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Middle States selects chair of UB’s reaccreditation team


Published June 19, 2014

“I really view reaccreditation as a process of continuous self-improvement.”
Michael Ryan, director of university accreditation and assessment

As UB continues working on renewal of its Middle States accreditation, the accrediting body has selected the chair of the team of evaluators that will visit UB in March or April 2014.

Patricia Beeson, provost and senior vice chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh, will lead the reaccreditation team and make a preliminary visit to UB in October, according to Michael Ryan, director of university accreditation and assessment who is leading the reaccreditation process for UB.

Beeson has played a lead role in Pitt’s assessment efforts and strategic planning, and has helped lead that university’s enrollment management efforts, as well as initiatives to increase student retention, graduation and satisfaction. She is widely regarded as a national leader on issues of assessment and accountability.

Ryan says the purpose of Beeson’s visit is to discuss such issues as campus readiness, practical arrangements for the visit of the reaccreditation team in the spring, team roster, contact information, agenda for the team’s visit, arrangements for interviews and the logistics for an oral exit interview at the conclusion of the team’s visit. During her October visit she will meet with President Satish K. Tripathi, Provost Charles F. Zukoski and UB’s coordinating team.

UB’s decennial accreditation from Middle States expires in 2013-14.

The university is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the unit of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in the middle states region. Accrediting bodies, through their periodically revised standards, affirm that institutions meet basic academic standards and are moving forward in achieving the prescribed educational outcomes for their students.

Accreditation offers an institution the opportunity “to formally state its mission, identify the population it serves and demonstrate the extent to which it is achieving its institutional mission and goals,” Ryan says.

“I really view it (reaccreditation) as a process of continuous self-improvement.”

The key component of the reaccreditation process is the self-study, which Ryan describes as “a candid, comprehensive report that outlines the university’s institutional goals and the progress that the university has made in reaching these goals within the context of the key standards of excellence that the commission expects of institutions of higher education.”

“The self-study is effectively a research paper that helps guide the institution in identifying potential opportunities for improvement,” he says, noting it covers all aspects of the institution and its operations, including mission and goals; planning, resource allocation and institutional renewal; institutional resources; leadership and government; administration; integrity; student admissions and retention; student support services; faculty; educational offerings; general education; and related educational activities.

UB’s self-study process—underway for more than a year—has been “a helpful and constructive process in reaffirming our strategic plans under UB 2020 and for identifying potential opportunities for institutional improvement,” Ryan says. A draft of the self-study will be shared with the campus community for comment and feedback later this summer.

“Indeed, we will be seeking feedback and revising the self-study over the next several months before official submission to Middle States in January,” he says.

Middle States is expected to make a final determination on UB’s reaccreditation status in June 2014.

For more information on UB’s accreditation, visit the Accreditation & Assessment page on the Provost’s website. Additional information regarding Middle States can be found on the accrediting body’s website.