Alfred State College has begun the process of seeking reaffirmation of its institutional accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). This is a multi-year, multiphase process that involves conducting an institutional Self-Study and hosting an Evaluation Visit comprised of evaluators from peer institutions. Alfred State will host the Evaluation Visit on March 24-27, 2024.
In preparation for the Evaluation Visit, we invite the college community to read the Self-Study Report which was submitted to MSCHE and the Evaluation Team on Feb. 9, 2024, along with the supporting evidence cited in the document. The Self-Study is the culmination of over two years of work that began in the Fall 2022 semester during the Self-Study Institute: Alfred State College MSCHE Self-Study Report (pdf)
You can also read Alfred State College's Self-Study Design (pdf). The Self-Study Design includes the plan for conducting the Self-Study, Institutional Priorities that were examined in the Self-Study, schedule of major activities, members of the college community who are leading the Self-Study process (Co-Chairs and Steering Committee) and wrote the Self-Study report (Working Groups), and more.
What is Accreditation, and Why Is it Important?
Accreditation is a means of self-regulation and peer review adopted by members of the educational community. In the United States, there are six major institutional accrediting associations. Institutions choose to apply for accredited status. Once accredited, they agree to abide by the standards of their accrediting organization and to regulate themselves by taking responsibility for their own improvement. In addition, the federal government requires that an institution be accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization to access Title IV funding so that its students are eligible to receive federal financial aid.
What is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)?
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations, and resources. Because MSCHE is an institutional accreditor, it examines institutions as a whole rather than specific programs within institutions. MSCHE provides education, quality assurance, and other services to members.
MSCHE conducts accreditation and pre-accreditation (candidacy status) activities for institutions of higher education in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, and any other geographic areas in which the Commission elects to conduct accrediting activities, including the evaluation of distance education and correspondence education programs offered at those institutions. MSCHE accredits institutions across the United States as well as globally.
How Does Self-Study Work?
Beginning in spring 2022, Alfred State College embarked on the self-study process to prepare for our spring 2024 accreditation site visit and review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The first major step in the process was for the campus Self-Study Co-Chairs and Steering Committee to prepare and submit a Self-Study Design for MSCHE approval. The Self-Study Design (pdf) was approved in July, 2022. The document lays out the full self-study process describing how our institution will assess compliance with Middle States’ Standards and Requirements of Affiliation. We also hosted a Self-Study Preparation Visit with our MSCHE VP staff liaison, including an Open Forum for the campus community in September, 2022 (you can read the Open Forum notes (pdf)).
The MSCHE Accreditation Standards and Requirements of Affiliation consist of seven standards and 15 requirements which serve as a guide for accredited institutions to engage in self-review and peer evaluation. The commission notes that “four principles guided the development of these standards: 1) the mission-centric standards acknowledge the diversity of institutions; 2) the focus of the standards is on the student learning experience; 3) the standards emphasize institutional assessment and assessment of student learning; and 4) the standards support innovation as an essential part of continuous institutional improvement.”
Each standard consists of a set of criteria that identify its fundamental attributes and are structured to focus on functions rather than specific structures. MSCHE recognizes that there are many different models for educational and operational excellence and has formulated the standards to affirm that an institution’s mission and goals remain the context within which the accreditation standards are applied. The self-study process gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we do, to ensure that we regularly assess and document the effectiveness of our work, and to demonstrate that we are actively engaged in identifying areas of improvement and responsive to the challenges posed by ongoing changes in higher education. Working groups, one for each standard, will be formed and tasked with gathering the evidence that demonstrates how we meet the criteria for each standard and with identifying any gaps in our evidence. The final report that each working group prepares will be combined into a single document that addresses how Alfred State College addresses the Commission’s expectations for each standard as well as the institution's commitment to continuous improvement.
When Is It Happening? Self-Study Key Points and Dates
|Self-Study Design Approved
|Self-Study Preparation Visit/Open Forum (notes here (Word Doc))
|Sept. 2022 - Feb. 2023
|First Draft of Self-Study Report Written
|Feb. - May 2023
|Campus Feedback & Revisions to Self-Study Report
|Visiting Team Chair Preliminary Visit (Sept. 28) & Feedback on Self-Study
|Final Self-Study Submitted and Peer Evaluation Team Visit (March 24-27)
What are the Institutional Priorities We Will Be Examining in the Self-Study?
Alfred State College has selected three Institutional Priorities to be addressed in the MSCHE Self-Study:
- Enrollment and Recruitment: Alfred State College will recruit a diverse and sustainable population of students, faculty, and staff. Alfred State College will attract and support the faculty and staff to grow and maintain its excellent, affordable, in-demand hands-on programs. Alfred State College will facilitate equitable student access through robust enrollment management planning and accurate and clear communications about its programs, admissions processes, and financing to students, families, and the public.
- Retention: Alfred State College will create an inclusive, equitable, and engaging environment that is conducive to retention of its students, faculty, and staff. Alfred State College will support its students in achieving their academic and career goals from enrollment through graduation, through student, academic and advising support services and programs. Alfred State College’s affordable and relevant academic programs, clearly stated policies and procedures, faculty and staff, and effective student and academic support services work together to facilitate student degree completion.
- Campus Renewal and Resource Optimization: Alfred State College will engage in sustainable, responsible, and inclusive fiscal and resource planning to support its diverse students, programs, faculty, and staff to meet their academic, professional, and personal goals. Alfred State College will ensure adequate resources and institutional support to strengthen its physical and technological infrastructure and to recruit and retain a diverse pool of talented faculty and staff sufficient to support the college’s mission, students, and programs.
Each Institutional Priority also has an embedded Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Staffing/Resources focused component. They are embedded within each Institutional Priority to ensure that these mission-critical areas of institutional improvement receive adequate focus within the Self-Study process and are not “siloed” within individual Institutional Priorities.
Submitting Third Party Comments
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE or the Commission) provides opportunities for students, faculty, staff, and members of the public to submit information regarding the qualifications for accreditation of its member institutions, including SUNY College of Technology at Alfred (Alfred State College). More information about submitting third party comments can be found at this page on the MSCHE website: Complaints and Third Party Comments