December 5, 2018
Dear Shippensburg Community,
Shippensburg University is currently undergoing its periodic review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The Steering Committee, which is composed of a diverse group including faculty from all three colleges, staff, and administration, put together two reports from Fall 2017-Fall 2018 demonstrating how Shippensburg (1) complies with federal regulations and (2) meets all of the MSCHE standards and requirements for affiliation. The process has also allowed committee members to determine how well we are achieving our mission and goals (both those found in the University Strategic Plan as well as President Carter’s four priorities), evaluate the quality of the education the university provides, and consider how all levels of the university are using assessment results on a regular basis for continuous improvement. The completed report will be evaluated by a team of peer reviewers from various universities in the MSCHE region in April 2019, to ensure that we are in fact meeting all of our goals in the way the self-study report claims. A successful evaluation results in renewed accreditation.
As co-chairs of the Self-Study Steering Committee, we are writing to ask for your help in the process. By approximately January 15, 2019 we will distribute a draft of the reports to the campus committee. On January 23, at 3:30pm in the CUB MPR, we will have a town hall meeting where we ask that all campus community members come to provide their feedback on the reports. Your suggestions will be incorporated into the final drafts that will be sent to the peer reviewers in February. The next opportunity for participation will come April 7-10. On these dates, the peer reviewers will be visiting campus. Members of the evaluation team will be meeting with several groups of constituents on campus. Reviewers will want to know what our mission, vision, and goals are, how your department, unit, or committee on campus helps to achieve these objectives, and what the plans are for your department, unit, or committee in the future.
You may be wondering why you should participate in either of these opportunities. For one, the university must secure its re-accreditation to continue operating. Accreditation by MSCHE is tied to federal financial aid. In order for a student to be able to use federal aid at a university, that university must be accredited by a regional body such as MSCHE. About 75% of our students use some form of financial aid to pay for their education at Shippensburg. Furthermore, this process allows us to engage in an essential form of self-reflection that helps to identify our strengths and areas for improvement, best support our students, and provide them with the quality education they deserve.
We thank you in advance for your time and your commitment to Shippensburg University,
Dr. Tracy Schoolcraft
Dr. José Ricardo
Dr. Gretchen Pierce