Middle States Commission on Higher Education
GW is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). Its accreditation was reaffirmed in 2018. The next evaluation visit is scheduled for 2026-2027. Only accredited colleges, universities, and professional programs are eligible to receive Title IV [federal financial aid funding] for their students.
Accreditation is an expression of confidence that the institution meets and is in compliance with MSCHE's seven Standards of Excellence and Requirement of Affiliation. According to Middle States, “accredited institutions are expected to demonstrate compliance with these standards and requirements, to conduct their activities in a manner consistent with the standards and requirements, and to engage in ongoing processes of self-review and improvement.” It is through the self-study, required every eight years, that an institution demonstrates its compliance with the standards. Descriptions of the seven standards and the criteria used for each standard can be found on the MSCHE website.
Institutional assessment, included in all standards, and assessment of student learning (Standard V) are two of the main principles that guided the development of these Standards. Standard V relates to Educational Effectiveness Assessment. It states that an accredited institution is expected to demonstrate that its, “students have accomplished education goals consistent with their program of study, degree level, the institution’s mission, and appropriate expectations for institutions of higher education.” The criteria for this Standard include the following attributes or activities:
- Clearly stated educational goals at the institution and degree/program levels;
- Organized and systematic assessments, conducted by faculty and / or appropriate professionals;
- Consideration and use of assessment results for the improvement of educational effectiveness; and
- Periodic assessment of the effectiveness of assessment processes.
The university has developed processes and procedures for assessing programs and courses, which can be found on the Assessment Process page of the website. It is expected that all programs complete an annual assessment of at least one of its program goals, and that every seven years the program undergoes a self-study as part of its Academic Program Review. Those programs that undergo accreditation from their respective professional accreditors may be able to substitute their accreditation self-study in lieu of completing an APR. A template for the Annual Program Assessments provides guidance about what to include in the assessment, and Guidelines for Academic Program Reviews (APR) provide information about what to include in the APR. Copies of the annual program assessments and APRs from years past are stored in BOX. To obtain access to these documents, send a request to [email protected].
Assessment efforts are coordinated by the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment, which provides assessment support to faculty, departments, and programs. Each school may have school-specific guidelines for its annual program assessments or APRs.
Accreditation Liaison Officer
The Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) serves as the primary point of contact between MSCHE staff and the institution, and as a resource for GW on accreditation processes and related matters. Cheryl Beil, Senior Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment, serves as GW’s Middle States Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO).