Accreditation is a form of peer review for higher education institutions. It is an important means of ensuring and signaling to the public an institution’s academic quality, organizational effectiveness, and sustainability. There are six regional nongovernmental associations in the United States that accredit colleges and universities. Houghton is located within the purview of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).
The Middle States Commission is the unit of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools that accredits 524 degree-granting colleges and universities in the Middle States region, which includes Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and several locations internationally.
The Commission is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations, and resources. It examines each institution as a whole, rather than specific programs within institutions.
Houghton College has been accredited since 1935 and seeks reaffirmation of its regional accreditation every 10 years through a substantial self study, with a five year “periodic review report” due midway in the period. Houghton’s last comprehensive self study, with visiting peer reviewers, was completed in spring 2005. Our most recent PRR led to reaffirmed accreditation without stipulations in 2010.
In addition to regional accreditation, Houghton’s Greatbatch School of Music is a member of the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and in compliance with the published regulations of NASM. The Education Department is a member of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council.
Houghton College’s Statement of Accreditation Status (SAS) The published summary of the college’s current status and recent history of accreditation activity with the MSCHE. Required to be updated each April through its Institutional Profile report.
Accreditation Liaison Officer Policy Every institution has a designated ALO with specific responsibilities. Houghton’s current ALO is John Wise.
Below are links with additional information, largely excerpted from the Middle States Commission website:
Middle States Commission’s Mission, Vision, Core Values, Strategic Plan, and Governance The MSCHE’s statement provides the first three areas and with links to the latter two areas.
History of Accreditation and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Produced in observance of MSCHE’s 90th anniversary in 2009, this booklet traces the origins of accreditation in the U.S. and the nine decades of service by the Commission.
Characteristics of Excellence The 14 standards for MCHE accreditation are set forth here. It describes procedural requirements for institutions and for the Commission. Guidelines are based on best practices and provide advice to members for implementing the accreditation standards.
Governing Boards: Understanding the Expectations of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education This booklet describes the responsibilities of governing boards, the importance of board autonomy, the board’s role in institutional governance, what the Commission and its representatives might look for in governing board documentation.
Assessing Student Learning and Institutional Effectiveness: Understanding Middle States Expectations This brochure clarifies Middle States’ expectations regarding Standard 7: Institutional Assessment and Standard 14: Assessment of Student Learning in Characteristics of Excellence