Middle States: What Are Our Intended Outcomes?

First of all, a welcome and thank you to all our new subscribers.  Please feel free to send along suggestions for future posts, and share your thoughts in the comments. Guest posts are also welcome; get in touch if you’re interested!

We’ll be posting again in mid-August as everyone gears up for the new semester, and then about twice a month after that.  In addition to sharing updates from monthly steering committee meetings and progress along our timeline, we’ll also be providing resources and insights from those working on Middle States.

As we take a bit of a summer break, it might be worth reflecting:  what are we hoping to get out of going through the self-study and re-accreditation process?  Of course, we would like to demonstrate our meeting of the Middle States standards, but beyond that, how can we use the process to envision where we would like to be as an institution?

If we think of the Middle States self-study and re-accreditation process as an opportunity to reflect and reaffirm, we might be in an even better position as an institution to move forward in meeting our mission.  In a future post, we’ll be sharing resources for thinking through the big-picture implications of this process, but in the meantime, we thought we might highlight the intended outcomes from our self-study:

  • Comprehensively assess how well the university is meeting the new regional accreditation standards, at the end of one strategic plan and the beginning of another.
  • Identify how the ongoing assessment of processes and outcomes can be strengthened.
  • Use the findings of the comprehensive assessment of how the university is meeting accreditation standards to help shape unit-level objectives and associated measures for the new strategic plan.
  • Strengthen processes and procedures for ongoing assessment of progress in achieving strategic goals and objectives that regularly provide data relevant to documenting compliance with accreditation standards.
  • Identify elements of existing evaluations of programs (both academic and non-academic) that can be incorporated into a common, university-wide framework for program evaluation that includes multiple measures of program sustainability (e.g., cost, revenue generation, impact, quality of program outcomes, contribution to institution’s reputation, etc.).
  • Collect and study evidence that shows how the mission, vision, and goals of the institution are contributing to student success, and develop ways of using that evidence to implement, fulfill, and assess the strategic plan.
  • Leverage the self-study and strategic planning processes in order to assess where we are and move forward with key aspects of our mission, especially civic engagement, leadership, scholarship, student success, and agility/innovation.
  • Build on a collaborative and inclusive process/culture/climate to complete and learn from the self-study.

What do some of these outcomes mean for you as a member of the Widener community, and how do you see your role in contributing?  Feel free to share in the comments!

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