Every ten years, universities and colleges go through a reaccreditation process—and The New School is no exception. In fact, we are in the middle of this multi-year process, which involves a rigorous evaluation of everything from curriculum to culture, faculty to finance. This major undertaking is known by the shorthand “Middle States,” after the voluntary, non-governmental Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Middle States will determine whether we are in compliance with 14 “Characteristics of Excellence,” including educational offerings, student learning assessment, and institutional governance.
One important Middle States expectation resonates with The New School’s own tradition, an expectation of transparency. That’s why our entire learning community is invited to review the self-study and share feedback. Chapter outlines now appear on the website, along with a timeline for campus visits by peer reviewers, and, of course, a button to share your feedback.
Is this important? Certainly. Middle States re-accreditation is what allows us to award New School degrees recognized throughout the world. And it is one step towards a public assurance to students, families, employers, and others that a New School education continues to meet high standards, and that it exists in an institutional environment that supports student learning and academic excellence.
Please keep in mind that at this stage of the process the chapter outlines are just that—outlines. They are not first drafts. Consequently, a considerable amount of substantive content has yet to be added to key sections in the various chapters. As the process unfolds, however, we will be posting a more complete draft of the self study for comment, so stay tuned.
New School adherents and institutional historians of every kind, let us know what you think!