Hood College was first accredited in 1922 by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that is committed to upholding quality assurance and to improvement through a peer-centered accreditation process. All member institutions must undergo reaccreditation every ten years (as well as a periodic review between each full accreditation) in order to remain in good standing with the federal government and be eligible for student federal aid.
Following the decennial Middle States reaccreditation evaluation team visit of 2007, the College embarked on the Periodic Review process in 2012. The Periodic Review Report from 2012 analyzed the College’s progress toward achieving the recommendations made in 2007. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education accepted the Periodic Review Report, reaffirmed Hood’s accreditation and commended the institution for progress and the quality of the report.
We are now embarking on our 2017 reaccreditation process. Our Self-Study Design has been submitted to and approved by the MSCHE. The 2017 Self-Study Report theme is “Balancing the Liberal Arts with Professional Programs.” You are welcome to learn more about the Self-Study process in general, and Hood College’s in particular, by going through our website. The entire self-study process is guided by Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education, published by the MSCHE.
The purpose of the Self-Study is to demonstrate to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that Hood College meets the standards for reaffirmation of reaccreditation as outlined in Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education. More importantly, the Self-Study provides the Hood community with the opportunity to review all aspects of the institution and to evaluate how well we are meeting our mission, goals, and objectives. This process will help Hood identify its many accomplishments since the last reaccreditation as well as areas in need of improvement.
The academic year of 2015-2016 will be the fourth year in the College’s current five-year strategic plan. The Self-Study process will end with the Commission’s decision regarding reaccreditation in June 2017 (see timeline), which is also the expected completion date of the current strategic plan. Therefore, the reaccreditation process provides a synergistic opportunity to review documentation, analyze data, and engage in campus-wide conversations necessary to develop the goals that should be included in our next five year strategic plan, which will begin in fall 2017 and extend through 2022. That strategic plan will drive the allocation of time, personnel and funding in order to achieve the plan’s objectives.
Since the Self-Study will be the foundation upon which we will build our vision for Hood College’s future, it is imperative that all members of the campus engage fully in this process to insure that the next strategic plan is firmly grounded in our mission, addresses current and anticipated challenges, and reflects the shared consensus of our community.
The 2017 Self-Study’s theme is “Balancing the Liberal Arts with Professional Programs,” a topic of frequent discourse among campus constituents. This important question is one that should be explored by every working group, as it is critical to defining who we are and who we aspire to be. As we ponder this question, I would like to share an excerpt from my convocation speech (Aug. 8, 2015):
Separation of the professional and liberal arts is a false dichotomy… Without the other, the meaning and value of the first is diminished. It is only through the integration of the liberal arts and a student’s chosen major that an optimal education is achieved. … As we look to the future and our continual effort to provide our students with the very best education, the curriculum must embody the Hood College seal, such that it is firmly rooted in the liberal arts, ignites the hearts of our students, engages their intellect and provides them with rich experiential learning opportunities.
I believe that Hood College can become an exemplary model of how a purposeful, coherent and well-integrated curriculum – between the major and the core, between the undergraduate and the graduate offerings, between learning in and outside of the classroom – can provide today’s and tomorrow’s students with an education that will enable them “to excel in meeting the personal, professional and global challenges of the future” and “for lives of responsibility, leadership and service.” (Hood College mission).
Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Ph.D.