Self-Study Design

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SHIPPENSBURG UNIVERSITY

MSCHE 2019 Accreditation Review

SELF-STUDY DESIGN:

Demonstrating our distinctions…in service to our students, community, and commonwealth

Institutional Overview

Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania is a regional masters-comprehensive university, which enrolls approximately 6000 undergraduates and 1000 graduate students, and is one of 14 constituent institutions of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. Founded in 1871, Shippensburg University serves the educational, social, and cultural needs of students primarily from southcentral Pennsylvania. The university serves students from throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Mid-Atlantic region, the United States, and internationally.

Shippensburg University was established in 1871 as the Cumberland Valley State Normal School. The school received official approval by the state on February 21, 1873, and admitted its first class of 217 students on April 15, 1873. In 1917 the school was purchased by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. On June 4, 1926, the school was authorized to grant the Bachelor of Science in education degree in elementary and junior high education. The school received a charter on October 12, 1926, making it the first normal school in Pennsylvania to become a state teachers college. On June 3, 1927, the State Council of Education authorized the school to change its name to the State Teachers College at Shippensburg.

The business education curriculum was approved on December 3, 1937. On December 8, 1939, Shippensburg State Teachers College became the first teachers college in Pennsylvania and the fourth in the United States to be accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and (Secondary) Schools. The State Council of Education approved graduate work leading to the master of education degree on January 7, 1959. On January 8, 1960, the name change to Shippensburg State College was authorized.

The arts and sciences curriculum was authorized by the State Council of Education on April 18, 1962, and the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program was initiated on September 1, 1967. On November 12, 1982, the governor of the Commonwealth signed Senate Bill 506 establishing the State System of Higher Education. Shippensburg State College was designated Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania effective July 1, 1983.

Comprised of three academic colleges—Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education and Human Services, Shippensburg confers baccalaureate degrees (BA, BS, BBA, BSW), masters degrees (MA, MS, MSW, MEd), and professional doctoral degrees (EdD, DBA). The curricula are organized to enable students both to develop their intellectual abilities and to obtain professional training in a variety of fields. The foundation of the undergraduate curriculum is a required core of courses in the arts and sciences designed to impart skills in oral and written communication, critical thinking, quantitative reasoning, appreciation of diversity, and historical knowledge. The core is complemented by a general education program structured on a distribution model of courses focused on establishing breadth of knowledge in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. The foundational core and general education program prepare students to think logically, read critically, write clearly, and verbalize ideas in a succinct and articulate manner; they also broaden students' knowledge of the world, past and present. Shippensburg is primarily a residential university, with the majority of students living either in campus housing or in private off-campus housing located in the immediate vicinity of the university. The campus provides a wide array of student services and activities, and is the cultural hub of the region.

The university's primary commitment is to student learning and personal development through effective and innovative classroom and laboratory teaching and a wide variety of high-impact out-of-class experiences. The ultimate goal is to have students develop to their utmost the intellectual, personal, and social capabilities they need to perform as competent citizens prepared to embark on a career immediately upon graduation or after advanced study. The university’s commitment to providing personal attention is reflective of the strong sense of community that exists on campus and the centrality of students within it. The university encourages and supports activities which give students many opportunities to apply the theories and methods learned in the classroom to real or practical situations, such as faculty-student research and student internships. Student life programs and activities complement the academic mission and further assist students in their personal, social, and ethical development.

Committed to public service and community-centered in its relationships to the region, the university works closely and collaboratively with other organizations at institutional, programmatic and individual levels to develop common goals, share resources and invest cooperatively in the future of the region.

Our Mission and Vision

In 2016, Shippensburg University launched a new strategic plan, which articulates the mission, vision, values, strategic goals, and aspirations of the university. The strategic plan unites units across campus—academic, operational, and student life—binding our community through a common mission and vision. Our actions are focused on common strategic directions, and guided by a common set of values.

  • Mission: Student learning and personal development through highly effective and innovative teaching, complemented by a wide variety of out-of-class experiences, continue to serve as the hallmarks of a Shippensburg University education.
  • Vision: To be recognized as the premier public [comprehensive] university in providing high quality education for students and a wide array of programs and services to meet the needs of South Central Pennsylvania and beyond. Overall, our purpose is to help build a better, stronger South Central Pennsylvania and beyond, economically and culturally, through recruiting, retaining, and developing students, faculty, and staff who have the abilities, skills, and values to compete and contribute to their community in an evolving world.

Our University Values

  • STUDENT-CENTERED We provide all students – undergraduate, graduate, non-traditional, as well as non-degree seeking students – with access to high quality and challenging programs, co- and extracurricular activities, individual advisement and mentorship, support services, facilities, and resources to succeed at Shippensburg University and excel in their careers. We recruit and retain well-qualified faculty who have a passion for teaching and administrators whose greatest priority is providing high quality educational, administrative, and support services for these students.
  • LEARNING The pursuit and generation of knowledge through intellectual engagement and integrated learning are at the forefront of our mission. We provide a quality, comprehensive, and distinctive education that develops broadly educated individuals who will learn, lead, and adapt throughout their lifetimes. We value the importance of classroom instruction and the responsible application of instructional technologies, competency-based learning, and self-acquired knowledge and skills. Experiential learning such as student-faculty research, internships, study-abroad programs, and service-learning projects that enhance campus and surrounding community life are essential parts of the overall learning experience.
  • INNOVATION We are committed to continually improving our programs and services based on emergent trends and technologies, research-based practices, and professional standards. We also value the significant contributions made by student-faculty research to the growth and vitality of academic and professional disciplines and to the development of an “entrepreneurial spirit.”
  • ENGAGEMENT We encourage all members of the campus community to be full partners in all aspects of our local and extended community. In addition to formal educational experiences, this includes participation in shared university governance, campus events and organizations, community service, student recruitment and retention, and alumni relations as well as being engaged citizens at the state and national level.
  • ACCESS AND EQUITY We are a thriving campus community that strives for diversity among its members and equal access to educational and support resources for all. We value social equity and multiculturalism as means of promoting institutional innovation, problem solving, justice, fairness, and understanding.
  • COMMUNITY We are the Shippensburg University family. Relationships among current and former students, faculty, staff, and administrators are characterized by trust, mutual respect, support, communication, cooperation, and acceptance, and they last a lifetime. We take seriously our impact on the borough of Shippensburg and the surrounding municipalities and value our collaborations with businesses and organizations in the region, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, our nation, and the world. These collaborations and relationships provide students with real-world experiences and connections that reach far beyond the borders of Shippensburg University.

Our Strategic Directions and Priorities

The operations of Shippensburg University are defined by our adherence to three strategic directions defined by our University Strategic Plan:

  • STUDENT LEARNING AND ENGAGEMENT Build upon and support a personalized, balanced learning environment that engages students by utilizing high impact practices and providing additional experiential learning opportunities in the classroom and through co-curricular activities.
  • EXCELLENCE AND INNOVATION Enhance and promote areas of pre-existing excellence and a supportive climate of innovation.
  • COMMUNITY AND REGIONAL COLLABORATION Continue to practice civic engagement and collaboration among campus members. Our intent is to sustain and strengthen connections to the broader community and region.

These three strategic directions provide the conceptual framework for our university priorities, utmost of which is to provide every student with the opportunity to develop the intellectual, personal, and social capabilities they will need to pursue meaningful careers as thoughtful and enlightened citizens of our commonwealth and nation. To this end, we are committed to providing high impact learning opportunities to our students, including undergraduate research, internship placements, and service learning opportunities among others. Our commitment to engaging students on the deepest levels crosses divisional boundaries, evidenced by our prioritization of co-curricular learning opportunities, development of Living Learning Communities, and providing an environment supportive of all students in every facet of their campus life.

In pursuit of our educational mission, the university is committed to continuous improvement informed by critical self-examination through rigorous assessment and review processes. We are dedicated to the development of innovative pedagogies and student support services and the delivery of cutting-edge new programs, including the agile development of undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs aligned with the needs of our current and prospective students, as well as the needs of our region.

As a public institution of higher education, we are collectively committed to public service on our campus and in our community. As an academic, economic and social anchor of our region we work collaboratively with stakeholders from our surrounding community to deepen common goals, share resources, and invest cooperatively in the future of our region. Our priorities include working closely with educational, government, and industry partners throughout our region to collectively make a positive impact on the future of our region.

Intended Outcomes of the Self-Study

Our self-study, coinciding as it does with the launch of our new strategic plan, provides the opportunity for us to better know our university, to celebrate our achievements, and to identify those challenges that still lay before us. This self-study will provide us the opportunity to thoughtfully review how well our operations align with our strategic directions and priorities, and will provide evidence and analysis, for both ourselves and our stakeholders, on our areas of excellence while simultaneously informing our process of continuous improvement. Our self-study will thus tell the story of how our strategic priorities as defined in our University Strategic Plan align with MSCHE standards and requirements of accreditation and will provide a guiding framework to inform our future directions.

Our specific intended outcomes include:

  • Demonstrating how Shippensburg University currently meets Middle States Standards for Accreditation, with a focus on how our priorities as defined by the University Strategic Plan align with Middle States standards.
  • Documenting current assessment practices to identify challenges and opportunities and making recommendations for improvement in the collection, analysis, and use of assessment data as we strive to meet our strategic goals and operationalize our common values.
  • Engaging in an inclusive and transparent self-appraisal process that actively and deliberately seeks to involve members from all areas of the institutional community.
  • Analyzing the quality and effectiveness of Shippenburg’s processes for planning and assessment in order to make necessary adjustments to methods and measurements and ensure that the use of assessment data will lead to meaningful programmatic and institutional renewal.
  • Providing a concise and accurate analysis of the university, including annual updates and reports, that can guide our new president through her transition to Shippensburg.
  • The development of 3-5 self-recommended areas for improvement for the next eight years.

Organizational Structure of the Steering Committee and Working Groups

The Self-Study Steering Committee was appointed by our interim president, Dr. Barbara Lyman, based on nominations submitted by the Deans of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education and Human Services (for the Division of Academic Affairs), as well as the Vice Presidents of the Divisions of Student Affairs, Administration and Finance, External and University Relations, and Enrollment Management, Technology, and Library Services. Members of the Steering Committee have been assigned to one of nine working groups, one each focused on one of the Commission’s seven standards, with two additional working groups focused on compliance with Department of Education regulations concerning accreditation (e.g. Title IV) and communication, respectively. The Self-Study process will be guided by an executive committee co-chaired by Drs. Tracy Schoolcraft, Jose Ricardo, and Gretchen Pierce, will include the chairs of the nine working groups. Student members will be appointed to each of the working groups in the Fall of 2017, pending nominations from department chairs and unit directors.

Executive Committee of the MSCHE Steering Committee

  1. Co-chair: Tracy Schoolcraft, Associate Provost
  2. Co-chair: José Ricardo, Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages; Acting Associate Provost of Educational Effectiveness
  3. Co-chair: Gretchen Pierce, Associate Professor, Department of History
  4. Liz Fisher, Professor, Department of Social Work and Gerontology
  5. William Bealing, Professor, Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems
  6. Billy Henson, Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
  7. Justin Sentz, Director of Instructional Design and Web Technologies
  8. Karen Johnson, Associate Professor, Director of the Writing Studio
  9. Denise Yarwood, Associate Dean of the School of Academic Programs and Services
  10. James Delle, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences; Acting Associate Provost of Institutional Effectiveness
  11. Sara Grove, Professor, Department of Political Science
  12. Kim Garris, Interim Associate Vice President for External Relations
  13. Rick Ruth, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Technology, and Library Services

Working Group 1 on University Mission and Goals (Standard 1):

  1. Chair: Liz Fisher, Professor, Department of Social Work and Gerontology
  2. Brian Wentz, Associate Professor, Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems
  3. Marcie Lehman, Professor, Department of Biology
  4. Michelle Foreman, Associate Dean of the Library
  5. David Lovett, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students
  6. Lorie Davis, Assistant Director of Alumni Affairs
  7. Nicole Hill, Dean of College of Education and Human Services
  8. Student member (TBA)

Working Group 2 on Ethics and Integrity (Standard 2):

  1. Chair: William Bealing, Professor, Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems
  2. Christopher Keyes, Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education
  3. Douglas Birsch, Professor, Department of History and Philosophy
  4. Kim Weikel, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology
  5. Linda Chalk, Licensed Psychologist, University Counseling Center
  6. Carlesha Halkias, Executive Director of Social Equity
  7. David Topper, Associate Vice President, Administration and Finance
  8. Student member (TBA)

Working Group 3 on Design and Delivery of Learning (Standard 3):

  1. Co-chair: Billy Henson, Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
  2. Co-chair: Justin Sentz, Director of Instructional Design and Web Technologies
  3. Sherri Bergsten, Associate Professor, Department of Biology
  4. Han Liu, Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education
  5. Robert Stephens, Associate Professor of Management and Marketing
  6. Cynthia Botteron, Professor, Department of Political Science
  7. Jason Barauskas, Assistant Director of Residential Education
  8. Carolyn Callaghan, Acting Dean of Professional, Continuing, and Distance Education
  9. James Mike, Dean of College of Arts and Sciences and Acting Graduate Dean
  10. Student member (TBA)

Working Group 4 on Student Support (Standard 4):

  1. Co-chair: Karen Johnson, Associate Professor, Director of the Writing Studio
  2. Co-chair Denise Yarwood, Associate Dean, School of Academic Programs and Services
  3. Michael Coolson, Associate Professor, Department of Management and Marketing
  4. Freddy Siahann, Associate Professor, Department of Economics
  5. Blandine Mitaut, Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages
  6. Meghan Luft, Assistant Dean of Graduate Admissions
  7. Barry McClanahan, Associate Dean and Director of Housing and Residence Life
  8. Anita Weaver, Administrative Assistant, Grove College of Business
  9. Jamonn Campbell, Professor, Department of Psychology
  10. Student member (TBA)

Working Group 5 on Educational Assessment (Standard 5):

  1. Chair: José Ricardo, Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Acting Associate Provost of Educational Effectiveness
  2. Ford Brooks, Professor, Department of Counseling and College Student Personnel
  3. Sally Paulson, Professor, Department of Exercise Science
  4. Viet Dao, Associate Professor, Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems
  5. Dudley Girard, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science
  6. Lynn Baynum, Interim Associate Dean, College of Education and Human Services
  7. John Kooti, Dean of the Grove College of Business
  8. Student member (TBA)

Working Group 6 on Planning and Improvement (Standard 6):

  1. Chair: James Delle, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences; Acting Associate Provost of Institutional Effectiveness
  2. Carol Wellington, Professor, Department of Computer Science
  3. Robert Ziegenfuss, Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education
  4. William Oberman, Associate Professor, Department of Management and Marketing
  5. Niel Brasher, Professor, Department of Political Science
  6. Lance Bryson, Associate Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning
  7. Jamie Rhine, Assistant Director, Technology Support Services
  8. Melinda Fawks, Associate Vice President, Administration and Finance
  9. Brian Johnson, Executive Assistant to the Provost
  10. Student member (TBA)

Working Group on Governance and Administration (Standard 7):

  1. Chair: Sara Grove, Professor, Department of Political Science
  2. Melissa Ricketts, Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
  3. Azim Danesh, Professor, Department of Accounting and Management Information Systems
  4. Kate McGivney, Professor, Department of Mathematics
  5. Anthony Winter, Associate Dean, Grove College of Business
  6. John Clinton, Chief Executive Officer, Shippensburg University Foundation
  7. Jeffrey Coy, Chair of the Council ofTrustees
  8. Roger Serr, Vice President of Student Affairs
  9. Robin Maun, Executive Assistant to the President
  10. Student member (TBA)

Working Group on Communication:

  1. Chair: Kim Garris, InterimAssociate Vice President for External Affairs
  2. Megan Silverstrim, Media Relations/Social Media Manager

Working Group on Compliance:

  1. Chair: Rick Ruth, Vice President for Enrollment Management, Technology, and Library Services
  2. Cathy Sprenger, Registrar
  3. Stefanie Elbel, Compliance and Training Coordinator
  4. Mark Pilgrim, Director of Institutional Research
  5. Amy Diehl, Associate Vice President, Technology and Library Services
  6. Steven Burg, Professor and Chair, Department of History
  7. Alix Rouby, Director of MBA Recruitment, Business Internships, and Entrepreneurial Outreach
  8. Ashley Grimm, Assistant Director of Athletics

Charges to the Working Groups and Guidelines for Reporting

General Charge to All Working Groups

Each working group will review university documents to determine the extent to which Shippensburg University meets the Standard of Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation assigned to the group. Each working group will have an identified chair or co-chairs who will be responsible for coordinating the work of the committee, submitting drafts of reports on time, reporting to the Executive Committee, and working directly with the co-chairs of the Steering Committee to provide communication across the working groups and to represent their group and Steering Committee to various other constituency groups.

It is recommended that each working group appoint one or more members to fulfill each of the following tasks:

  1. Chair or Co-chairs (if none yet identified): will call and facilitate meetings of the group
  2. Recorder: will keep minutes of all meetings of the group, and save this to our shared drive (S: Drive)
  3. Archivist: will help to identify and gaps in the Document Roadmap, and to save any relevant documents to the S: Drive
  4. Analyst: will review any date relevant to the working group’s standard and report back to the group
  5. Report writer: will serve as the primary author of the brief (c. 15pp) report on the working groups conclusions, to be presented to the Executive Committee in May 2018.
  6. An identified skeptic, playing the role of a devil’s advocate, who will serve to question in a constructive way the work, findings, and recommendations of the working group. (However, to ensure that questions or concerns of the skeptic do not overburden the working group, the skeptic will be co-responsible not only for the quality assurance of the working group’s efforts, findings, and recommendations but also for the submission of draft reports on-time).
  7. Proof-reader

The study must be problem-oriented, evaluate how well the university is meeting the Standards of Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation while seeking answers to central questions and solutions to identified challenges. It needs to be based on evidence and data collected by the work group and measured where possible against the university’s mission, goals, and vision. Each group should document which items they used from the inventory of existing support documents (the Document Roadmap) as well as any new data elements that they collected in order to address the questions raised. Each report should be analytical and interpretive rather than simply descriptive, and it should result in conclusions that can be reformulated into recommendations that will, if necessary, modify current goals, plans and practices of the university. The single most important aim of the self-study is the intentional and continuous improvement of teaching and learning at Shippensburg University through the implementation of our University Strategic Plan.

Specific tasks and central questions for each work group are given below. As methodological approaches are considered and data are gathered for the work group’s study, it may expound upon these questions or add others, and draw upon the resources of the Office of Institutional Research and Planning. Staff support is being provided by Heather Wadas in the Office of the Provost.

Each working group is expected to comply with the following guidelines:

  • The working group will meet at least once monthly, beginning in August, 2017, to complete the requirements of its charge.
  • Each working group will keep minutes of all meetings, and these will be stored on the S: Drive.
  • The membership of each group will read and develop familiarity with the Middle States Requirements of Affiliation and Standards for Accreditation, 13th edition.
  • Each group will review, and fill any perceived gaps in, the Document Roadmap.
  • Each group will receive reasonable administrative support from the Office of the Provost, as approved by the Associate Provost.
  • Each working group will submit a final report to the Executive Committee no later than May 15, 2018.
  • The report should make clear and specific reference to any relevant documents used by the working group in compiling the report.
  • The report will focus on how well the institution is meeting the expectations defined by the Standard for Accreditation and Requirement(s) of Affiliation assigned to the working group. The report should include analysis of the institution’s strengths and weaknesses as well as its challenges and opportunities in regard to the Standard and Requirement(s) in question. The report should also include any recommendations that the working group would like to make on areas for improvement identified during this process.
  • The working groups should recognize that their submitted reports will be used as source information for the authors of the Self-Study document, and may or may not appear in their submitted form in that final document.

Guiding Questions for Working Group 1

Working Group 1 will be focused on examining Standard 1: Mission and Goals, the description of which reads: “The institution’s mission defines its purpose within the context of higher education, the students its 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.” In addition, this working group will consider Requirements for Affiliation 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” and Requirement of Affiliation 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”).

In focusing their analysis, Working Group 1 will be guided by the following questions:

  1. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet the criteria for Standard I?
  2. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet Requirements of Affiliation numbers seven and ten as they relate to Standard I?
  3. How well does Shippensburg University engage in its assessment of its mission and goals?
  4. How can the university improve on current processes and outcomes of aligning our practices with our mission and goals?

Guiding Questions for Working Group 2

Working Group 2 will be focused on analyzing Standard II: Ethics and Integrity, the description of which reads: “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.”

In focusing their analysis, Working Group 2 will be guided by the following questions:

  1. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet the criteria for Standard II?
  2. How well does Shippensburg University engage in the assessment of the ethics and integrity of the design and implementation of its institutional policies, processes, and practices?
  3. What is the university doing to ensure and improve upon the ethics and integrity of institutional policies, processes, and practices?

Guiding Questions for Working Group 3

Working Group 3 will be focused on analyzing Standard 3: Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience, the description of which reads: “An institution provides students with learning experiences that are characterized by rigor and coherence in 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.” In addition, this working group will consider Requirement of Affiliation 8 (“The institution systematically evaluates its educational and other programs and makes public how well and in what ways it is accomplishing its purposes”), Requirement of Affiliation 9 (“The institution’s student learning programs and opportunities are characterized by rigor, coherence, and appropriate assessment of student achievements throughout the educational offerings, regardless of certificate or degree level or delivery and instructional modality”), Requirement of Affiliation 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”), and Requirement of Affiliation 15 (“The Institution has a core faculty (full-time 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”).

In focusing their analysis, Working Group 2 will be guided by the following questions:

  1. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet the criteria for Standard III?
  2. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet Requirements of Affiliation numbers eight, nine, ten, and fifteen as they relate to Standard III?
  3. How do the university’s programs deliver a coherent learning experience?
  4. How well does Shippensburg University engage in its assessment of the effectiveness of programs providing student learning opportunities?
  5. In what ways does the General Education program deliver the scope of learning outcomes defined in Standard III?
  6. How will the university work to improve upon the effectiveness of General Education, major, minor, certificate, and graduate programs?

Guiding Questions for Working Group 4

Working Group 4 will be focused on analyzing Standard IV: Support of the Student Experience, the description of which reads: “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.” In addition this working group will consider Requirement of Affiliation 8 (“The institution systematically evaluates its educational and other programs and makes public how well and in what ways it is accomplishing its purposes”) and Requirement of Affiliation 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”).

In focusing their analysis, Working Group 4 will be guided by the following questions:

  1. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet the criteria for Standard IV?
  2. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet Requirements of Affiliation numbers eight and ten as they relate to Standard IV?
  3. How well does Shippensburg University engage in its assessment of the effectiveness of programs supporting the student learning experience?
  4. How will the university work to improve upon the effectiveness of such programs?

Guiding Questions for Working Group 5

Working Group 5 will be focused on analyzing Standard V: Educational Effectiveness Assessment, the description of which reads: “Assessment of student learning and achievement demonstrates that the institution’s students have accomplished educational goals consistent with their programs of study, degree level, the institution’s mission, and appropriate expectations for institutions of higher education.” In addition this working group will consider Requirement of Affiliation 8 (“The institution systematically evaluates its educational and other programs and makes public how well and in what ways it is accomplishing its purposes”), Requirement of Affiliation 9 (“The institution’s student learning programs and opportunities are characterized by rigor, coherence, and appropriate assessment of student achievements throughout the educational offerings, regardless of certificate or degree level or delivery and instructional modality”), Requirement of Affiliation 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”)

In focusing their analysis, Working Group 4 will be guided by the following questions:

  1. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet the criteria for Standard V?
  2. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet Requirements of Affiliation numbers eight, nine, and ten as they relate to Standard V?
  3. How well does Shippensburg University engage in its assessment of the educational assessment processes utilized by the institution?
  4. How will the university improve upon the effectiveness of educational assessment processes?

Guiding Questions for Working Group 6

Working Group 6 will be focused on analyzing Standard VI: Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement, the description of which reads: “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.” In addition, the working group will consider Requirement of Affiliation 8 (“The institution systematically evaluates its educational and other programs and makes public how well and in what ways it is accomplishing its purposes”), Requirement of Affiliation 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”), and Requirement of Affiliation 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 entities, 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”).

In focusing their analysis, Working Group 6 will be guided by the following questions:

  1. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet the criteria for Standard VI?
  2. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet Requirements of Affiliation numbers eight, ten, and eleven as they relate to Standard VI?
  3. How well does Shippensburg University engage in its assessment of the effectiveness of planning, resource allocation, institutional renewal processes, and availability of resources?
  4. How is the university working to improve the effectiveness of the assessment of such processes?

Guiding Questions for Working Group 7

Working Group 7 will be focused on analyzing Standard VII: Governance, Leadership, and Administration, the description of which reads: “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 student, 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.” In addition, the working group will consider Requirement of Affiliation 12 (The institution fully discloses its legally constituted governance structure(s) including any related entities (including without limitations systems, religious sponsorships, 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” and Requirement of Affiliation 13 (“A majority of the institutions’ 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 of 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”).

In focusing their analysis, Working Group 6 will be guided by the following questions:

  1. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet the criteria for Standard VII?
  2. To what extent does Shippensburg University meet Requirements of Affiliation numbers twelve and thirteen as they relate to Standard VII?
  3. How well does Shippensburg University engage in its assessment of the effectiveness of governance, leadership, and administration?
  4. How is the university working to improve the effectiveness of the assessment of such processes?

Working Group 8: Compliance: The compliance working group will be charged with evaluating Shippensburg’s compliance with all federal and state regulations concerning higher education, and will address the degree to which the university is in compliance with the MSCHE Requirements of Affiliation.

Charge to Working Group 9: Communications: Working Group 9 is charged with developing, implementing, and maintaining an effective communications strategy to inform the campus community and the broader public of the activities conducted by the Steering Committee and its constituent working groups.

Guidelines for Reporting

Each working group will be responsible for submitting a report, of approximately 15 single-spaced pages, to the Executive Committee no later than May 15, 2018. Each report must be formatted using the following editorial guidelines:

  • Each report will be written and saved in Microsoft Word with embedded tables.
  • Use single-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Text should be left-justified
  • Margins: 1.0” top, .75” left, right, bottom
  • Citations are to be embedded as endnotes
  • A list of references cited must follow the text
  • Headings will use only two levels: Main Heading, Sub-Heading
  • Main headings in bold, in title case, with 14-point Times New Roman font, left justified
  • Sub-headings in italics, in title case, with 12-point Times New Roman font, left justified
  • Page numbers to appear in bottom center; no other header or footer should be used


Process for Arriving at 3-5 Recommendations and Self-Study Drafts

All final drafts submitted to the Executive Committee will be used to compile the final Self-Study document, which will be written in a single voice by one main author. The working group reports may be edited, paraphrased, or otherwise revised or amended during this process.

Self-Study Timeline

April 21, 2017: Initial Meeting of the Steering Committee, including all working groups

May 5, 2017: Second Meeting of the Steering Committee, discussion of Self-Study design

Early June, 2017: Self-Study Design submitted to MSCHE Liaison

July 2017: Revision of Self-Study Design based on comments from MSCHE Liaison

August 2017: Final Draft of Self-Study Design to MSCHE Liaison

September 1, 2017: Comments back from MSCHE Liaison

September-October 2017: Liaison visit to campus

August-Dec. 2017: Monthly meeting of working groups and Executive Committee

December 2017: Full meeting of Steering Committee with updates

February 28, 2018: First drafts of working group reports due

May 15, 2018: Final drafts of reports due

August 30, 2018, First draft of Self-Study completed and circulated to university stakeholders for review and comment

September 2018: Open Forums for Campus Community

October 2018: MSCHE Team Chair preliminary visit

October-Nov. 2018: Final editing of Self-Study

December 2018: Printing of Self-Study

January 2019: Final Draft of Self-Study submitted to Commission and Visiting Team

March 2019: Middle States Team Visit

April-May 2019: Initial Response to Visiting Team’s Report

June 2019: MSCHE Action

Profile of the Evaluation Team

We recommend that the external peer evaluation group be comprised of reviewers from public Masters/Comprehensive Universities that are part of a state system of higher education, with representation from faculty, staff, and/or administration.

Potential Peer Institutions from the Middle States region:

SUNY Geneseo

SUNY New Paltz

William Patterson University

Salisbury University

The College of New Jersey

Potential Peer Institutions from outside the Middle States region:

Framingham State University

Keene State University


Organization of Self-Study Report

Executive Summary and Eligibility Certification Statement

  • Introduction

Chapter 1. Shippensburg University

  • Institutional Profile
  • Mission and Vision
  • The Values of Shippensburg University:
    • A Student-Centered University
    • Teaching and Learning
    • Engagement
    • Access and Equity
    • Innovation
    • Community

Chapter 2. Nature and Scope of the Self-Study

Chapter 3. Organizational Structure of the Steering Committee and

Working Groups

  • Self-Study Topics

Chapter 4. The Requirements for Affiliation

Chapter 5. Standard I: Mission and Goals

Chapter 5. Standard II: Ethics and Integrity

Chapter 6. Standard III: Design and Delivery of Student Learning Experience

Chapter 7. Standard IV: Support of the Student Learning Experience

Chapter 8. Standard V: Educational Effectiveness Assessment

Chapter 9. Standard VI: Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement

Chapter 10. Standard VII: Governance, Leadership, and Administration

  • Summary of Findings and Recommendations
  • A Plan for the Next 3-8 Years

Appendices