Howard University has been fully accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) since 1921.
MSCHE is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education to conduct accreditation and pre-accreditation activities for institutions of higher education in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Commission is also recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to accredit degree-granting institutions that offer one or more post-secondary educational programs of at least one academic year in length. Being a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations, and resources, MSCHE examines each institution as a whole, including all of the specific programs within the institutions.
Howard University, having gained reaffirmation of accreditation every 10 years since 1921, is currently preparing for the submission of its 2020 Self-Study Report to MSCHE, a primary step toward assuring continued accreditation reaffirmation. However, from this point forward, Howard will be required to apply for reaccreditation every eight years. In order to gain reaffirmation of accreditation from MSCHE, an institution must undergo a four-step process: (1) an Institutional Self-Study, (2) a Self-Study Review by Peer Evaluators, (3) a Commission Committee site visit, (4) Commission Decision. The institutional self-study process, which takes about 2.5 years to complete, will give Howard the opportunity to construct a self-evaluating report describing its performance in relation to MSCHE’s seven standards, as listed below.
The 2020 Self-Study team, chaired by Dr. Rubin Patterson, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, is comprised of over 100 faculty, administrators, staff members, and students. The team is organized into eight Working Groups. One Working Group , the Steering Committee, is tasked with gathering documentation required for our Verification of Compliance with Accreditation-Relevant Federal Regulations, while each of the other seven Working Groups is assigned to tackle one of the seven Standards provided by MSCHE: (1) Mission and Goals; (2) Ethics and Integrity; (3) Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience; (4) Support of the Student Experience; (5) Educational Effectiveness Assessment; (6) Planning, Resources and Institutional Improvement; and (7) Governance, Leadership and Administration. Essentially, the Steering Committee is comprised of senior faculty and administrators who offer feedback and guidance to assist the Working Groups in collecting evidence needed to demonstrate that the University is meeting or exceeding MSCHE’s criteria for reaccreditation.
The Working Groups, each of whom led by faculty members, are the workhorses of the Self-Study effort. Members in each of the seven Groups ask empirical research questions that drive their investigations, and they are ascertaining the most convincing evidence to demonstrate how the University is meeting or exceeding expectations. Also, a staff has been appointed to support the Working Groups in researching and writing this Self-Study Report. This additional staff consists of a Project Coordinator, Data Specialist, Media Specialist, Editor, Administrative Assistant, and a Graduate Student.
After the seven standard reports have been completed, they will all be combined to create one cohesive Self-Study Report, which will be submitted to President Wayne A.I. Frederick for his review and critique. Upon his acceptance of the Report, President Frederick will make the official report submission to MSCHE, after which the Self-Study Review will take place in the form of a Site Visit. A team of peer evaluators from other institutions will be selected by MSCHE to review our institution’s Self-Study Report, tour our campus, and assess our compliance with MSCHE standards. The peer evaluation team will produce its own report on our institution’s reaccreditation status and submit a confidential proposal to the Committee on Evaluation Reports. Finally, MSCHE will consider both the Self-Study Report and the peer evaluation before issuing a decision about Howard University’s accreditation status.