Self-Study Overview and Purpose
Brookdale Community College is in the process of preparing for its decennial Middle States self-study. Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) is Brookdale’s regional accrediting body. The Commission is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations, and resources. It examines each institution as a whole, rather than specific programs within institutions. (www.msche.org). Other than quality assurance and continuous improvement, accreditation is important for our students in that federal student aid loans are only available to students enrolled in accredited institutions.
The College will be engaged in this introspection and future visioning during calendar years 2016 and 2017. In spring 2018, the College will host a Middle States evaluation team of community college professionals from outside of New Jersey who volunteer to review the self-study findings and recommendations and ultimately make a recommendation to the MSCHE on our accreditation status.
The decennial evaluation consists of an extensive process that produces a written self-study report. This report and the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation serve as the basis for the on-site evaluation by the team of peer evaluators. Over these two years, Brookdale will carefully consider our educational programs, policies, and services, with particular attention to student learning and achievement. The College will examine how well our programs and services accomplish our priorities, fulfill our mission, and meet the Commission’s Standards. (Middle States Commission on Higher Education SELF-STUDY Creating a Useful Process and Report, p. 9)
MSCHE Standards and Requirements
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Standards and Requirements of Affiliation are comprised of seven standards and fifteen requirements that serve as ongoing guides for accredited institutions engaged in self-review and peer evaluation. Accredited institutions are expected to demonstrate compliance with these standards and requirements, to conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the standards and requirements, and to engage in ongoing processes of self-review and improvement.
There are four principles underlying these standards:
- An institution’s mission is central to all standards;
- The student learning experience is the focal point of several standards;
- Continuous improvement in student learning is supported by assessment;
- Innovation is an essential part of continuous institutional improvement.
These standards affirm that the mission and goals of an institution remain the context within which Middle States accreditation standards apply. They emphasize functions rather than specific structures.
The goals of Brookdale’s self-study are to:
- Demonstrate Brookdale’s compliance with Middle States Standards and federal regulations for continuous improvement in attainment of Brookdale’s vision, mission, and priorities.
- Document current assessment practices to identify challenges and opportunities, and make recommendations for improvement in the use of institutional assessment results.
- Capitalize on the overlapping efforts of strategic planning and Middle States Self-Study to inform decision-making and to identify specific opportunities and challenges, including budgeting and enrollment.
- Provide a concise and accurate analysis of the institution that can guide institutional planning, growth, and renewal efforts.
- Engage in an inclusive and transparent self-appraisal process that actively and deliberately seeks to involve members from all areas of the institutional community.
- Assess the quality and effectiveness of academic programs and administrative services, in all degrees and in all departments, particularly in relation to the changing needs of the institution’s student body and community.
- Analyze the quality and effectiveness of the institution’s processes for planning and assessment in order to make necessary adjustments to methods and measurements and ensure that the use of assessment data will lead to meaningful programmatic and institutional renewal.
(Sections of the above are provided by Middle States Commission on Higher Education with permission.)