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NECHE Reaccreditation

About NECHE

The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) is the regional accreditation agency for colleges and universities in the six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. Three institutions in Greece, three in Switzerland, two in Lebanon and one in Bulgaria, Bermuda and Morocco, respectively, are also affiliated with NECHE.

The commission consists of faculty, administrators and trustees from affiliated institutions and public members. It is served by a staff led by Dr. Barbara Brittingham.

The commission is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a reliable authority on the quality of education for the institutions it accredits. The commission is also recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), affirming that its standards and processes are consistent with the quality, improvement and accountability expectations that CHEA has established.

Comprehensive Evaluation

The commission requires institutions to undergo a comprehensive evaluation at least every 10 years. The comprehensive evaluation process has three components:

  • An institutional self-study, in which the institution evaluates how and how well it meets the commission's standards for accreditation.
  • An on-site evaluation by a group of peers.
  • A review and decision by the commission.

Self-Study

Self-study is at the heart of accreditation. Both a product and a process, effective self-study serves accreditation's dual purposes: quality assurance and institutional improvement. The self-study presents a concise picture of the institution as a dynamic entity with a sense of its history, an understanding of its present and a vision of its future. By clearly identifying strengths and challenges, the institution demonstrates its ability to use analysis for improvement.

Commission staff provide assistance to institutions preparing for their comprehensive evaluations through an annual fall workshop and individual campus visits. Institutions are strongly encouraged to submit a rough draft of the self-study for review by commission staff.

On-Site Evaluation

The on-site evaluation by a group of faculty and administrators provides the institution and the commission with a valuable external perspective. Team members are selected because of their experience at an institution comparable to the one being evaluated. They are trained by commission staff to validate the self-study in light of the institution's mission. The evaluation manual may be a helpful resource to understand the approach and perspective of the visiting team.

After the Visit

After the visit, the team chair, using material submitted by the team members, will produce a draft report, first reviewed by the team and the commission staff. The staff review is designed to help ensure that the report can stand on its own and that important areas are sufficiently addressed. Following any changes made in that initial review, the chair sends the draft report to the institution's president for purposes of making sure the factual matters in the report are correct. Having made any appropriate changes based on that review, the chair sends the final version of the team report to the institution, which sends copies to the team members and to the commission.

The institution's president is asked to respond to the team report. Responses may indicate concurrence with the team's findings, may provide a differing interpretive perspective on factual matters or may provide an update on how the institution has responded to the findings of the team.

Commission Review and Decision

Normally the commission considers comprehensive evaluations the semester following the visit. The institution's president and team chair are invited to meet with the commission for an interactive session to review the comprehensive evaluation. Included in the review are the self-study, team report, the confidential recommendation of the team chair, the institution's response, and the history of commission action with respect to the institution. In addition, in keeping with federal regulations, the commission seeks and considers public comment regarding each evaluated institution.

The range and meaning of commission actions affecting institutional status outlines the actions the commission may take with regard to an institution's accreditation status. In addition, the commission specifies areas where an institution should endeavor to improve its effectiveness. Official written notification of the commission's decision is provided to the institution shortly after the commission meeting.

Timeline

January 2020

Subcommittees begin work on standard templates: Standard chairs and committee members

February 2020

Steering committee progress meeting: Standard chairs and committee members                                             

March 2020 

Subcommittee members review collated committee information: Standard chairs and committee members

April 2020

Template data posted to OneDrive: Standard chairs and committee members

May 2020

Review of all standard template submissions: Academic Affairs, University Relations and Advancement

June 2020

Begin writing draft of self-study document: Academic Affairs, University Relations and Advancement

September/October 2020

Draft self-study sent to NECHE staff for comment: Academic Affairs team

Complete data first forms: Institutional Research and Effectiveness, appropriate point contacts for standards

Publish notice for third-party comment: University Relations and Advancement, Academic Affairs 

Host team chair on campus: Office of the President, Academic Affairs 

Campus review and comment on draft: Campus community

November/December 2020

Final revisions to self-study: University Relations and Advancement, Academic Affairs

January/February 2021

Self-study to print: University Relations and Advancement, Academic Affairs

February/March 2021

Self-study mailed to NECHE: Academic Affairs

Final preparations for campus visit: Academic Affairs, appropriate offices

April 18-21, 2021

On-site visit for comprehensive evaluation: Campus community

Standard 1: Mission and Purposes

Subcommittee members:
Theresa Ladrigan-Whelpley (chair)
Dan Cowdin
Stephanie Dupuis
Myra Edelstein
Anna Mae Mayer
Kelly Powers

The institution's mission and purposes are appropriate to higher education, consistent with its charter or other operating authority, and implemented in a manner that complies with the standards of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The institution's mission gives direction to its activities and provides a basis for the assessment and enhancement of the institution’s effectiveness.

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Standard 2: Planning and Evaluation

Subcommittee members:
Jim Ludes (chair)
Alissa Bertram
Nancy Gordon
Laurie Reilly
Phil Robakiewicz
Jennifer Snyder

The institution undertakes planning and evaluation to accomplish and improve the achievement of its mission and purposes. It identifies its planning and evaluation priorities and pursues them effectively. The institution demonstrates its success in strategic, academic, financial and other resource planning and the evaluation of its educational effectiveness.

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Standard 3: Governance

Subcommittee members:
Jameson Chace (chair)
Nancy Escher
Elizabeth Fitzgibbon
Jodie Goodnough
James Mitchell
Board of Trustees representative
Student Government Association president

The institution has a system of governance that facilitates the accomplishment of its mission and purposes and supports institutional effectiveness and integrity. Through its organizational design and governance structure, the institution creates and sustains an environment that encourages teaching, learning, service, scholarship and, where appropriate, research and creative activity. It demonstrates administrative capacity by assuring provision of support adequate for the appropriate functioning of each organizational component. The institution has sufficient independence from any other entity to be held accountable for meeting the commission’s standards for accreditation.

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Standard 4: The Academic Program

Subcommittee members:
Nancy Schreiber (chair)
Troy Catterson
Khadine Higgins
Bonnie Kennedy
John Quinn
Tobias Stapleton

The institution's academic programs are consistent with and serve to fulfill its mission and purposes. The institution works systematically and effectively to plan, provide, oversee, evaluate, improve and assure the academic quality and integrity of its academic programs and the credits and degrees awarded. The institution sets a standard of student achievement appropriate to the degree or certificate awarded and develops the systematic means to understand how and what students are learning and to use the evidence obtained to improve the academic program.

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Standard 5: Students

Subcommittee members:
Malcolm Smith (chair)
Emily Diomandes
Colleen Emerson
Jennifer Jensen
Paula Martasian
Jody Mooradian
Jim Mournighan

Consistent with its mission, the institution sets and achieves realistic goals to enroll students who are broadly representative of the population the institution wishes to serve. The institution addresses its own goals for the achievement of diversity among its students and provides a safe environment that fosters the intellectual and personal development of its students. It endeavors to ensure the success of its students, offering the resources and services that provide them the opportunity to achieve the goals of their educational program as specified in institutional publications. The institution's interactions with students and prospective students are characterized by integrity.

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Standard 6: Teaching, Learning and Scholarship

Subcommittee members:
Donna Cook (chair)
Steven Rodenborn (chair)
Katie Black
Elaine Mangiante
Susan Meschwitz
Chad Raymond
Lisa Richter

The institution supports teaching and learning through a well-qualified faculty and academic staff, who, in structures and processes appropriate to the institution, collectively ensure the quality of instruction and support for student learning. Scholarship, research and creative activities receive support appropriate to the institution's mission. The institution's faculty has primary responsibility for advancing the institutions academic purposes through teaching, learning and scholarship.

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Standard 7: Institutional Resources

Subcommittee members:
William Hall (chair)
Claudia Cavallaro
Christine Dumont
Dawn Emsellem
Mike Grandchamp
Katherine Horoschak
Eric Milner

The institution has sufficient human, financial, information, physical and technological resources and capacity to support its mission. Through periodic evaluation, the institution demonstrates that its resources are sufficient to sustain the quality of its educational program and to support institutional improvement now and in the foreseeable future. The institution demonstrates, through verifiable internal and external evidence, its financial capacity to graduate its entering class. The institution administers its resources in an ethical manner and assures effective systems of enterprise risk management, regulatory compliance, internal controls and contingency management.

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Standard 8: Educational Effectiveness

Subcommittee members:
Jim Fowler (chair)
Annemarie Bartlett
Tiffany McClanaghan
Sami Nassim
Tim Neary
Sue Pratt
Michael Wisnewski

The institution demonstrates its effectiveness by ensuring satisfactory levels of student achievement on mission-appropriate student outcomes. Based on verifiable information, the institution understands what its students have gained as a result of their education and has useful evidence about the success of its recent graduates. This information is used for planning and improvement, resource allocation, and to inform the public about the institution. Student achievement is at a level appropriate for the degree awarded.

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Standard 9: Integrity, Transparency and Public Disclosure

Subcommittee members:
Michael Semenza (chair)
Peter Colosi
Kristine Hendrickson
Anne McDermott
Amanda Self
Stephen Stracensky

The institution subscribes to and advocates high ethical standards in the management of its affairs and in its dealings with students, prospective students, faculty, staff, its governing board, external agencies and organizations, and the general public. Through its policies and practices, the institution endeavors to exemplify the values it articulates in its mission and related statements. In presenting the institution to students, prospective students and other members of the public, the institutional website provides information that is complete, accurate, timely, readily accessible, clear and sufficient for intended audiences to make informed decisions about the institution.

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Core Team

Dr. Nancy Schreiber, chair, provost and vice president for academic affairs
Annemarie Bartlett, director of institutional research and effectiveness
Dr. Donna Cook, associate provost
Mary Edwards, director of constituent communications and design
Dr. Steven Rodenborn, dean of undergraduate studies 
Dr. Tobias Stapleton, dean of graduate studies and continuing education