Middle States grants Geneseo reaccreditation

After an extensive four-day evaluation by the Middle States Commission on Higher After an extensive four-day evaluation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in March, Geneseo has been granted reaccreditation. The Middle States Evaluation occurs every 10 years to grant accreditation or reaccreditation to a U.S. college or university.

As stated in the report sent by the evaluation team in mid-April, “Based on a review of the self-study, interviews, the certification statement supplied by the institution and other institutional documents, the team affirms that the State University of New York at Geneseo continues to meet the eligibility requirements in Characteristics of Excellence.”

According to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education website, this accreditation “instills public confidence in institutional mission, goals, performance and resources through its rigorous accreditation standards and their enforcement.”

“The feedback [from the evaluation team] was overwhelmingly positive,” said Associate Provost David Gordon, chairman of the Geneseo Middle States Committee. “The self-study process made visible all the good things that are happening at [Geneseo].”

According to Gordon, the self-study process began in 2010 with a wiki page to highlight Geneseo’s various programs and strategies that pertained to the evaluation standards.

President Dahl addressed the success of the reaccreditation in his convocation speech on Aug. 26 as the “highest possible level of action by the commission,” and he said the report confirmed, “Our choices at Geneseo have indeed made a difference.”

“I regard our successful reaccreditation as the most important achievement of the past year, because it speaks to everything we do and confirms the efforts of many people over many years,” said Dahl in his speech.

“I am particularly grateful to Dave Gordon and Ray Spear for leading the self-study steering committee and to all the members of the larger Middle States committee who worked so hard to ensure our success.”

Although the report was positive, the evaluation team had two major recommendations for the college’s improvement, in the areas of strategic planning and transparency of policy making.

The report suggested, “Geneseo may wish to establish a consistent reporting process for annual divisional planning that directly links strategic plan goals to annual unit objectives.”

As a result, a strategic planning group has been established to follow up on the suggestion within the report as well as two assessment committees: Academic Affairs Group and the College Assessment Advisory Council. According to Gordon, these will act as links between academic assessment and budget and strategic groups and will “officially designate responsibility for strategic planning,” which coincides with the suggestion regarding transparency.

Gordon also noted that an assessment day will be held on Oct. 10 to educate students about the evaluation results and will allow different academic groups to vocalize what they have gleaned from the assessment.

“[The Middle State Committee and I] think this will be an interesting day for students to learn even more detailed information about the college,” Gordon said. According to Gordon, the unusual thing about the report was that Geneseo was not asked to send a follow-up report in two years, which is required of approximately two-thirds of colleges and universities that undergo an evaluation.

Due to the success of the Middle States evaluation, Gordon and his fellow chairman, professor of biology Ray Spear, will present the Self-Study wiki at the Middle States Self-Study Institute in November as a consult for other colleges and universities currently going through the process. Gordon and Spear will also lead a presentation on the Self-Study wiki in December with Paul Schacht, professor and chair of the English department, at the Middle States Annual Conference in December.

To view the full evaluation report, visit Geneseo’s Middle States Self-Study wiki page.