- What is accreditation?Accreditation provides assurance that an institution has been found to meet, and will continue to meet, stated requirements and standards. Accreditation also allows the institution to self-reflect towards continuous improvement.Accreditation is the process whereby an outside organization certifies a college or university as meeting certain requirements of excellence. Accreditation is an important “stamp of approval.” Accredited colleges and universities have proven to their peers that they are deeply committed to educational quality and improvement.
- What is the purpose of accreditation?Only accredited institutions are eligible to receive federal funds for higher education, including student financial aid and research funds. Accreditation also ensures students the ability to transfer credits between accredited schools, and some graduate schools only accept students with degrees from accredited schools.
- Why is attending an accredited college or university important?There are many good reasons to attend an accredited institution. Here are a few of them:
- Quality education: accredited colleges and universities deliver high quality educational programs
- Financial aid: accredited schools receive federal student financial aid dollars
- Transfer: most schools will only accept transfer credits from an accredited school
- Graduate school: most graduate programs will only accept students with degrees from accredited schools
- How long has Western Connecticut State University been accredited and when did Western last undergo accreditation?The university first received accreditation in 1954. It last received re-accreditation by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC) in 2003.
- What is the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. (NEASC)?
The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) is the regional accreditation agency for colleges and universities in the six New England states: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
The Commission consists of faculty and administrators from affiliated institutions and public members. It is served by a paid staff.
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.
- Who accredits Western Connecticut State University?Western is accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) by demonstrating that we meet the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation and comply with its policies.
- When is the NEASC site visit?The site visit will occur September 29-October 2, 2013.
- What happens during the site visit?During this visit, a team of peer evaluators– all of whom are affiliated with an accredited college or university – will interview students, faculty, and staff; read and review documents and data; and tour the campus. The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) maintains a database of more than 1,500 experienced senior educators, from all types of accredited colleges and universities, who have volunteered for this important task. They are carefully selected and trained to evaluate institutions according to the Standards for Accreditation. The purpose of the visit is to validate the evidence and examples contained in the written Self-Study report and to make recommendations to NEASC concerning continued accreditation.
- When does Western submit its official Self-Study report?The report will be submitted to NEASC in August 2013.
- What are the NEASC Standards for Accreditation?The Standards for Accreditation are organized under eleven major headings:
- Standard One: Mission and Purposes
- Standard Two: Planning and Evaluation
- Standard Three: Organization and Governance
- Standard Four: The Academic Program
- Standard Five: Faculty
- Standard Six: Students
- Standard Seven: Library and Other Information Resources
- Standard Eight: Physical and Technological Resources
- Standard Nine: Financial Resources
- Standard Ten: Public Disclosure
- Standard Eleven: Integrity
- I know that Western is undergoing a Self-Study as part of the accreditation process. What does this Self-Study involve?The Self-Study is a process during which faculty, staff, and administrators take a very close look at the entire university, documenting its strengths and its challenges in a written report. Before the writing begins, Self-Study team members attend campus meetings, interview people, collect research and data, and review important documents. The Self-Study is a unique opportunity for the university to take stock of itself – celebrating its successes and discovering areas for continued improvement.
- Does this Self-Study affect the entire university?
Yes! All aspects of the university are represented in the Self-Study. Although different schools, programs, and departments may have their own accreditation cycles, this accreditation process is for the ENTIRE Western Connecticut State University.
- When will Western be notified of the results of the accreditation review by NEASC? The Visiting Team will make recommendations to the Commission. We will expect the final report from the Commission within 4-6 months after the site visit on September 29-October 2, 2013.