Middle States Self-Study: Managing the Work

Professor Beatriz Urraca contributed to this post.  Professor Urraca is Associate Professor of Modern Languages, Director of Gender and Women’s Studies, and Chairperson of the Faculty Council Grants and Awards Committee.  She serves as the co-chair for Working Group I:  Mission and Goals.

Now that the Middle States self-study is underway, one of the tasks facing the working groups is figuring out how to manage the work itself.  Members of the groups and their chairs are determining the best ways to communicate with each other, delegate specific tasks, share findings, and facilitate meetings.

The working groups are using Campus Cruiser extensively, particularly the documentation roadmap in Shared Files.  The documentation roadmap consists of all the files the groups might need to analyze how well the institution is meeting the Middle States criteria.  Documents are matched up with the relevant criteria to facilitate the groups’ work on the self-study, and include anything and everything related to our work at Widener.

Mindful that members of the groups (and even some of the co-chairs) are doing an accreditation self-study for the first time, some chairs have drafted sample answers to one or two questions from the design and distributed them within the group to serve as models.

Members of the working groups have also devised a variety of ways to manage their tasks.  Several of the groups have developed a matrix to divide up the work according to the members’ areas of specialization, as well as to facilitate the running of meetings, the analysis of findings, and the generation of recommendations.  Relevant documents are identified and discussed in relation to both compliance with Middle States criteria and the strategic plan. Groups have also created a “parking lot” file of suggestions with an eye towards being able to make recommendations when it comes time to draft reports at the end of the semester. Shorter deadlines have been set up for the completion of pieces of the work in order to make the larger tasks more manageable. Groups are also identifying personnel to interview, in order to gain insights not available through reading the documents alone.

In addition to weekly or biweekly meetings, working groups are communicating with each other and with the tri-chairs over email, and using Campus Cruiser message boards.  The steering committee and the tri-chairs are also each meeting once a month.  Members of the steering committee are invited to share updates and news to be communicated here, so stay tuned.


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