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  • Gabrielle Hendricks

Middle States Reaccreditation

Gabrielle Hendricks

Last month, Mount St. Mary’s University submitted its Self-Study Report to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for reaccreditation. The making of this report took two years, and numerous hardworking staff and faculty were involved in the process that ensures students receive a high-quality education.

The Self-Study was launched in 2022 by President Timothy Trainor. The Self-Study report is what makes reaccreditation possible. It is a 100-page document backed up by about 150 evidence documents that is reviewed by the Middle States Evaluation Team. The Team makes a recommendation to the Middle State Commission who will approve or deny the reaccrediting of the University and many others this June.

Integral members of the Mount community who worked on the University’s Reaccreditation Self-Study were Executive Director of Strategic Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Dr. Jeffrey Simmons, Professor of Spanish Literature and Culture and Director of Office of Competitive Fellowships Dr. Christine Blackshaw and Provost Dr. Boyd Creasman. Simmons and Blackshaw in particular were co-chairs of the Steering Committee for the Self-Study. 

Simmons has lots of experience when it comes to university self-studies and reaccreditation. He was involved in the Mount’s 2015 reaccreditation just as a working group member. He has also worked on the other side as a Middle States’ evaluation team member for three other universities. 

Simmons said this year’s report is to “get an in depth and thorough look at what the university has accomplished in the past 8 years. It is really useful for us and shows how much we have been able to accomplish.” He added that the information will be helpful in creating the University’s new strategic plan, as the previous one will expire this year. 

Simmons cited his main struggle with the self-study as “trying to say everything we (the team) wanted to say within the page limits, much like a student paper.” The document’s draft was 150 pages, which had to be cut down to 100. 

Blackshaw saw limiting the document as a struggle too but said the support from her colleagues made the work easier. She stated, “Honestly, I worked with some of the best people on campus, which made the challenges minimal. Perhaps the biggest challenge involved logistics, finding a meeting time that would work for such a large group of people and establishing a drafting and revision process. Editing the final document was also a challenge, but since there were three of us that made it easier.” 


The team’s hard work seems to be coming to fruition. The Middle States committee had favorable things to say. Simmons noted, “They (the committee) are very impressed with the commitment and dedication of the faculty to student success.” 

Simmons said this favorable comment is attributed to the Mount faculty regularly going out of their way, going the extra mile and being really passionate about student success.” 

Blackshaw thinks the University will be accredited because of its strive and initiative in creating new academic programs and being more inclusive with its courses. She also cites the Mount’s adaptability to Covid as a reason for the committee favoring a reaccreditation.

She said, “The Mount is incredibly resilient and adaptive. We survived and thrived during the Covid Pandemic, a potentially destabilizing event. We owe a lot of that to Faculty development through the CIDD not only enabled a rapid transition to remote modality in spring 2020 but continues to spur the more effective and widespread use of educational technology by faculty.” 

All is looking well when it comes to the University reaccreditation from Middle States. It will help verification that the Mount is performing well, shows that the Mount is a quality institution and will be a valuable resource for incoming president Dr. Gerard Joyce as he develops the next Strategic Plan. 



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