Middle States Blog: A Visit to Florence Center

This week officially began the first part of our Syracuse University Middle States Visit.  The chair of our site team, Dr. James Bean, Northeastern University’s provost, joined Syracuse University’s provost, Dr. Michele Wheatly, and Petra Hejnova, Syracuse Abroad interim executive director, for an evaluation of our Syracuse Florence Center.

Syracuse University Provost Michele Wheatly, center; Rochelle Ford, second from left, co-chair of the University’s self-study steering committee; and Petra Hejnova, interim executive director of Syracuse University Abroad, join Middle States site team chair Dr. James Bean, right, for a tour of the University’s Florence Center in Italy.

Dr. Sasha Perugini, director of the Florence Center, coordinated meals with students and faculty, meetings with key program leaders and administrators, class visits, tours of the center’s facilities, visits to host families and meetings with the U.S. general consul and officials with the University of Florence.

Bean had visited the Syracuse University Florence Center in 2005 when his daughter, then a student at Tufts University, was studying abroad through Syracuse University’s Florence Center.  Armed with questions from other members of the site team that will visit the Syracuse University main campus March 25-27, he focused on each of the standards with particular attention to assessment at each level, including academic programs’ learning outcomes, co-curricular programs like residential life and student affairs, and various functional units including budget, IT, registrar, communications and marketing.

In each meeting, faculty, staff and students provided additional supportive evidence and anecdotes related to how we address the Middle States standards.

During the visit, faculty and staff were excited to learn about and be engaged in program-level assessment that departments are doing on Syracuse’s main campus, exchange best practices in teaching and learning, create more opportunities for collaboration and ensure that the abroad courses and experiences help students achieve their degree requirements and improve their abilities to communicate and collaborate across cultures.

The visit ran from Sunday, February 25, through Tuesday, February 27.  Visit Middlestates.syr.edu for more information about Syracuse University’s self-study that showcases how the University demonstrated it is meeting the Middle States Accreditation Standards.

Rochelle Ford, rlford@syr.edu