Middle States Accreditation Report 09
Dear Ship Family,
The wait is over! The very positive oral report that the campus heard from the Middle States Evaluating Team on April 8, 2009 has been acted upon by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Just this week, Shippensburg University received the letter “to reaffirm accreditation and to commend the institution for the quality of the self-study process.” This short sentence contains high praise; roughly two-thirds of visited institutions are cited for not meeting at least one of the standards such as planning, resource allocation, institutional renewal, institutional assessment, or assessment of student learning outcomes. Shippensburg University met all fourteen standards. Of the thirty-nine suggestions contained in our self-study, the team reported only two recommendations and nine suggestions in their final report.
The oral report was the basis of a written report by the Evaluation Team, which is now posted on info.ship.edu and publically displayed on www.ship.edu/middlestates/. The last two paragraphs in the Evaluation Overview in the report summarize the information contained in the seventeen page document. “The self-study identified several areas for improvement, and the team concurs with the campus findings: assessments, while strong, should be more uniform throughout the campus; succession planning for leadership positions should be strengthened; a new 5-year strategic plan should be prepared; and recruitment and retention of a more diverse faculty and student body should be a higher priority.” The team made two recommendations in the areas of recruiting a more diverse faculty and improving retention rates of under-represented students that should be addressed in Shippensburg’s next Periodic Report. “Overall, Shippensburg knows its mission and is performing in an exemplary manner. It is an institution of integrity, and a place of significant student learning.” In five years (2014), the campus will document information in the Periodic Review Report on the progress made on the recommendations and suggestions in the Evaluating Team’s report as well as suggestions contained in the self-study.
This is a time for celebration! The campus community has worked hard over the past 2 years to reflect on its practices and seek ways to improve. We have gathered data, analyzed it, read the self-study and provided feedback, worked on our assessment processes and documented what we do. When the team arrived, we demonstrated our transparency and impressed them with our professionalism. The word “commend” or some form of it was used 11 times in the Team’s final report. We were commended for working together as a campus during the leadership transition, for involving students in a “deliberate and meaningful way” in the governance process, for the highest 4-year graduation rate in the system, for improving our facilities, our advising, and our support services (our alcohol and drug programs got special recognition), our first-year faculty orientation, the hard work performed by the General Education Coordinating Committee (assessment getting special recognition), for our ability to secure external funds, and the assessment of our academic programs. Our “Temple to Assessment” in the Old Main Chapel was an impressive sight and was enthusiastically visited by the team members. Many commented that they wanted more time to view the information and take back ideas. We especially thank those who put in a tremendous amount of time and effort to create the “totes” that demonstrated our assessment activities; your organization was apparent and you helped to make Ship look great!
Such a positive report from Middle States does not end Shippensburg University’s efforts in continuous improvement. As a reflective and professional community, we will consistently evaluate ourselves so that we provide the best experience possible for our students, faculty and staff. Thank you for your commitment and dedication to this excellent university. We look forward to shepherding the further improvement and great initiatives yet to come.
|William N. Ruud, Ph.D.
|Barbara Lyman, Ph.D.