In many countries of the world, the central government directly oversees the quality of colleges and universities. In the United States, the academic quality review is handled by a set of regional groups associated with the universities themselves. There are over 3000 colleges and universities in the United States, each of them assigned to a regional accreditation commission. A positive outcome of the process leads to an accreditation or re-accreditation of the organization. Accreditation is necessary for a college or university to be eligible to received US Federal government funds to support of students or program activities.
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) serves institutions in Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, as well as a few institutions outside the United States.
MSCHE assembles academic staff from other institutions to conduct the periodic reviews of Georgetown. The last review at Georgetown led to its re-accreditation in 2012.
The process begins with a self-study report prepared by Georgetown. It describes the current structures and processes at the University and thus is not a strategic plan for the future. To date, over 80 members of the Georgetown community – including faculty, staff, and students – have contributed to our self-study report through work on either the Steering Committee or one of the five Working Groups. Working and Steering Committee members were nominated by the Faculty Senate, MCEF, school deans, and student leadership. In addition, there were many stakeholders who served as consultants during the process.
The overall purpose of the re-accreditation review is the assessment of whether the University currently meets the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation. Thus, the self-study should be an inclusive self-appraisal. Further, the MSCHE hopes that the protocol will lead to continuous improvement of processes. It does, indeed, easily yield itself to discussions about how to become a stronger institution.
In a message sent out on February 14, we reported that the draft self-study was ready for comment by the wider Georgetown community. We will welcome comments through February 28. The Georgetown faculty, staff, and students can access the draft at this link. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the entire accreditation process can be found at Provost Accreditation website.
The leader of the MSCHE review team is Dr. Philip Hanlon, president of Dartmouth College. He will be joined by 7 other members in a site visit team coming to Georgetown in May, 2022, along with staff from MSCHE. They will interview community members from many sectors to obtain a fulsome understanding of the performance of the university in fulfilling its stated mission.
We thank all those who spent many, many hours crafting the draft self-study. We hope other colleagues will comment on the document, in order to assure that it reflects wide input from community members.