Middle States to visit soon, final result expected in June

Allegheny College’s one and a half year reaccreditation process is nearing completion with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s final report expected before the next academic year.
The college’s bid for reaccreditation started in June 2021, before fall 2021. The process will officially conclude around June 2023, with the release of the Middle States report. Past reporting on the reaccreditation process is available on the Campus’ website.
On Thursday, Feb. 2, the steering committee — the group of administrators, faculty members, staff members and students leading the process — released the final self-study report to the campus community via email. The final report has come after a working draft of the self-study report was released last semester. Feedback from the college community was welcomed via an online survey.
The working draft and feedback form were made available through an email sent by the steering committee on Oct. 5, 2022.
Community feedback was considered and incorporated into the self-study draft before the first external committee visit by Middle States’ representatives in November 2022, according to Co-Chair of the Steering Committee Associate Provost Jennifer Dearden.
“Unfortunately, there wasn’t much engagement with the survey form,” Dearden said. “However, many people wanted to hear more about the people that make Allegheny what it is in the report. Other feedback was mostly about formatting, structure and fact-checking the information we had included in the report.”
President of St. Elizabeth University Gary B. Crosby is the chair of Allegheny’s reaccreditation external committee and conducted his initial visit to the college in early November 2022.
Crosby’s impression of the campus was positive, according to Co-Chair of the Steering Committee and Professor of History and Global Health Studies Kenneth Pinnow.
“(Crosby) visited for a day and a half and got to speak with a number of students and other community members,” Pinnow said. “He seemed very pleased with the way things were going.”
Crosby identified that the senior comprehensive project was distinctive to the college and that the students he spoke to seemed very passionate and proud of their work, according to Pinnow.
“In our final report, after taking the feedback from community members and Dr. Crosby, we have tried to highlight the comp,” Pinnow said. “We want to make the report as comprehensible as possible.”
Crosby was also impressed by the diversity of perspectives represented in the self-study report. Pinnow associates this with the working groups that worked on individual chapters within the self-study report.
According to the Allegheny College Middle States website, four groups, which included overseeing faculty and administration members along with students, were implemented to focus on four of the five chapters in the self-study report.
The report itself contains an introductory chapter written by Dearden and Pinnow, along with the four aforementioned chapters that are predominantly written by the working groups, but include an executive summary by Dearden and Pinnow.
“Originally, we wanted to complete the report (earlier) and then host an open community session by the end of the week,” Dearden said. “The report must be completed so that the external committee has at least a month to sit with it before their final visit.”
As opposed to Crosby’s solo visit last semester, an external committee of five members — including Crosby — will visit Allegheny toward the end of March 2023.
“The external committee will be here for up to two and a half days at the end of March,” Dearden said. “We haven’t worked out the visit’s itinerary quite yet, but I presume the visit is to take place between March 25 and 27.”
Dearden said that the external committee will present an oral report to the campus community as their last activity.
“During their visit, the external committee will observe the various aspects of campus life and compile their own notes,” Dearden said. “They will deliver an oral report to the college which they will later write extensively and send to Middle States.”
Upon the completion of the external committee’s visit, the steering committee will have an opportunity to respond to the oral report.
“It is true that we won’t have a lot of time to consider a response to the oral report,” Dearden said. “However, if we choose to write one, it will be included in all of our files that will be presented to Middle States.”
Dearden and Pinnow said that the steering committee will inform the campus community of the external committee’s visit in March so that everyone can expect visitors.
“Although we aren’t looking for anyone to act differently when the external committee visits, we just think it’s important for people to know that we will be having visitors so that any confusion can be avoided,” Pinnow said.
Allegheny obtained its previous reaccreditation in 2013. In the past, reaccreditation has been required every 10 years, though this has recently changed.
“Middle States now requires the reaccreditation process every eight years (as) opposed to 10,” Dearden said.
Pinnow said that since the next reaccreditation date will be 2031, the process is likely to begin again in the summer of 2029.