December 1 is here, and our first report for our Middle States reaccreditation process has been submitted for official review by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
This first report is called Verification of Compliance with Accreditation-Relevant Federal Regulations. In this report, we must provide evidence that Syracuse University meets all of the accreditation-relevant federal regulations developed by the U.S. Department of Education in the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. We also have to demonstrate that we are in compliance with Title IV program responsibilities relating to financial or compliance audits among other items. Because the Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a federally recognized accreditor, all of its member institutions and those seeking initial accreditation must comply with the accreditation-relevant federal regulations developed by the U.S. Department of Education.
Here are the areas of focus:
- Student Identity Verification in Distance and Correspondence Education
- Transfer of Credit Policies and Articulation Agreements
- Title IV Program Responsibilities
- Institutional Record of Student Complaints
- Required Information for Students and the Public
- Standing with State and Other Accrediting Agencies
- Contractual Relationships
- Assignment of Credit Hours
Our report lists, provides copies of, and links to all of the relevant policies and procedures that are (1) in writing, (2) approved and administered through applicable institutional processes, and (3) published and accessible to those students, faculty, staff and others that are affected by those policies.
One of the external review site team members is required to look at each piece of documentation we provide to determine if the University has a written, approved and administered institutional process that is published and accessible. By January 15, this team member will submit a report to the site team chair and our Middle States vice president signifying if we have a process or procedure that addresses the regulation or if we do not.
Items not found in our documentation will be subject to a follow-up by the site team that visits in March or subsequent follow-up by the commission.
Team 8: Compliance that completed the discovery and writing of the initial draft was led by co-chairs Michaele DeHart, interim director of risk management, business, finance, and administrative services; and Abby Perer, associate general counsel, Office of University Counsel.
In addition to documenting our processes and procedures, this team provided internal recommendations on how Syracuse could improve these processes and procedures. These internal recommendations have been given to the units responsible for these processes and procedures.
Now that we have reflected on these compliance issues and created forward momentum on making improvements, we will await our external peer review report on this first report.
Enjoy your RedZone of the semester with finals, papers and winter break preparation; our Middle States Logistics Committee (Libby Barlow, Gabe Coleman, Gerald Edmonds, Rochelle Ford, Melissa Lowry, Katie Rupert and Jeff Stanton) is busy finalizing our self-study report for submission before Green Days begin. We continue to use this process for Peer Review, Reflection, and Forward Momentum.
Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or concerns.
Rochelle L. Ford, PhD, APR
Tri-Chair, Middle States Steering Committee
Professor and Chair, Public Relations