Middle States Self-Study

Middle States Self-Study Review Visit

By Mary Beth Hanner, Provost and Chief Academic Officer


The Middle States reaccreditation site visit occurred on March 25 to 28, 2012. I am delighted to tell you that we are reaccredited until 2022! The report from the visiting team included 2 recommendations that we will need to address. They deal with the need to reduce the course loads of some of our full-time faculty program directors. The other recommendation was that the College review new capstone course data to ensure direct measures of student learning outcomes across all programs and to inform continuous improvement. I am pleased to tell you that both of these recommendations were listed in our own Self-Study as areas that we recognized as needing improvement. There were also 13 suggestions for improvement that are simply collegial suggestions that do not need to be acted upon unless we wish to do so. However, we will take all of our own suggestions for improvement, as well as the Middle States recommendations and suggestions, and examine every one to see how we can become better at serving our students.

Now for the really good news: I want to share some comments the visitors made about the College and, most especially, our faculty. The large conference room in which the report was presented was absolutely packed and when the report was read, the pride in the room was palpable.

  • "The faculty are prepared and qualified. Overall quality ratings of instructional faculty are consistently above 5.5 on 7 point scales and typically at or above benchmarks."
  • "Faculty are commended by students for the discipline-specific professional experiences they apply to instruction."
  • "Stringent procedures for online course development, implementation, and evaluation ensure consistency in courses, currency, and rigor."
  • "Enthusiastic instructional faculty members are committed to the College's mission of adult education and options for lifelong learning."

The team's summary was one of the best descriptions I have ever heard of this institution:

We have all been extremely impressed by what we have seen at Excelsior College. We applaud the pride that you show in your institution. You have created a culture here which is rare. You have a college which has an open access admissions policy, charges a low tuition, provides students with a high quality education, and operates with strong financials. You have a very dedicated faculty, administration, and staff, academically challenging programs, and satisfied students who truly feel that everyone at the college cares about them.
You have outstanding leadership from the board and the president. We commend you on the outstanding institution that you have fostered. We have all come to see that it is truly a special place. We congratulate you on 40 years of success.

Thanks to all of you – our students, faculty, and staff – for your critical contributions to this institution and for helping to shape the Middle States visitors view of our college. We do have a culture at Excelsior which is a "rare" one, and you all contribute to our wonderful academic community.