Middle States Self-Study Guide

Final Self-Study Report Submitted

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education Self-Study Steering Committee is thrilled to announce that we have submitted our final self-study report and all supporting evidence to the Commission! The Steering Committee sincerely thanks everyone involved in this important process for their efforts and dedication over the last two years.

The Steering Committee also invites you to read some of the evidence submitted to MSCHE to support our self-study. These documents are crucial to telling our story and are affirmations of the culture of improvement at պ. You may also view the Evidence Inventory on our

Next steps in our reaccreditation process will be announced in the coming weeks.

Self-Study Timeline

October 2019: Self-Study Institute
March 1, 2020: SSD Draft Due
June 15, 2020: Final SSD Due
September 1, 2021: Self-Study Report Sent to Team Chair
October 2020: Self-Study Prep Visit with MSCHE Liaison
October 2021: Team Chair Preliminary Visit
February 18, 2022: Final Document Upload
April 2022: Self-Study Evaluation Team Visit
April 2022: Team Report
May 2022: Institutional Response
May 31, 2022: Review Closes
November 2022: MSCHE Commission Action

May 22, 2020 Update: The final draft of our Self-Study Design is now available for public consumption. Please contact the Steering Committee with any questions or feedback you may have on this document.

September 30, 2021 Update: The draft of our Self-Study is now available for public consumption.

Self-Study FAQs

    The self-study process is, technically, a comprehensive review of the university that happens with the regional accrediting body. Every institution in the country who awards federal financial aid dollars must be regionally accredited and participate in the designated self-study processes.

    պ is in the region of the United States that is overseen by the Middle States Commission for Higher Education (MSCHE). In MSCHE’s processes, the self-study happens every eight years and is designed to be a systematic, guided review of the entire institution.

    Yes! պ has been accredited by MSCHE since 1931. However, it is important to know that MSCHE has gone through a set of substantive changes since we last participated in the process. The Standards of Accreditation are new, as are many of the policies and the self-study process. For those of you who have participated in MSCHE self-studies before, we’d ask you to be aware of the many changes to the process. In particular, you’ll find that there are now clear guidelines and structures in place for how the self-study process must happen.

    According to MSCHE, the self-study process should be an honest appraisal of the state of the institution. The document itself should be entirely evidence-driven and consistently demonstrate the use of assessment. While the self-study is a good place to share institutional accomplishments and highlight outcomes, it is also important to discuss areas for ongoing innovation and improvement.

    In addition, MSCHE expects that the entire Self-Study process is a university-wide initiative. Everyone across campus, whether staff, faculty, or student, should know that the process is happening, be aware of the basics of the process, and have opportunities to participate.

    Yes. More than ever before, MSCHE is being very clear about what they define “evidence” to include and how it should be presented. In fact, the new Self-Study process is centered around something called the Evidence Inventory. Gone are the days of filling rooms with random paperwork – the Evidence Inventory is a cataloged and referenced inventory of documents, processes, and procedures. The Evidence Inventory serves four primary functions: to document compliance with the standards; to support assertions made in the self-study report; to add consistency and coherence to the final document; and to develop a long-term resources that the university should continuously update to document ongoing compliance.

    MSCHE states that all evidence must be: organized, analytical, concise, and fair and honest.

Interim Reports

Use the buttons below to read the third interim report from each working group.

Third

Second

Self-Study Work Groups

Work Groups in the new are assigned based on the university’s chosen Self-Study approach. պ has chosen the Standards-Based Approach. In this approach, the Self-Study is organized around MSCHE’s seven standards for accreditation. As such, we have created a Work Group for each individual standard as well as an additional Work Group to focus on compliance.

Work Groups serve as one pillar in the foundation of a good Self-Study process. Work Groups are responsible for gathering evidence of current practices and framing how the final Self-Study document will ultimately be organized. The activity level of each Work Group is likely to vary over the course of the Self-Study process, but the majority of the work will be concentrated in the 2020 calendar year.

One important point is that Work Groups are not tasked with creating new mechanisms for assessment – rather, their goal is to gather evidence that already exists and identify gaps in what we already do. The mantra, if you will, that MSCHE suggests for Work Groups to take on is: Do we have it? Do we use it? Does it work?

In general, the jobs of the Work Group are to:

  • Promote the self-study process across campus
  • Gather evidence to show how we meet the criteria for their assigned standard
  • Identify any gaps in evidence
  • Provide interim reports to the Steering Committee
  • Provide a final report to the Steering Committee to address their standard

When writing the interim and final reports, the Work Groups should remember that they will be asked to focus on addressing the standards and institutional priorities. In doing so, it is important that the Work Group uses data to demonstrate institutional performance. That data should be presented in a way that makes clear any assumptions and demonstrates that the data are interpreted appropriately (including a discussion of the statistics or other analysis methods). Finally, it is important to use the analysis to show opportunities for innovation and improvement.

Also new to the Self-Study process is the existence of a team of Writers who will ultimately be responsible for taking the information compiled by the Work Groups and turning into a concise and coherent single document. It is not the job of the Work Groups to write the document itself. Rather, it can be helpful to think of this process as creating a sort-of annotated bibliography of what assessments exist, how they are tied to the standards, what the assessments tell us, and how they have been used to make decisions.

MSCHE says that, “what is most important is that (1) working group members represent a broad range of constituencies at the institution, (2) the working groups have designated leaders to keep them on task and on schedule, (3) the working groups understand their charge and abide by it, and (4) the steering committee and working groups established a mechanism for accountability and effective communication between them.” պ has worked to achieve these four key points in a number of ways. First, the Work Groups were designed to be broadly representative of stakeholders from across campus. Second, each Work Group has a Chair as well as a Steering Committee liaison to guide them through the process; this will also help us with the third goal of keeping the groups on task and following their charge. Finally, we’ve put into place a Microsoft Teams environment for facilitating communication and sharing information and documents, both among the Work Group members as well as with the Steering Committee.

Self-Study Steering Committee Members

Dr. Joanne Hosey-McGurk, Chair, Assistant Professor of English
Dr. Carrie Allen, Assessment Coordinator
Dr. Dyan Jones, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness and Associate Professor of Physics
Ms. Lucy Belleau '22, պ Student Government President
Mr. David Myron, Vice President of Finance and Administration
Dr. Laura Zirkle, Vice President for Student Life

    Working Group I is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of the university’s mission. Its focus is on MSCHE Standard I, as well as the Requirements of Affiliation that are related to mission. Specifically, it is entrusted to:

    • Identify all existing evidence—that is, documents, processes, data, and results—to support each of the criterion of the Standard
    • Identify any gaps in the evidence—that is, where a criterion is under- or un-supported
    • Describe what each piece of evidence is used for
    • Analyze the collection of evidence in relation to the criteria to determine:
    • Do we have it? (Is the evidence for the criterion sufficient?)
    • Do we use it? (Can you show that this is a regular and useful practice?)
    • Does it work? (Can you show how we use the evidence in our efforts toward innovation and continuous improvement?)
    • Submit reports following stated guidelines that match evidence to criteria

    Working Group actions will include:

    • Holding regular meetings
    • Posting meeting minutes on Teams and completing the Work Group Meeting Attendance Form
    • Submitting interim reports on time
    Standard I Work Group Members

    Dr. Greg Baker, Chair, Vice President for Mission Integration
    Dr. Chris Magoc, Professor of History
    Dr. Sister Lisa Mary McCartney RSM '71, Mission Associate
    Ms. Jenell Patton, Assistant Director of Campus Ministry
    Ms. Janiece Withers '22, պ Student Government
    Ms. Eileen Zinchiak '80, Administrative Assistant, Hafenmaier College

    Working Group II is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of the ethics and integrity with which the university conducts itself and performs all its operations. Its focus is on MSCHE Standard II, as well as the Requirements of Affiliation that are related to ethics and integrity in operations. Specifically, it is entrusted to:

    • Identify all existing evidence—that is, documents, processes, data, and results—to support each of the criterion of the Standard
    • Identify any gaps in the evidence—that is, where a criterion is under- or un-supported
    • Describe what each piece of evidence is used for
    • Analyze the collection of evidence in relation to the criteria to determine:
    • Do we have it? (Is the evidence for the criterion sufficient?)
    • Do we use it? (Can you show that this is a regular and useful practice?)
    • Does it work? (Can you show how we use the evidence in our efforts toward innovation and continuous improvement?)
    • Submit reports following stated guidelines that match evidence to criteria

    Working Group actions will include:

    • Holding regular meetings
    • Posting meeting minutes on Teams and completing the Work Group Meeting Attendance Form
    • Submitting interim reports on time
    Standard II Work Group Members

    Dr. Jim Snyder, Chair, Associate Professor of Philosophy
    Ms. Hannah Buncher ’21, պ Student Government
    Ms. Sara Dorich, Human Resources Coordinator
    Dr. Richard McCarty, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
    Ms. Suzanne Sweeney '88, Assistant Athletic Director for Student Health and Wellness
    Ms. Bethany Woods '11 '19M, Assistant Director of Community Engagement

    Working Group III is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of how educational opportunities are provided to students in all contexts across the institution. Its focus is on , as well as the that are related to learning experiences and expectations. Specifically, it is entrusted to:

    • Identify all existing evidence—that is, documents, processes, data, and results—to support each of the criterion of the Standard
    • Identify any gaps in the evidence—that is, where a criterion is under- or un-supported
    • Describe what each piece of evidence is used for
    • Analyze the collection of evidence in relation to the criteria to determine:
    • Do we have it? (Is the evidence for the criterion sufficient?)
    • Do we use it? (Can we show that this is a regular and useful practice?)
    • Does it work? (Can we show how we use the evidence in our efforts toward innovation and continuous improvement?)
    • Submit reports following stated guidelines that match evidence to criteria

    Working Group actions will include:

    • Holding regular meetings
    • Posting meeting minutes on Teams and completing the Work Group Meeting Attendance Form
    • Submitting interim reports on time
    Standard III Work Group Members

    Dr. Verna Ehret, Chair, Associate Professor of Religious Studies
    Dr. Maria Garase '98M, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice
    Ms. Janice Haas '02 '06M, Director, Physical Therapist Assistant Program and Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy
    Mr. Colin Hurley '13M, Director of Community Engagement
    Ms. Lori Krause, Director of Academic Engagement
    Ms. Gillian Mazur '22, պ Student Government
    Ms. Katie Ishler '03 '06M, Instructional Designer

    Working Group IV is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of the quality and effectiveness of the services that support and enhance the student learning experience. Its focus is on MSCHE Standard IV, as well as the Requirements of Affiliation that are related to the student services that support the learning experience. Specifically, it is entrusted to:

    • Identify all existing evidence—that is, documents, processes, data, and results—to support each of the criterion of the Standard
    • Identify any gaps in the evidence—that is, where a criterion is under- or un-supported
    • Describe what each piece of evidence is used for
    • Analyze the collection of evidence in relation to the criteria to determine:
    • Do we have it? (Is the evidence for the criterion sufficient?)
    • Do we use it? (Can we show that this is a regular and useful practice?)
    • Does it work? (Can we show how we use the evidence in our efforts toward innovation and continuous improvement?)
    • Submit reports following stated guidelines that match evidence to criteria

    Working Group actions will include:

    • Holding regular meetings
    • Posting meeting minutes on Teams and completing the Work Group Meeting Attendance Form
    • Submitting interim reports on time

    Standard IV Work Group Members

    Ms. Sarah Allen, Chair, Executive Director for Campus Involvement
    Ms. Andrea Barnett, Associate Provost for Academic Services and Support
    Mr. Bradley Davis, Director of Athletics
    Ms. Stacey Gadette, Head Coach, Women's Field Hockey
    Dr. Joseph Morris, Chair, Political Science Department and Associate Professor of Political Science
    Ms. Michelle Simpson '10 '17M, Director of Student Life
    Dr. Judy Smith, Executive Director of Wellness
    Ms. Dionne Veitch '92, Executive Director of Marketing/Brand Management
    Ms. Michele Wheaton '01 '06M, Registrar

    Working Group V is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of the quality and scope of the university’s assessment activities. Its focus is on , as well as the that are related to university assessment. Specifically, it is entrusted to:

    • Identify all existing evidence—that is, documents, processes, data, and results—to support each of the criterion of the Standard
    • Identify any gaps in the evidence—that is, where a criterion is under- or un-supported
    • Describe what each piece of evidence is used for
    • Analyze the collection of evidence in relation to the criteria to determine:
    • Do we have it? (Is the evidence for the criterion sufficient?);
    • Do we use it? (Can we show that this is a regular and useful practice?);
    • Does it work? (Can we show how we use the evidence in our efforts toward innovation and continuous improvement?)
    • Submit reports following stated guidelines that match evidence to criteria


    Working Group actions will include:

    • Holding regular meetings
    • Posting meeting minutes on Teams and completing the Work Group Meeting Attendance Form
    • Submitting interim reports on time
    Standard V Work Group Members

    Dr. Amy Burniston '12M, Chair, Assistant Professor of Biology
    Mr. Nick Broadfuhrer '22, պ Student Government
    Dr. Katie Duda, Assistant Professor of Russian Studies
    Mr. Randall Rinke '88, Associate Dean, Walker College of Business and Assistant Professor of Business
    Dr. Justin Ross, Director of Writing Center, Honors, and Prestigious Awards
    Dr. Judy Stanley, Chair, Department of Nursing and Associate Professor of Nursing (RN-BSN)

    Working Group VI is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of the quality and sufficiency of the university’s processes of planning and resource allocation as they support innovation and continuous improvement. Its focus is on , as well as the that are related to planning and resources. Specifically, it is entrusted to:

    • Identify all existing evidence—that is, documents, processes, data, and results—to support each of the criterion of the Standard
    • Identify any gaps in the evidence—that is, where a criterion is under- or un-supported
    • Describe what each piece of evidence is used for
    • Analyze the collection of evidence in relation to the criteria to determine:
    • Do we have it? (Is the evidence for the criterion sufficient?);
    • Do we use it? (Can we show that this is a regular and useful practice?);
    • Does it work? (Can we show how we use the evidence in our efforts toward innovation and continuous improvement?)
    • Submit reports following stated guidelines that match evidence to criteria


    Working Group actions will include:

    • Holding regular meetings
    • Posting meeting minutes on Teams and completing the Work Group Meeting Attendance Form
    • Submitting interim reports on time

    Standard VI Work Group Members

    Ms. Jane Kelsey, Chair, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Treasurer
    Ms. Jamie Breneman '05M, Director of Human Resources
    Ms. Joan Giannelli, Staff Accountant, Finance
    Mr. Ryan Palm '07, Associate Vice President for Advancement and Director of Development
    Ms. Nicole Soltis, Assistant Director of Student Financial Services/Billing
    Dr. Gary Sullivan, Assistant Professor of Risk Management
    Dr. Robert von Thaden, Jr., Chair, Department of Religious Studies and Professor of Religious Studies

    Working Group VII is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of the degree to which the university is governed and administered in a manner that allows us to realize our stated mission and goals in a way that effectively benefits the institution, our students, and the other constituencies we serve. Its focus is on , as well as the that are related to governance. Specifically, you are entrusted to:

    • Identify all existing evidence—that is, documents, processes, data, and results—to support each of the criterion of the Standard
    • Identify any gaps in the evidence—that is, where a criterion is under- or un-supported
    • Describe what each piece of evidence is used for
    • Analyze the collection of evidence in relation to the criteria to determine:
    • Do we have it? (Is the evidence for the criterion sufficient?);
    • Do we use it? (Can we show that this is a regular and useful practice?);
    • Does it work? (Can we show how we use the evidence in our efforts toward innovation and continuous improvement?)
    • Submit reports following stated guidelines that match evidence to criteria


    Working Group actions will include:

    • Holding regular meetings
    • Posting meeting minutes on Teams and completing the Work Group Meeting Attendance Form
    • Submitting interim reports on time

    Standard VII Work Group Members

    Ms. Lindsay Frank '12 '14M, Co-chair, Director of Alumni Engagement
    Dr. Gerry Tobin, Co-chair, Associate Professor of Psychology
    Ms. Sarah Klein, ’22, պ Student Government Vice President
    Ms. Jeanette Britt '94 '99M, Vice President and Chief Information Officer
    Ms. Kari Dundore-Shrout, Director, պ North East Biology Department and Assistant Professor of Biology
    Dr. Alice Edwards, Professor of Spanish
    Mr. Travis Lindahl, Director of Graduate and Adult Enrollment

    The Compliance work group is charged with conducting a thorough investigation of the degree to which the university complies with federal regulations required of an accredited institution. Its focus is on the , as well as the Requirements of Affiliation that are related to compliance. Specifically, it is entrusted to:

    • Identify all existing evidence—that is, documents, processes, data, and results—to support each of the criterion of the Standard
    • Identify any gaps in the evidence—that is, where a criterion is under- or un-supported
    • Describe what each piece of evidence is used for
    • Analyze the collection of evidence in relation to the criteria to determine:
    • Do we have it? (Is the evidence for the criterion sufficient?);
    • Do we use it? (Can we show that this is a regular and useful practice?);
    • Does it work? (Can we show how we use the evidence in our efforts toward innovation and continuous improvement?)
    • Submit reports following stated guidelines that match evidence to criteria


    Working Group actions will include:

    • Holding regular meetings
    • Posting meeting minutes on Teams and completing the Work Group Meeting Attendance Form
    • Submitting interim reports on time

    Compliance Work Group Members

    Ms. Alice Agnew, Co-chair, COVID Case Worker
    Ms. Amy Danzer, Co-chair, Accreditation Coordinator
    Ms. Merry Bollheimer, JD, General Counsel and Vice President for Legal Affairs
    Mr. Donald Fuhrmann '87, Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety
    Ms. Carrie Newman, Director of Student Financial Services
    Dr. John Parente, Associate Professor of Sports Business
    Ms. Sheila Richter '77, Director of Institutional Research