The Ithaca College Middle States Public Review Report is currently under review and is open for comments as it is being prepared by a group of faculty, staff and administrators. The final version will be submitted to Middle States at the end of May.
Middle States is one of six U.S. regional accrediting associations that conducts a self-study of institutions of higher education every 10 years to make sure the institution is running at high quality standards. Ithaca College is currently at the five-year mark in between self-studies, which means the college is required to prepare a Periodic Review Report. This is similar to the in-depth report completed every 10 years, but it is shorter, less comprehensive and addresses only some of the standards in the “Characteristics of Excellence.”
Carol Henderson, assistant provost for accreditation, assessment and curriculum and Middle States liaison, is in charge of collecting data and writing and reviewing the document. She was assisted by a group of people who commented and ensured the document reflects the college accurately. These officials included Robert Cree, associate vice president for business and finance; Karen Edwards, associate professor of health promotion and physical education; Diane Gayeski, dean of the Roy H. Park School of Communications; Martha Gray, director of institutional research; Jason Hamilton, associate professor and chair of environmental studies and science; Doreen Hettich-Atkins, senior assistant to the senior associate vice president; and Danette Johnson, director and professor for educational affairs.
Henderson said the report addresses issues such as finances to make sure the college has enough money to implement everything it says it can do, and faculty qualifications, ensuring that every professor is appropriate for the level and type of institution.
Henderson said the college is not likely to have a problem with meeting its requirements.
“The college is doing very well in meeting the standard of excellence for Middle States, and we’re in a very good position to [maintain our] Middle States accreditation,” she said.
The document is not publicly available, but anyone with an Ithaca College Netpass username and password is able to view it. Henderson said feedback will be accepted until Friday.
During the last Middle States Review in 2008, the college was instructed to address its lack of an assessment program for student learning and a general education system.
Henderson said one of the major policies that has come from a Middle States recommendation is the formation of the Integrative Core Curriculum, a sub-policy of the IC 20/20 plan that will create a universal general education program for all incoming freshmen.
“The thing that is really amazing for us is that, starting with the students who come this fall, all students will have the same general education preparation in their degree program,” Henderson said. “There’s one college-wide structure now, and there used to be all sorts of structures for the different majors.”
In addition to general education courses, the ICC plan requires an additional 12 credits devoted to the standard liberal arts training enforced by New York in order for a student to receive a bachelor’s degree. Henderson said the college is incorporating these 12 credits in a way that helps students.
“The idea is that students use those 12 credits in a way that makes sense for their major,” Henderson said.
Henderson said she is confident the college has prepared a satisfactory report for Middle States with the help and feedback from her committee.
“It’s a very good plan, and I would want to see us make progress [and] continue making progress toward the goals of IC 20/20 before the next 10-year visit happens, [which will follow] the next self study,” Henderson said.
Middle States also recommended that the college expand upon its assessment program to look into student learning outcomes in all the programs. Henderson said this assessment will measure what students should know and will be able to do when they finish their degree program.
Gayeski said she is advising and helping write, edit and review the report. Gayeski said the process is one that required collaboration between members.
“It was a very good collaborative process to ensure that we were representing the college accurately and not forgetting anything,” Gayeski said.