Visit from Middle States Team Chair

Last week, on November 10, our Middle States Team Chair came to campus in preparation for the March evaluation visit.  The Team Chair, Dr. Anne Skleder, met with key groups to advance our re-accreditation process to the next stage.  These included Faculty Council Executive Committee, the Student Learning Assessment Advisory Group, members of the Executive Team, members of the Board of Trustees, and student leaders, as well as the Middle States Steering Committee.  Dr. Skleder explained the accreditation process and gave a sense of how the March visit will go and what we can expect.  All in all, those who met with her found her to be a good listener, clear communicator, and experienced evaluator.

Dr. Skleder, who is Senior Vice President and Provost at Wilkes University, will lead a team of eight evaluators; the team arrives on March 26 and will be working with us until March 29.  Meanwhile, we await specific feedback from Dr. Skleder on our self-study.  Another round of revisions will take place based on her comments, before the final report goes to the team six weeks before the visit.


Middle States Thanks and Next Steps

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Middle States self-study feedback process.  We received useful comments and suggestions from faculty, staff, and administrators, both on the Main Campus and from the Schools of Law.  The attention to detail and the positive responses overall are much appreciated.

Next steps:  A final, revised version of the self-study report will be prepared by the tri-chairs, and then sent to our Team Chair no later than October 17.  Then, we will await feedback from the Team Chair while planning for the Team Chair visit, to occur on November 10.

Feedback Welcome on the Middle States Self-Study

The comment period on the Middle States self-study is underway.  An open meeting was held yesterday in Lathem Hall, and the campus community was invited to join members of the Steering Committee to share feedback.  Turnout was fairly good, comments and questions were collected, and the tri-chairs were able to provide some insight into the process.

Feedback, questions, and comments are welcome; the deadline is September 20.  Feel free to send your thoughts to the tri-chairs!

Welcome Back from Widener Middle States!

We hope our colleagues (and steadfast blog readers) have had a productive and restful summer.  The Middle States team has been working all summer on multiple drafts of the self-study report, and we are just about ready to share the document with the campus community.

The Steering Committee met today to provide feedback to the tri-chairs, who will now commence preparing a new version for wide dissemination.  Once all Steering Committee feedback is collected by the tri-chairs (deadline: Monday, August 29th), a newly edited document will then be available to the campus community on September 1.

All members of the campus community are invited to a Town Hall to discuss the draft, to be held on September 8 from 3–4 (location TBD).  Feedback is welcome and encouraged.  Those who cannot make the Town Hall are invited to send any comments and feedback to Janine Utell by September 20.   At the General Faculty meeting tomorrow, August 25, Provost Wilhite will share additional news and updates.

As always, please get in touch with any questions!  Happy new semester!

Preparing the Self-Study: Summer Timeline

We’ll be taking a bit of a summer hiatus here on the blog, as we get down to drafting the Middle States self-study report.  The writing is well underway, thanks to the labor of the working groups.

In the meantime, here is the timeline for drafting, revising, and sharing with the campus community [NOTE: This timeline has been updated as of 24 August 2016]:

  • June 1: First draft to Provost Wilhite
  • June 10: Revisions due back to Tri-Chairs
  • July 1: Second draft to President Wollman
  • July 15: Revisions due back to Tri-Chairs
  • August 1: Third draft to Steering Committee and Executive Committee
  • August 24: Steering committee meeting and feedback received
  • September 1: Fourth draft to Widener community
  • September 8: Town Hall (location TBD)
  • September 20: Final feedback due to the Tri-Chairs from all constituents
  • September 30: Final revision sent to Provost Wilhite
  • Early-mid-October: Report sent to MSCHE Team Chair
  • November 10:  MSCHE Team Chair Visit
  • March 27–29:  MSCHE Evaluating Team Visit

Just because we’ll be offline doesn’t mean we’re not available.  As always, feel free to get in touch with questions or concerns, and have a great summer!

Middle States: Spring and Summer Progress

We have met another important deadline:  the final drafts of reports from the working groups are coming in.  Our next step is to begin drafting the complete self-study report, synthesizing all the work from the teams.  The tri-chairs will meet several times over the month of April to review the working group reports and formulate a plan for writing.  The self-study draft will be available for review by the campus community at the end of the summer.

Professors Krouse and Utell will give a brief update at the next General Faculty Meeting on April 25.  In the meantime, if you see a member of a Middle States working group, make sure to say thanks!

Finally, in case you missed it, a student member of the team, Ashley Rundell, was featured in a home page story on the important contributions students make to the work of the university.  Ashley shared her experiences working on Middle States here on the blog a few months ago.  We’re grateful to Ashley, and to all those who contributed so much time, energy, and expertise to this process.





Middle States and Peer Review

The Middle States Steering Committee has completed its peer review of working group drafts.  Now it’s on to the next deadline:  revisions of working group reports are due April 1.

Peer review has played an important role in the Middle States process up to now.  Each working group draft was assigned primary and secondary reviewers, co-chairs of other groups whose work showed significant linkages to the report under review.  Co-chairs provided comments on drafts, and a wide-ranging and constructive discussion was had over two days as feedback was shared.

Interested in the role writing and peer review is playing in this process?  Much of our direction in this area was taken from our former VP Bob Schneider, who recommended this article to us:  Eloise Knowlton, “Through the Rearview Looking Glass: Collaborative Writing and the Accreditation Self-Study,”  Assessment Update 25:5 (Sept-Oct 2013).  Click here for a PDF.

Professors Krouse and Utell will be sharing updates on our process at today’s faculty meeting.  Can’t make it?  Here are the slides:

And here’s some peer review in action:
Tim Cairy, Director of Student Success and Retention and Co-Chair, Working Group IV
Tim Cairy, Director of Student Success and Retention and Co-Chair, Working Group IV