Middle States Report Letter - April 8, 2009
Dear Ship family,
Here at Ship, we talk often about our many successes and the family spirit that enables the university to achieve so much. That spirit was epitomized recently in all of the effort and outstanding work done as part of the accreditation process of the university by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
For more than a year, members of the campus community have actively participated in this very important process. The effort, led so ably by Dr. Tracy Schoolcraft and Dr. Sara Grove, as well as members of the Provost's Office, involved a comprehensive self-study that was the culmination of exhaustive efforts by the Middle States steering committee. That study was an opportunity for us to step back, look at what we do and how we do it, and to make suggestions on how to be even better. A key component of the study, and the evaluation process itself, was the extensive input from all university constituencies, including our many supporters from off campus. Such input is one of the many ways Ship distinguishes itself from other institutions.
For the past several days, members of the Middle States evaluation team were on campus meeting with many of you and hosting open meetings to allow even more opportunity to talk about Ship and to learn more about us as part of their task. I thank all of you who were involved and appreciate the time you spent sharing your thoughts, critiques, compliments, and, most importantly, your love of Ship.
As a state-owned university, we have a responsibility to use the resources given to us effectively and efficiently, and we must be held accountable for what we do. One major measure of accountability is accreditation, and we have a long history in that area. In 1939, we became the first teachers college in Pennsylvania and only the fourth in the United States to be accredited by what was the then-Middle States Association of Colleges and (Secondary) Schools. It is a standard or excellence to which we aspire because, according to the group's website, "accreditation instills public confidence in institutional mission, goals, performance, and resources through its rigorous accreditation standards and their enforcement."
Wednesday morning, the team's chair gave a preliminary review of the team's findings and it was very positive. We were commended on our programs, our ability to use our resources effectively, and for our shared governance structure. Even though this is just a preliminary review and we will not get the official word on our accreditation until sometime in June, the comments were much appreciated.
I think the very favorable review we heard is due, in large part, to the fact that Ship is indeed a unique place where the goal of everyone is to support our students, and the reason it is so unique is because of each and everyone one of you. Thank you for your work on Middle States and thank you for all that you do daily for this great university.
William N. Ruud, Ph.D.