2024-2025 MSCHE Self-Study

Accreditation is a process by which colleges and universities are evaluated by an external organization to determine if they meet certain standards of quality. These standards may relate to the institution's academic programs, faculty, facilities, and financial stability.

There are several reasons why institutions of higher education are required to be accredited:

  1. Quality assurance: Accreditation helps ensure that institutions of higher education meet certain standards of quality. This helps students and their families know that they are getting a high-quality education that will prepare them for their future careers.

  2. Eligibility for federal financial aid: In order to be eligible to receive federal financial aid, such as grants and loans, institutions of higher education must be accredited by an organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. This helps ensure that students are receiving financial aid to attend institutions that meet certain standards of quality.

  3. Transferability of credits: Accreditation helps ensure that credits earned at one institution will be recognized and accepted by other institutions. This is important for students who may want to transfer credits from one institution to another or who may want to pursue a graduate degree after completing their undergraduate studies.

Salem Community College received reaffirmation of accreditation in 2016 and expects to earn reaffirmation by the conclusion of the 2025 academic year. 

    LAY THE GROUNDWORK 

    Fall 2022: President to appoint Co-Chairs of Self-Study Steering Committee 

    Fall 2022: Co-chairs attend virtual MSCHE Self-Study Institute 

    Dec 2022: President and Co-Chairs to select a Self-Study model (Standards-based) 

    Jan 2023: Co-Chairs analyze gaps in completion of recommendations from 2016 Site Team Visit; Schedule campus visit by MSCHE Liaison Dr. Paul Starkey ; Maria arranges for schedule and travel arrangements 


    DRAFT THE SELF-STUDY DESIGN 

    January 9, 2023: Self-Study Steering Committee meets to review timetable for developing a draft of the Self-Study design, including development of charge questions for the Working Groups  

    January 10, 2023: Co-Chairs introduce Steering Committee to College community at Opening Session and outline two-year process preparing for submission of Self-Study to MSCHE 

    Late Jan-Mar 2023: Self-Study Committee meets regularly to complete Self-Study design draft and compile the evidence inventory, identify evidence gaps, and review prior recommendations. Draft submitted for Presidential review and sent to Dr. Starkey 

    April 2023: Dr. Starkey visits SCC to review and discuss Self-Study design 

    April-May 2023: Self-Study Steering Committee meets as needed to revise Self-Study design draft, and final version is approved by President and sent to Dr. Starkey for approval 

    May-June 2023: Dr. Starkey approves Self-Study design 


    DRAFT THE SELF-STUDY 

    August 2023: Co-chairs kick off drafting phase at Opening Session; Self-Study Steering Committee meets to review timetable for drafting Self-Study chapter for each group of standards 

    Sep 2023 - Mar 2024: Self-Study Committee meets regularly to oversee research and reporting by Working Groups, and Co-chairs meet regularly with Working Group Co-Chairs to keep on track; Working Groups involve entire College community; IR&P to coordinate surveys and other data requests and organizes evidence inventory. 

    January 2024: Co-chairs share update with College community at Opening Session 

    April 2024: Co-chairs share complete Self-Study draft with President and Exec Staff and incorporate feedback in draft to be shared with College community 

    May 2024: Co-chairs post complete Self-Study draft for comment from all internal stakeholders; President shares draft of Self-Study with Board 

    July - Aug 2024: Co-Chairs edit Self-Study and ensure HEOA compliance and all appendices are ready;  

    Sep 2024: Share final draft with Board for approval to submit to MSCHE and with Team Chair 

    Nov 2024: College submits Self-Study to MSCHE  


    PREPARING FOR THE SITE VISIT 

    Dec 2023 - Jan 2024: MSCHE selects Site Visit Team Chair; President approves or denies the selection 

    Spring 2024: President and Team Chair (once selected) select date for Team Chair’s preliminary visit to campus in Fall 2024 and potential dates for Site Visit in Spring 2025 

    College sends copy of the approved Self-Study design to Team Chair 

    MSCHE selects other Site Visit Team members; President approves or denies the selection of each member 

    President and Team Chair agree on schedule for Site Visit 

    Fall 2024: College sends current draft of Self-Study to Team Chair at least two weeks prior to Team Chair’s visit to campus 

    Team chair visits campus 

    Nov 2024: College sends final draft of Self-Study to Team Chair 

    Dec 2024: Maria arranges for schedule for Site Visit and travel arrangements for Site Visit Team members 

    Jan 2025: College sends final version of Self-Study and Appendices to MSCHE and Site Visit Team members at least six weeks prior to Site Visit 

    Mar - April 2025: Site Visit 

    Ken Robell

    Vice President of Academic Affairs, Accreditation Liaison Officer, Core Steering Committee Co-Chair, Standard 3 & 5 Co-Chair
    Ken Robell

    Ken Robell was appointed Vice President in 2022 after working in administration and faculty at the college. He played key roles in simplifying placement of new students into college level courses and redesigning developmental math and English. His support for expansion of Nursing, Scientific Glass Technology, and high school partnerships strengthened enrollment at the college.

     

    Since joining SCC in 2012, Professor Martin’s major accomplishments include streamlining the developmental English sequence to include a highly-effective co-requisite course and chairing the Outcomes Assessment Committee for two two-year terms. During SCC’s previous Self-Study, Professor Martin served as Co-Chair of several standards. She has also served as a MSCHE peer-evaluator for SUNY Schenectady County Community College in 2019 and Garrett College in 2020.  

    Ron Burkhardt currently serves as the Assistant Dean for Institutional Research and Planning.  Since joining SCC in 2013 he has served in a variety of capacities and facilitated several grants, projects, research, and improvement related activities. Throughout his 20 years of higher education experience he has worked in residential housing, information technology, financial aid, workforce development, grants, and institutional research and planning. 

    Since joining Salem Community College in 2012, Kelly Schimpf has held a variety of roles in both Student Services and Academic Affairs, and currently serves as the Dean of Enrollment Management & Student Services and Title IX Coordinator. During her time at SCC Kelly has championed the adoption and expansion of technology solutions to support the student experience, and expanded local high school partnerships and programs. Kelly previously participated on a working group during the last Self-Study.

    Amy Bennis-Kimball serves as Salem Community College’s Director of Admissions and Title IX Deputy Coordinator for (Students).  Since joining SCC in 2021, she has contributed to the student experience through collaborative DEI initiatives (GLSEN Day of Silence, Preferred Name/Pronoun implementation) and technology adaptation (online appointment scheduling, Admissions chatbot). Throughout her 20 years in higher education advising and program coordination, she has supported MSCHE, NCATE and Title II accreditation efforts at various institutions.

     

    Howard Valentine is Associate Professor of Mathematics.  He has been instructing SCC for over 23 years.  He teaches at the developmental course level through Precalculus. Prof. Valentine headed the first co-requisite enhancement type Math Courses at SCC.  These were derived from best practices in the state of NJ to aid identified students to achieve success in the associated College Level Math Course.  

    Chief Financial Officer Rodney Jefferson's experience includes accounting, finance, auditing, budgeting and strategic planning. Prior to his appointment at SCC, Rod was Director of Finance and Administration/CFO/Comptroller for the Newark (N.J.) Public Library.  He planned, directed and controlled all functions of the finance department, including general/fund accounting, purchasing, budgeting, cash management, information technology, payroll, accounts payable and facilities, overseeing 55 professionals.

    Since joining Salem Community College in December 2019, Dr. Covello’s main accomplishments include increasing nursing student enrollment and successfully overseeing the Spring 2022 Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) accreditation for the Associate Degree Nursing program. Dr. Covello is a current member of Associate Degree Nursing Council and serves as a member of the Salem Medical Center (Inspira Health Affiliate) Nurse Residence Advisory Board. Dr.  Covello has served as a peer evaluator for ACEN twice a year since 2017.

    Maura Cavanagh Dick serves as Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Title IX Deputy Coordinator (Academic Affairs), and Chair of the DEI Committee.  Since joining the College in 2006, she has made many curricular contributions to the Biological and Health Science programs, serving as an Associate Professor of Biology, and during SCC’s previous Self Study, she served as the co-chair of the Self Study Steering Committee.

    Bill Clark

    Director of Public Affairs, Alumni, and Outreach, Co-Chair Standard 1-2, 7
    Bill Clark

    Bill Clark is Director of Public Relations, Community Outreach and Alumni Affairs.  Currently SCC’s longest-serving administrator, Clark facilitates the College’s many special events with K-12, government and business partners. His writing and management skills also support the College’s International Flameworking Conference, Commencement and Gala.  Clark serves as the College’s public information officer, a role that was especially critical during the pandemic. 

    Jenna Lucente is an Associate Professor of Art at Salem Community college who brings real world experience into the classroom.  Recent artistic accomplishments for this artist include a permanent public art installation at the Arthur Kill Station in Staten Island NY (MTA), and upcoming, a permanent public art installation at the Elizabeth Station in Elizabeth, New Jersey (NJTransit). Jenna also was recently co-curator of a large contemporary glass exhibit at The Delaware Contemporary where over 30 artists were on display across 7,000 sq feet of gallery space. 

    Kristin Deady

    Assistant Dean of Glass Education, Co-Chair Standard 3 and 5
    Kristin Deady

    Kristin Deady serves as Assistant Dean in Glass Education at SCC. Since arriving at SCC in 2016 she has strengthened the educational and employment opportunities for students enrolled in the college’s glass focused degree programs. She has expanded the offerings of the college’s glass center to include a variety of non-credit glass workshops and events. Kristin was a key partner in the development of, and move to, SCC’s new 20,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art glass center in 2019.  

    Professor Mays has been a member of the faculty since 2001 teaching Mathematics.  Along with teaching, he is a faculty academic advisor and Phi Theta Kappa honor society chapter advisor.  Professor Mays has served on several MSCHE committees throughout the last two Self-studies.

    Standards and Chapters  

    4. Support of the Student Experience  

      

    6. Planning, Resources, Institutional Improvement  

    1. Mission and Goals  

    2. Ethics & Integrity  

    7. Governance, Leadership, and Administration  

      

    3. Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience  

    5. Educational Effectiveness Assessment  

      

    Linked Requirements of Affiliation 

    3, 4 

    10, 11 

    1, 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14 

    9, 15 

    Strategic Plan Link 

    INCREASE EDUC ATTAIN  

    COLLEGE OF CHOICE  

    OPPORTUNITY ENGINE  

    IMPROVE SUCCESS  

    Executive Co-Chair  

    Kelly Schimpf  

    Rod Jefferson  

    Maura Cavanagh-Dick  

    Ken Robell  

    Staff Co-Chair  

    Amy Bennis-Kimball 

    Terri Covello 

    Bill Clark 

    Kristin Deady 

    Faculty Co-Chair 

    Howard Valentine 

    Jennifer Martin 

    Jenna Lucente 

    William Mays 

    Workgroup Members - actively supporting committee and co-chairs 

    Laura Green  

    Joe Pritchett 

    Irma Aguirre 

    Heather Stith 

    Cal Cizek 

    Bob Bunnell 

    Faculty 

     

    Larry McKee 

    Lynn McCosker 

    Ryan Danner 

    Mary Eklund  

    Noah McFadden  

    Charles Erhardt 

    Faculty 

     

    Maria Fantini 

    Brian Marsh 

    Jill James 

    Katelyn Good 

    Faculty 

     

    Jennifer Pierce 

    Lauren Schwartz 

    Faculty 

     

     

    Key Contributors – support workgroup as required 

    Terrence DeLane 

    Marissa Stanko 

    John Holt 

    Wendy Decker 

    Sonia Bermudez 

    Anetha Perry 

    Bonnie Rivera 

     

    Adrienne Muscemi 

    Janette Irizzary 

    Kevin Blair 

    Lena Doumenis 

     

    Mike Gorman 

    Dave Kelk  

    Stacy Brown 

    Alicia Smith 

    Bruce Watkins 

    Joe Henderson 

    Chuck Weigle 

     

    Rosemma Ward 

    Doug Ohm 

    Nick Simmons 

    Mickey McAllister 

    Mary Eklund 

    Anna Manogue 

     

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    Requirements of Affiliation 

    1. The institution is authorized or licensed to operate as a postsecondary educational institution and to award postsecondary degrees; it provides written documentation demonstrating both. Authorization or licensure is from an appropriate governmental organization or agency within the Middle States region (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands), as well as by other agencies as required by each of the jurisdictions, regions, or countries in which the institution operates. 

    Institutions that offer only postsecondary certificates, diplomas, or licenses are not eligible for accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. 

    • PPA 

    • OSHE Website Listing 

    • Prior MSCHE Accreditation documentation 

    2. The institution is operational, with students actively enrolled in its degree programs. 

    • IPEDS Reports showing enrollment 

    3. For institutions pursuing Candidacy or Initial Accreditation, the institution will graduate at least one class before the evaluation team visit for initial accreditation takes place, unless the institution can 

    demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that the lack of graduates does not compromise its ability to demonstrate that students have achieved appropriate learning outcomes. 

    • N/A 

    4. The institution’s representatives communicate with the Commission in English, both orally and in writing. 

    •  

    5. The institution complies with all applicable government (usually Federal and state) laws and regulations. 

    • PPA 

    • Audits 

    6. The institution complies with applicable Commission, interregional, and interinstitutional policies. These policies can be viewed on the Commission website, www.msche.org. 

    •  

    7. The institution has a mission statement and related goals, approved by its governing board, that defines its purposes within the context of higher education. 

    •  

    8. The institution systematically evaluates its educational and other programs and makes public how well and in what ways it is accomplishing its purposes. 

    •  

    9. The institution’s student learning programs and opportunities are characterized by rigor, coherence, and appropriate assessment of student achievement throughout the educational offerings, regardless of certificate or degree level or delivery and instructional modality. 

    •  

    10. Institutional planning integrates goals for academic and institutional effectiveness and improvement, student achievement of educational goals, student learning, and the results of academic and institutional assessments. 

    •  

    11. The institution has documented financial resources, funding base, and plans for financial development, including those from any related entities (including without limitation systems, religious sponsorship, and corporate ownership) adequate to support its educational purposes and programs and to ensure financial stability. The institution demonstrates a record of responsible fiscal management, has a prepared budget for the current year, and undergoes an external financial audit on an annual basis. 

    •  

    12. The institution fully discloses its legally constituted governance structure(s) including any related entities (including without limitation systems, religious sponsorship, and corporate ownership). The institution’s governing body is responsible for the quality and integrity of the institution and for ensuring that the institution’s mission is being accomplished. 

    •  

    13. A majority of the institution’s governing body’s members have no employment, family, ownership, or other personal financial interest in the institution. The governing body adheres to a conflict-of-interest policy that assures that those interests are disclosed and that they do not interfere with the impartiality of governing body members or outweigh the greater duty to secure and ensure the academic and fiscal integrity of the institution. The institution’s district/system or other chief executive officer shall not serve as the chair of the governing body. 

    •  

    14. The institution and its governing body/bodies make freely available to the Commission accurate, fair, and complete information on all aspects of the institution and its operations. The governing body/bodies ensure that the institution describes itself in comparable and consistent terms to all of its accrediting and regulatory agencies, communicates any changes in accredited status, and agrees to disclose information (including levels of governing body compensation, if any) required by the Commission to carry out its accrediting Responsibilities. 

    •  

    15. The institution has a core of faculty (fulltime or part-time) and/or other appropriate professionals with sufficient responsibility to the institution to assure the continuity and coherence of the institution’s educational Programs. 

     

    • CV of faculty 

    • CV and transcripts of adjuncts 

    • Select faculty and adjunct job postings showing education and experience requirements 

    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. 

    Criteria 

    An accredited institution possesses and demonstrates the following attributes or activities: 

    1. clearly defined mission and goals that: 

    a. are developed through appropriate collaborative participation by all who facilitate or are otherwise responsible for institutional development and improvement; 

    b. address external as well as internal contexts and constituencies; 

    c. are approved and supported by the governing body; 

    d. guide faculty, administration, staff, and governing structures in making decisions related to planning, resource allocation, program and curricular development, and the definition of institutional and educational outcomes; 

    e. include support of scholarly inquiry and creative activity, at levels and of the type appropriate to the institution; 

    f. are publicized and widely known by the institution’s internal stakeholders; 

    g. are periodically evaluated; 

     

    2. institutional goals that are realistic, appropriate to higher education, and consistent with mission; 

     

    3. goals that focus on student learning and related outcomes and on institutional improvement; are supported by administrative, educational, and student support programs and services; and are consistent with institutional mission; and 

     

    4. periodic assessment of mission and goals to ensure they are relevant and achievable. 

     

    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. 

    Criteria 

    An accredited institution possesses and demonstrates the following attributes or activities: 

    1. a commitment to academic freedom, intellectual freedom, freedom of expression, and respect for intellectual property rights; 

     

    2. a climate that fosters respect among students, faculty, staff, and administration from a range of diverse backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives; 

     

    3. a grievance policy that is documented and disseminated to address complaints or grievances raised by students, faculty, or staff. The institution’s policies and procedures are fair and impartial, and assure that grievances are addressed promptly, appropriately, and equitably; 

     

    4. the avoidance of conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict in all activities and among all constituents; 

     

    5. fair and impartial practices in the hiring, evaluation, promotion, discipline, and separation of employees; 

     

    6. honesty and truthfulness in public relations announcements, advertisements, recruiting and admissions materials and practices, as well as in internal communications; 

     

    7. as appropriate to its mission, services or programs in place:  

    a. to promote affordability and accessibility; 

    b. to enable students to understand funding sources and options, value received for cost, and methods to make informed decisions about incurring debt; 

     

    8. compliance with all applicable federal, state, and Commission reporting policies, regulations, and requirements to include reporting regarding: 

    a. the full disclosure of information on institution-wide assessments, graduation, retention, certification and licensure or licensing board pass rates; 

    b. the institution’s compliance with the Commission’s Requirements of Affiliation; 

    c. substantive changes affecting institutional mission, goals, programs, operations, sites, and other material issues which must be disclosed in a timely and accurate fashion; 

    d. the institution’s compliance with the Commission’s policies; and 

     

    9. periodic assessment of ethics and integrity as evidenced in institutional policies, processes, practices, and the manner in which these are Implemented. 

     

    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. 

    Criteria 

    An accredited institution possesses and demonstrates the following attributes or activities: 

    1. certificate, undergraduate, graduate, and/or professional programs leading to a degree or other recognized higher education credential, of a length appropriate to the objectives of the degree or other credential, designed to foster a coherent student learning experience and to promote synthesis of learning; 

     

    2. student learning experiences that are designed, delivered, and assessed by faculty (fulltime or part-time) and/or other appropriate professionals who are: 

    a. rigorous and effective in teaching, assessment of student learning, scholarly inquiry, and service, as appropriate to the institution’s mission, goals, and policies; 

    b. qualified for the positions they hold and the work they do; 

    c. sufficient in number; 

    d. provided with and utilize sufficient opportunities, resources, and support for professional growth and innovation; 

    e. reviewed regularly and equitably based on written, disseminated, clear, and fair criteria, expectations, policies, and procedures; 

     

    3. academic programs of study that are clearly and accurately described in official publications of the institution in a way that students are able to understand and follow degree and program requirements and expected time to completion; 

     

    4. sufficient learning opportunities and resources to support both the institution’s programs of study and students’ academic progress; 

     

    5. at institutions that offer undergraduate education, a general education program, free standing or integrated into academic disciplines, that:  

    a. offers a sufficient scope to draw students into new areas of intellectual experience, expanding their cultural and global awareness and cultural sensitivity, and preparing them to make well-reasoned judgments outside as well as within their academic field;  

    b. offers a curriculum designed so that students acquire and demonstrate essential skills including at least oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy. Consistent with mission, the general education program also includes the study of values, ethics, and diverse perspectives; and 

    c. in non-US institutions that do not include general education, provides evidence that students can demonstrate general education skills; 

     

    6. in institutions that offer graduate and professional education, opportunities for the development of research, scholarship, and independent thinking, provided by faculty and/or other professionals with credentials appropriate to graduate-level curricula; 

     

    7. adequate and appropriate institutional review and approval on any student learning opportunities designed, delivered, or assessed by third-party providers; and 

     

    8. periodic assessment of the effectiveness of programs providing student learning opportunities. 

     

    Standard IV: Support of the Student Experience 

    Across all educational experiences, settings, levels, and instructional modalities, the institution recruits and admits students whose interests, 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. 

    Criteria 

    An accredited institution possesses and demonstrates the following attributes or activities: 

    1. clearly stated, ethical policies and processes to admit, retain, and facilitate the success of students whose interests, abilities, experiences, and goals provide a reasonable expectation for success and are compatible with institutional mission, including: 

    a. accurate and comprehensive information regarding expenses, financial aid, scholarships, grants, loans, repayment, and refunds; 

    b. a process by which students who are not adequately prepared for study at the level for which they have been admitted are identified, placed, and supported in attaining appropriate educational goals;  

    c. orientation, advisement, and counseling programs to enhance retention and guide students throughout their educational experience; 

    d. processes designed to enhance the successful achievement of students’ educational goals including certificate and degree completion, transfer to other institutions, and post completion placement; 

     

    2. policies and procedures regarding evaluation and acceptance of transfer credits, and credits awarded through experiential learning, prior non-academic learning, competency-based assessment, and other alternative learning approaches; 

    3. policies and procedures for the safe and secure maintenance and appropriate release of student information and records; 

     

    4. if offered, athletic, student life, and other extracurricular activities that are regulated by the same academic, fiscal, and administrative principles and procedures that govern all other programs; 

     

    5. if applicable, adequate and appropriate institutional review and approval of student support services designed, delivered, or assessed by third-party providers; and 

     

    6. periodic assessment of the effectiveness of programs supporting the student experience.

     

    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. 

    Criteria 

    An accredited institution possesses and demonstrates the following attributes or activities: 

    1. clearly stated educational goals at the institution and degree/program levels, which are interrelated with one another, with relevant educational experiences, and with the institution’s mission; 

     

    2. organized and systematic assessments, conducted by faculty and/or appropriate professionals, evaluating the extent of student achievement of institutional and degree/program goals. Institutions should: 

    a. define meaningful curricular goals with defensible standards for evaluating whether students are achieving those goals; 

    b. articulate how they prepare students in a manner consistent with their mission for successful careers, meaningful lives, and, where appropriate, further education. They should collect and provide data on the extent to which they are meeting these goals; 

    c. support and sustain assessment of student achievement and communicate the results of this assessment to stakeholders; 

     

    3. consideration and use of assessment results for the improvement of educational effectiveness. 

    Consistent with the institution’s mission, such uses include some combination of the following: 

    a. assisting students in improving their learning;  

    b. improving pedagogy and curriculum;  

    c. reviewing and revising academic programs and support services; 

    d. planning, conducting, and supporting a range of professional development activities; 

    e. planning and budgeting for the provision of academic programs and services; 

    f. informing appropriate constituents about the institution and its programs; 

    g. improving key indicators of student success, such as retention, graduation, transfer, and placement rates; 

    h. implementing other processes and procedures designed to improve educational programs and services; 

     

     

    4. if applicable, adequate and appropriate institutional review and approval of assessment services designed, delivered, or assessed by third-party providers; and 

     

    5. periodic assessment of the effectiveness of assessment processes utilized by the institution for the improvement of educational effectiveness. 

     

    Standard VI: Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement 

    The institution’s planning processes, 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. 

    Criteria 

    An accredited institution possesses and demonstrates the following attributes or activities: 

    1. institutional objectives, both institution- wide and for individual units, that are clearly stated, assessed appropriately, linked to mission and goal achievement, reflect conclusions drawn from assessment results, and are used for planning and resource allocation; 

     

    2. clearly documented and communicated planning and improvement processes that provide for constituent participation, and incorporate the use of assessment results; 

     

    3. a financial planning and budgeting process that is aligned with the institution’s mission and goals, evidence-based, and clearly linked to the institution’s and units’ strategic plans/objectives; 

     

    4. fiscal and human resources as well as the physical and technical infrastructure adequate to support its operations wherever and however programs are delivered; 

     

    5. well-defined decision-making processes and clear assignment of responsibility and accountability; 

     

    6. comprehensive planning for facilities, infrastructure, and technology that includes consideration of sustainability and deferred maintenance and is linked to the institution’s strategic and financial planning processes; 

     

    7. an annual independent audit confirming financial viability with evidence of follow-up on any concerns cited in the audit’s accompanying management letter; 

     

    8. strategies to measure and assess the adequacy and efficient utilization of institutional resources required to support the institution’s mission and goals; and  

     

    9. periodic assessment of the effectiveness of planning, resource allocation, institutional renewal processes, and availability of Resources. 

     

    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 system, or other unaccredited organizations, the institution has education as its primary purpose, and it operates as an academic institution with appropriate autonomy. 

    Criteria 

    An accredited institution possesses and demonstrates the following attributes or activities: 

    1. a clearly articulated and transparent governance structure that outlines roles, responsibilities, and accountability for decision making by each constituency, including governing body, administration, faculty, staff and students; 

     

    2. a legally constituted governing body that: 

    a. serves the public interest, ensures that the institution clearly states and fulfills its mission and goals, has fiduciary responsibility for the institution, and is ultimately accountable for the academic quality, planning, and fiscal well-being of the institution; 

    b. has sufficient independence and expertise to ensure the integrity of the institution. Members must have primary responsibility to the accredited institution and not allow political, financial, or other influences to interfere with their governing responsibilities; 

    c. ensures that neither the governing body nor its individual members interferes in the day-to-day operations of the institution; 

    d. oversees at the policy level the quality of teaching and learning, the approval of degree programs and the awarding of degrees, the establishment of personnel policies and procedures, the approval of policies and by-laws, and the assurance of strong fiscal management; 

    e. plays a basic policy-making role in financial affairs to ensure integrity and strong financial management. This may include a timely review of audited financial statements and/or other documents related to the fiscal viability of the institution;  

    f. appoints and regularly evaluates the performance of the Chief Executive Officer;   

    g. is informed in all its operations by principles of good practice in board governance; h. establishes and complies with a written conflict of interest policy designed to ensure the impartiality of the governing body by addressing matters such as payment for services, contractual relationships, employment, and family, financial or other interests that could pose or be perceived as conflicts of interest; 

    i. supports the Chief Executive Officer in maintaining the autonomy of the institution; 

     

    3. Chief Executive Officer who: 

    a. is appointed by, evaluated by, and reports to the governing body and shall not chair the governing body; 

    b. has appropriate credentials and professional experience consistent with the mission of the organization; 

    c. has the authority and autonomy required to fulfill the responsibilities of the position, including developing and implementing institutional plans, staffing the organization, identifying and allocating resources, and directing the institution toward attaining the goals and objectives set forth in its mission; 

    d. has the assistance of qualified administrators, sufficient in number, to enable the Chief Executive Officer to discharge his/her duties effectively; and is responsible for establishing procedures for assessing the organization’s efficiency and effectiveness; 

     

    4. an administration possessing or demonstrating: 

    a. an organizational structure that is clearly documented and that clearly defines reporting relationships; 

    b. an appropriate size and with relevant experience to assist the Chief Executive Officer in fulfilling his/her roles and responsibilities; 

    c. members with credentials and professional experience consistent with the mission of the organization and their functional roles; 

    d. skills, time, assistance, technology, and information systems expertise required to perform their duties; 

    e. regular engagement with faculty and students in advancing the institution’s goals and objectives; 

    f. systematic procedures for evaluating administrative units and for using assessment data to enhance operations; and 

     

    5. periodic assessment of the effectiveness of governance, leadership, and administration.