On March 16, 2020, MSCHE closed its physical offices and transitioned to virtual Middle States evaluation teams during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marcia Welsh, former President of East Stroudsburg University (EMU) in Pennsylvania, will chair the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Evaluation Team for SUNY New Paltz’s virtual accreditation review in spring 2021. Dr. Welsh has a doctorate in anatomy from the University of Texas Health Science Center, has won numerous awards and honors, and was the first woman president of EMU. Under her leadership, EMU expanded its accessibility with the opening of the Lehigh Valley Center, the joint unveiling the Philadelphia Multi-University Center, collaborative degree programs with two colleges in Scranton as well as one in Japan, and a partnership with Pocono Medical Center to train student volunteers. Other accomplishments under her tenure include the opening of a Student Veterans Center, an annual Economic Summit, and EMU’s diagnostic kit for Lyme disease called LYME-AID which was the first commercial licensing agreement of faculty/student research in Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education.
Middle States member institutions undergo full evaluations every eight years and Mid-Point Peer Reviews (MPPR) midway through the accreditation review cycle. The New Paltz virtual visit will mirror an onsite visit, which consists of two interrelated phases: a self-study, which we have conducted, and peer review, which is conducted by an Evaluation Team of trained, knowledgeable, and appropriate peer evaluators who visit the institution and conduct an evaluation, based upon the institution’s self-study and MSCHE’s standards for accreditation, requirements of affiliation, policies and procedures, and federal compliance requirements. The team chair and team members, who are selected for their qualifications, are expected to contribute to a thoughtful assessment of the institution within the framework of MSCHE’s expectations and within the context of our mission and goals and institutional priorities. The team will evaluate the analysis in the self-study report and draw upon the insights gained from on-site interviews. Evaluation team members and team chairs are volunteers who are selected from the academic community within the Middle States region and throughout the nation to assist in ensuring the quality of higher education institutions and to help them improve.
A SUNY New Paltz technology team has been put in place to navigate the logistics of the MSCHE visits. In anticipation of a virtual visit, Associate Provost for Strategic Planning and Assessment Laurel M. Garrick Duhaney and members of the Self-Study Steering Committee attended a virtual presentation by Empire State College on April 22. Presenters from Empire College, which hosted a virtual MSCHE Evaluation Team Visit from April 5 to April 6, focused on technical and non-technical elements for a successful virtual visit.
Team Chair Preliminary Virtual Visit
Members of SUNY New Paltz met Dr. Welsh on Friday, October 23, to introduce her to the institution and to facilitate her assessment of our readiness to host the spring evaluation visit. During Dr. Welsh’s Preliminary Virtual Visit, she met with President Donald P. Christian and Interim Provost Barbara G. Lyman, the MSCHE Steering Committee, Dariana Almeyda, and SUNY New Paltz College Council representatives Eli Basch, Ron Law, and Haley Hershenson.
MSCHE Self-Study Document Review
In spring 2020, the MSCHE Self-Study Steering Committee submitted a draft of the self-study to the MSCHE Editorial Team to review. After editing the document, the seven-member Editorial Team, headed by Dr. Thomas Olsen of the Department of English, circulated the self-study draft to the campus for comments and feedback. We received excellent feedback, and the MSCHE Steering Committee and Editorial Team used it to revise the draft. The final self-study report was submitted to Dr. Marcia Welsh and the evaluation team in February 2021.
The MSCHE Self-Study Steering Committee and Editorial Team wishes to acknowledge and thank the campus for its active involvement in the self-study process. The MSCHE Accreditation Evaluation Team virtual visit will take place from March 23 through March 26. We hope you will join us in further enlightening the MSCHE Evaluation Team about the SUNY New Paltz community, our students, and our work. A form of self-assessment designed to help the College continuously improve, the self-study process will conclude in June 2021, with a decision from MSCHE regarding our reaccreditation.
MSCHE Steering Committee MSCHE Editorial Team
Laurel M. Garrick Duhaney – Co-Chair Tom Olsen, Lead Editor
Ken Goldstein – Co-Chair Anne Balant
Anne Balant Laurel M. Garrick Duhaney
Dante Cantu Ken Goldstein
Robin Cohen-LaValle Valerie McAllister
Anne Deutsch Wendy Vierow
Deb Gould Lucy Walker