The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) reaccredited the State University of New York at New Paltz on June 24, 2021. MSCHE is a voluntary membership organization that conducts a peer evaluated accreditation process to assure excellence in higher education. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSCHE Self-Study Evaluation Team conducted a virtual site visit at New Paltz from March 23 to March 25. The team consisted of accomplished peer evaluators with Marcia Welsh, former President of East Stroudsburg University, as chair. In making its decision, the Evaluation Team examined the final SUNY New Paltz Self Study Report 2020-2021, which was submitted to the team in February 2021, reviewed hundreds of documents, and attended a series of virtual meetings in which the team interviewed administrators, faculty, staff, and students.
The Evaluation Team’s Self-Study Evaluation Team Report recognized the College’s accomplishments, progress, and exemplary and innovative practices, as summarized below.
Standard 1: Mission and Goals—The team commended the College for “its ongoing strategic planning efforts and processes to meet the evolving needs of the campus” and “its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Standard II: Ethics and Integrity—The team recognized the College “for its adaptability to serve high-need students during the Covid-19 emergency,” and “the institution’s campus-wide diversity and accessibility efforts.” It also recognized that “the Sponsored Programs office’s support of and collaboration with HREB has led to it becoming qualified to conduct prison research.”
Standard III: Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience—The team acknowledged the pandemic crisis and recognized Faculty Development components that were in place. It commended the College “that over 600 faculty members have been enrolled in a contingency training program on Blackboard by OIT.” The team found significance that faculty exemplified “a high quality teaching and learning culture.”
Standard IV: Support of the Student Experience—The team commended the College “for providing micro-grants of $1,000 to students who demonstrated that their incomes were adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Standard V: Educational Effectiveness Assessment—The team commended the College for its “culture of assessment across the institution” and acknowledged its development of “an innovative general education program with a strong plan of assessment.”
Standard VI: Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement—The team commended the College for “its management of the Covid Pandemic” and “the management of its budget during very lean times.” It commended the College for “its commitment to sustainability” and also commended the Office of Development and Alumni Relations “for developing a student mentoring program utilizing retired faculty and alumni.”
Standard VII: Governance, Leadership, and Administration—The team recognized that “that the recently revised faculty governance model . . . has improved the perception of the effectiveness faculty and shared governance.”
In its Statement of Accreditation Status, MSCHE acknowledged receipt of the self-study report, voted to reaffirm New Paltz’s accreditation, and made the recommendations “to request that beginning in 2022 and in conjunction with each Annual Institutional Update prior to the Mid-Point Peer Review in 2025, the institution provide further evidence of (1) organized and systematic assessments that evaluate the extent of student achievement in all programs (Standard V) and (2) sufficient support to sustain the assessment of student achievement and to communicate results of assessment to stakeholders (Standard V).” MSCHE also noted “that a verification visit is required by USDE guidelines and will be conducted within a reasonable period of time following the virtual site visit. The next evaluation visit is scheduled for 2028-2029.”
The College is working diligently to execute all recommendations.
Over the next eight years, New Paltz will be evaluated for MSCHE reaccreditation based on the following schedule:
- 2025: Next Mid-Point Peer Review
- 2028-2029: Next Self-Study Evaluation