of Affiliation, which are validated periodically.
WHAT ARE THE MSCHE 7 STANDARDS FOR ACCREDITATION?
Standard I: Mission and Goals
The institution’s mission defines its purpose within the context of higher education, the students it serves, and what it intends to accomplish. The institution’s stated goals are clearly linked to its mission and specify how the institution fulfills its mission.
Standard II: Ethics and Integrity
Ethics and integrity are central, indispensable, and defining hallmarks of effective higher education institutions. In all activities, whether internal or external, an institution must be faithful to its mission, honor its contracts and commitments, adhere to its policies, and represent itself truthfully.
Standard III: Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience
An institution provides students with learning experiences that are characterized by rigor and coherence at all program, certificate, and degree levels, regardless of instructional modality. All learning experiences, regardless of modality, program pace/schedule, level, and setting are consistent with higher education expectations.
Standard IV: Support of the Student Experience
Across all educational experiences, settings, levels, and instructional modalities, the institution recruits and admits students whose interest, abilities, experiences, and goals are congruent with its mission and educational offerings. The institution commits to student retention, persistence, completion, and success through a coherent and effective support system sustained by qualified professionals, which enhances the quality of the learning environment, contributes to the educational experience, and fosters student success.
Standard V: Educational Effectiveness Assessment
Assessment of student learning and achievement demonstrates that the institution’s students have accomplished educational goals consistent with their program of study, degree level, the institution’s mission, and appropriate expectations for institutions of higher education.
Standard VI: Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement
The institution’s planning process, resources, and structures are aligned with each other and are sufficient to fulfill its mission and goals, to continuously assess and improve its programs and services, and to respond effectively to opportunities and challenges.
Standard VII: Governance, Leadership, and Administration
The institution is governed and administered in a manner that allows it to realize its stated mission and goals in a way that effectively benefits the institution, its students, and the other constituencies it serves. Even when supported by or affiliated with governmental, corporate, religious, educational systems, or other unaccredited organizations, the institution has education as its primary purpose, and it operates as an academic institution with appropriate autonomy.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE SELF STUDY PROCESS?
The self study assesses the university’s effectiveness in relationship to its Mission and Strategic Goals. This process allows campus leaders to identify strengths and areas for improvement in relation to the Commission’s 7 Standards. The comprehensive design model for the self-study provides an excellent opportunity to involve administration, faculty, staff, students, and community members in the process of developing a more sophisticated understanding of the university mission and vision as they apply to institutional constituents as well as national and international communities.