About Middle States

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Pennsylvania College of Technology is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). MSCHE, a voluntary non-governmental organization, is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. As the MSCHE explains: “The accrediting process is intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of higher education, making it worthy of public confidence and minimizing the scope of external control.” Penn College’s accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education serves as a stamp of approval that does a number of things:

  • demonstrates the College maintains academic rigor in their courses and programs;
  • reflects the institution’s commitment to “quality in higher education and its commitment to striving for and achieving excellence;"
  • enables students and employees of the College, alumni and donors, community members and employers to have confidence that the institution uses its resources wisely and fulfills its mission;
  • satisfies essential governmental criteria for students’ ability to receive financial aid;
  • builds students’ confidence in the quality and the value of their education;
  • serves as the foundation for the academic schools’ applications for program accreditation;
  • attests to the fiscal soundness of the institution relative to federal and state government; and
  • bolsters the College’s ability to compete with other colleges and universities for quality students and employees.

Self-Study Process

Accreditation with MSCHE is incumbent upon the College’s demonstrated compliance with the Commissions’ Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation within the context of our institutional mission and goals. The College must also demonstrate that it meets federal requirements through a Verification of Compliance process. The MSCHE‘s eight-year cycle of review involves an extensive self-study and on-site evaluation by a team of external peer evaluators. The self-study requires the College to comprehensively assess its programs, services, and operations. The review results in a final report documenting the institution’s strengths as well recommendations for improvement and opportunities for innovation.

To conduct the self-study, eight work groups, chaired by individuals who represent a cross-section of the institution, will identify and report evidence of the College’s ability to satisfy the following standards and requirements:

  • Standard 1: Mission and Goals
  • Standard 2: Ethics and Integrity
  • Standard 3: Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience
  • Standard 4: Support of the Student Experience
  • Standard 5: Educational Effectiveness Assessment
  • Standard 6: Planning, Resources and Institutional Improvement
  • Standard 7: Governance, Leadership and Administration
  • Verification of Compliance

Steering Committee

Following Penn College tradition, a Self-Study Steering Committee will be led by two co-chairs, one individual from the full-time faculty, and one individual from the staff/administration. Steering Committee members representing administration, faculty, and staff reflect the expertise of recognized leaders throughout the institution. Members of the Steering Committee have been assigned to lead each of eight work groups: seven aligned to the standards and an additional work group focused on compliance. The work groups are chaired by two Steering Committee members, apart from the Compliance Work Group which has a single chair.

  • Ms. Mary Jo Saxe, Co-chair & Faculty, School of Nursing & Health Sciences 
  • Ms. Tracey Amey, Co-chair & Director of Madigan Library 
  • Mr. Elliott Strickland, Vice President for Student Affairs (Standard I) 
  • Ms. Loni Kline, Vice President for College Relations (Standard I) 
  • Dr. Wendy Miller, Assistant Dean, School of Nursing & Health Sciences (Standard II) 
  • Ms. Heather Shuey, Director of Development & Compliance (Standard II) 
  • Ms. Georgia Laudenslager, Library Faculty, Madigan Library (Standard III) 
  • Ms. Kathleen McNaul, Director of Academic Success Center (Standard III) 
  • Ms. Joanna Flynn, Dean of Curriculum & Instruction and ALO (Standard IV) 
  • Dr. Randy Zangara, Dean of College Transitions & First Year Initiatives (Standard IV) 
  • Dr. Sue Kelley, Dean, School of Business, Arts & Sciences (Standard V) 
  • Dr. Carolyn Strickland, Vice President for Enrollment Management & Associate Provost (Standard V) 
  • Mr. Anthony Pace, Dean of Academic Operations (Standard VI) 
  • Ms. Karen Stugart, Director of Financial Operations & Budgeting (Standard VI) 
  • Ms. Hillary Hofstrom, Vice President for Human Resources (Standard VII) 
  • Dr. Brian Schurr, Counselor (Standard VII) 
  • Dr. Brian Cygan, Director of Assessment, Research & Planning (Verification of Compliance) 

Timetable for Self-Study

Date(s) Activity/Task
Fall 2019
  • Identify co-chairs 
  • Assemble Steering Committee 
  • Assemble Work Groups 
October 2019
  • Self-Study Institute for co-chairs and ALO
December 2019
  • Draft Self-Study Design (SSD) 
  • Initial Meeting with Steering Committee – overview of process, institutional priorities, resources, and Microsoft Teams 
  • Self-study co-chairs attend Board of Directors meeting – introduce MSCHE Self-Study Design, accreditation process and Board’s role in process 
January 2020
  • President’s Announcement at All-College meeting – kick-off self-study and institutional priorities 
  • Call with Commission Staff Liaison, Dr. Idna Corbett 
  • Steering Committee Meeting – Institutional priorities focus 
February 2020
  • All-College survey – Institutional Priorities 
January-March 2020
  • Self-Study Design draft complete
  • Steering committee & work group charges assigned
April 2020
  • Submit Self-Study Design by April 14 (2 weeks prior to SSPV)
  • Commission Staff Liaison SSPV virtual meeting Dr. Idna Corbett, April 28
April-May 2020
  • Initial work group meetings – orientation, overview of process, resources, and charges
  • Finalize work group membership from the Board of Directors
June-September 2020
  • Revisions and acceptance of SSD
  • Work groups review resources/standards/etc.
September-December 2020
  • Commission Staff Liaison SSPV virtual campus visit, Dr. Idna Corbett, mid-October
  • Finalize student work group membership
  • Work groups gather evidence, analyze data, and write narratives
  • Outline due October 1
  • Gap Briefing by November 11
January-May 2021
  • Work group chapter 1st draft by January 29
  • Work group chapter 2nd draft due by April 2
  • Self-Study Evaluation Team Chair chosen
  • Visit dates chosen
  • Accepted SSD sent to Chair
May-August 2021
  • Work group final chapters due by June 1
  • Edit & prepare Self-Study Report for campus review
September-October 2021
  • Self-Study shared with campus community and Board of Directors
  • Self-study draft sent to Team Chair (2 weeks prior to visit)
November 2021
  • Team Chair Preliminary Visit
December 2021-January 2022
  • Self-Study Report finalized based on Team Chair
  • Feedback shared with campus community
February-March 2022
  • Final Self-Study Report/Verification of Compliance/Evidence Inventory uploaded to MSCHE Portal
February-May 2022
  • Self-Study Evaluation Team Visit
  • Team Report
  • Institutional Response
June/November 2022
  • Commission meets to determine action

Intended Outcomes of the Self-Study

Our specific intended outcomes of the College’s 2022 Self-Study are:

  1. Demonstrate that the institution currently meets MSCHE Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation with a focus on continuous improvement in the attainment of the vision, mission, and goals of Penn College and our campus community.
  2. Engage our campus community as we involve members from across the institution in an inclusive and transparent self-examination.
  3. Identify Penn College’s achievements and opportunities for improvement and innovation that will further enhance the College’s ability to achieve its mission.
  4. Document current assessment practices, identify associated challenges and opportunities, and make recommendations for improvement in the communication and use of institutional assessment results.

MSCHE Information

Pennsylvania College of Technology has been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education since 1970 and was most recently reaffirmed in 2017. The College is currently undergoing the Self-Study process with an evaluation visit scheduled in 2021-2022. Penn College’s official Statement of Accreditation Status is available at the Middle States Commission of Higher Education website.