Message from President Thayne: Middle States Accreditation Status, August 16, 2012

I would like to provide an update regarding our accreditation standing. On June 29, 2012, an official letter detailing the MSCHE action was sent to my predecessor, President MacDonald. The MSCHE letter informs the College that it is being placed on warning “because of insufficient evidence that the institution is currently in compliance with Standard 7 (Institutional Assessment) and Standard 14 (Assessment of Student Learning).” The full text of the letter is available.

For the moment, there are three key points to remember:

  • LVC maintains its accreditation status during the warning period. 
  • It is very rare for an institution not to have its warning lifted in the (maximum) two-year warning period.
  • The issue for LVC is assessment processes and systems, not the academic quality of the institution.
On August 2nd, a vice president of MSCHE, Dr. Debra Klinman, spent the day at the LVC campus on a liaison guidance visit to follow-up on the June 28 action. In a full day of meetings with staff, faculty, and trustees, Dr. Klinman clarified the formal process to have the warning lifted:

By March 1, 2013 the College must produce a Monitoring Report that provides evidence documenting how the institution has achieved compliance with specific MSCHE Standards and how we will sustain those processes and systems. In early April, there will be a small team visit by peer representatives to follow up on the Monitoring Report. At that time, all MSCHE Standards must be met. In late June, one of two actions can occur. The warning can be lifted immediately or it can be continued through June 2014. Federal regulations require us to complete the process in two years.

I have asked the General Officers to make the MSCHE response our top priority and we have moved quickly to accelerate the response to Dr. Klinman’s guidance visit. We have secured the assistance of an expert consultant, Linda Suskie, to further guide our efforts and timeline of activity toward meeting the standards. Dr. Suskie is currently reviewing a set of relevant LVC documents. The results of her review and her recommendations are due to the college by August 20. A comprehensive framework for the project has been developed and refined by the General Officers. Academic and Student Affairs staff members and faculty members who serve on assessment-related committees have also begun work on the issue. In short, we have moved quickly to assemble a broad-based and comprehensive response to the issues. Linda Suskie’s recommendations and her initial visit to campus will provide us with an objective appraisal of processes already in place that may be re-presented in ways that meet compliance standards. There is no question that LVC will be a stronger, better, and more effective college when we have completed this work. This is first and foremost a compliance issue, but it is also a strategic issue.

The process to achieve compliance and develop stronger and more effective systems and assessment procedures will involve many areas on campus and will be carried out in a transparent and collaborative manner. In a sense, we are building a culture of assessment to which everyone contributes. To change the metaphor, we are also building a foundation for making better, more data-driven decisions about the future of the college and the programs that relate especially to student learning.

This issue will be an important priority for all of us and I ask for and know I can rely on your active participation. This website has been developed to better communicate institutional progress and increase understanding of assessment standards and plans. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact Marty Parkes.