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HU Self-Study Team Progresses Toward Reaccreditation

By Yasha Washington, Staff Reporter, The Hilltop April 18, 2019 ----- On Tuesday, April 16 Howard University hosted the Middle States HU Self-Study Town Hall in the Interdisciplinary Research Building. The public meeting contained information and updates regarding Howard’s road to reaccreditation, which predominantly consists of a two-year-long self-evaluation and reporting process. Read the Article

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), through accreditation, mandates that its member institutions meet seven rigorous and comprehensive standards.

To gain reaffirmation of accreditation by the MSCHE, Howard University must undergo a self-study process every ten years. The seven standards are listed below. 

Standard 1

Mission and Goals

To successfully meet this standard Howard University must possess and demonstrate the following attributes or activities: 

  •  clearly defined mission and goals 

  • institutional goals that are realistic, appropriate to higher education, and consistent with mission

  •  goals that focus on student learning and related outcomes and on institutional improvement; are supported by administrative, educational, and student support programs and services; and are consistent with institutional mission

  • periodic assessment of mission and goals to ensure they are relevant and achievable

Standard 2

Ethics and Integrity

To successfully meet this standard Howard University must possess and demonstrate the following attributes or activities: 

  • a commitment to academic freedom, intellectual freedom, freedom of expression, and respect for intellectual property rights

  • a climate that fosters respect among students, faculty, staff, and administration from a range of diverse backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives

  • a grievance policy that is documented and disseminated to address complaints or grievances raised by students, faculty, or staff. Institution’s policies and procedures are fair and impartial, and assure that grievances are addressed promptly, appropriately, and equitably

  • the avoidance of conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict in all activities and among all constituents

  • fair and impartial practices in the hiring, evaluation, promotion, discipline, and separation of employees

  • honesty and truthfulness in public relations announcements, advertisements, recruiting and admissions materials and practices, as well as in internal communications

  • compliance with all applicable federal, state, and Commission reporting policies, regulations, and requirements 

Standard 3

Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience

To successfully meet this standard Howard University must possess and demonstrate the following attributes or activities: 

  • certificate, undergraduate, graduate, and/or professional programs leading to a degree or other recognized higher education credential, of a length appropriate to the objectives of the degree or other credential, designed to foster a coherent student learning experience and to promote synthesis of learning

  •  student learning experiences that are designed, delivered, and assessed by faculty (full-time or part-time) and/or other appropriate professionals...

  • academic programs of study that are clearly and accurately described in official publications of the institution in a way that students are able to understand and follow degree and program requirements and expected time to completion

  • sufficient learning opportunities and resources to support both the institution’s programs of study and students’ academic progress

  • in institutions that offer graduate and professional education, opportunities for the development of research, scholarship, and independent thinking, provided by faculty and/or other professionals with credentials appropriate to graduate-level curricula

  •  adequate and appropriate institutional review and approval  on any student learning opportunities designed, delivered, or assessed by third-party providers

  •  periodic assessment of the effectiveness of programs providing student learning opportunities

Standard 4

Support of the Student Experience

To successfully meet this standard Howard University must possess and demonstrate the following attributes or activities: 

  •  clearly stated, ethical policies and processes to admit, retain, and facilitate the success of students whose interests, abilities, experiences, and goals provide a reasonable expectation for success and are compatible with institutional mission

  •  policies and procedures regarding evaluation and acceptance of transfer credits, and credits awarded through experiential learning, prior non-academic learning, competency-based assessment, and other alternative learning approaches

  • policies and procedures for the safe and secure maintenance and appropriate release of student information and records

  • if offered, athletic, student life, and other extracurricular activities that are regulated by the same academic, fiscal, and administrative principles and procedures that govern all other programs

  •  if applicable, adequate and appropriate institutional review and approval of student support services designed, delivered, or assessed by third-party providers

  • periodic assessment of the effectiveness of programs supporting the student experience

Standard 5

Educational Effectiveness Assessment

To successfully meet this standard Howard University must possess and demonstrate the following attributes or activities: 

  • clearly stated educational goals at the institution and degree/program levels, which are interrelated with one another, with relevant educational experiences, and with the institution’s mission

  •  organized and systematic assessments, conducted by faculty and/or appropriate professionals, evaluating  the extent of student achievement of institutional and degree/program goals. 

  • consideration and use of assessment results for the improvement of educational effectiveness.  Consistent with the institution’s mission...

  •  if applicable, adequate and appropriate institutional review and approval of assessment services designed, delivered, or assessed by third-party providers

  •  periodic assessment of the effectiveness of assessment processes utilized by the institution for the improvement of educational effectiveness

Standard 6

Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement

To successfully meet this standard Howard University must possess and demonstrate the following attributes or activities: 

  •  institutional objectives, both institution wide and for individual units, that are clearly stated, assessed appropriately, linked to mission and goal achievement, reflect conclusions drawn from assessment results, and are used for planning and resource allocation

  • clearly documented and communicated planning and improvement processes that provide for constituent participation, and incorporate the use of assessment results

  •  a financial planning and budgeting process that is aligned with the institution’s mission and goals, evidence-based, and clearly linked to the institution’s and units’ strategic plans/objectives

  •  fiscal and human resources as well as the physical and technical infrastructure adequate to support its operations wherever and however programs are delivered

  •  well-defined decision-making processes and clear assignment of responsibility and accountability

  • comprehensive planning for facilities, infrastructure, and technology that includes consideration of sustainability and deferred maintenance and is linked to the institution’s strategic and financial planning processes

  • an annual independent audit confirming financial viability with evidence of follow-up on any concerns cited in the audit’s accompanying management letter

  •  strategies to measure and assess the adequacy and efficient utilization of institutional resources required to support the institution’s mission and goals

  •  periodic assessment of the effectiveness of planning, resource allocation, institutional renewal processes, and availability of resources

Standard 7

Governance, Leadership, and Administration 

To successfully meet this standard Howard University must possess and demonstrate the following attributes or activities: 

  •  a clearly articulated and transparent governance structure that outlines roles, responsibilities, and accountability for decision making by each constituency, including governing body, administration, faculty, staff and students

  •  a legally constituted governing body...

  • a Chief Executive Officer who: is appointed by, evaluated by, and reports to the governing body and shall not chair the governing body...

  • an administration possessing or demonstrating: an organizational structure that is clearly documented and that clearly defines reporting relationships...

  • periodic assessment of the effectiveness of governance, leadership, and administration