Self-study prepares for Middle States evaluation

Geneseo is up for its Middle States evaluation this year, which will examine various aspects of Geneseo's educational setup and comment both on areas of success as well as those needing improvement.

The Middle States evaluation occurs every 10 years to grant accreditation or reaccreditation to a university or college should it uphold the Middle States standards for higher education. Accreditation by an association such as Middle States is necessary for a school to receive financial aid funding for its students.

The evaluation has seven standards for institutional context: Mission and Goals; Planning, Resource Allocation and Institutional Renewal; Institutional Resources; Leadership and Governance; Administration; Integrity; and Institutional Assessment.

There are also seven standards for Educational Effectiveness including Student Admissions and Retention, Student Support Services, Faculty, Educational Offerings, General Education, Related Educational Activities, and Assessment of Student Learning.

In order to prepare for the evaluation, a Middle States Self-Study Steering Committee consisting of 15 administrators, deans, various faculty and two students has been compiling a Geneseo wiki of evidence for the evaluation.

Co-chairing the committee are Associate Provost David Gordon and professor of biology Ray Spear.

"I think it's a great opportunity to look at Geneseo as a whole," Gordon said.

According to the preface of the wiki, "This self-study both analyzes Geneseo's success in accomplishing its mission and exemplifies the way in which the college community accomplishes its mission."

The evidence provided on the self-study wiki exhibits budget reports, organizations like the Academic Affairs Committee and programs unique to Geneseo, such as the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program and Livingston CARES.

Although Geneseo must adhere to the standards, it also must choose a theme for the self-study. This year's evaluation theme is transformational learning, which enables students to be both academically and civically involved so that they can be viewed as well-rounded individuals rather than merely students in a classroom.

According to Gordon, the theme of transformational learning was chosen because it gives the committee a language for the actions already taking place at Geneseo. The inspiration also came from the Bringing Theory to Practice project, which promotes the ideology. The Charles Engelhard Foundation in association with the Association of American Colleges and Universities developed the project.

The committee would also like to focus on how the college can improve students' well-being, relate to students in a more concise way and get the campus to move forward through global changes in higher education.

The Middle States evaluation team, consisting of 10 people, will be on campus from March 25-28 to review documents and speak with various faculty and students about the college's programs.

Gordon said that it is important for the entire student body to be aware of the self-study and its contents. The committee held open meetings last week to inform students, but they strongly encouraged students to read the wiki.