What is the Self-Study?

In order to maintain its accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (the Commission), Philadelphia University engages in an internal review process to assess the extent to which we are meeting the 14 Standards for Accreditation set forth in the Commission’s Characteristics of Excellence for Higher Education. Every ten years, this internal review results in a written Self-Study that is submitted to the Commission. 

Our process of self-study began in the spring of 2004 with the appointment of a Steering Committee to oversee the self-study process. Membership on the Steering Committee includes administrators, faculty and an undergraduate student.

The Steering Committee developed a plan for the Self-Study and submitted it to the Commission for its approval in July 2004. The plan for the Self-Study included the following goals:

  • Conduct a comprehensive assessment of the degree to which Philadelphia University is fulfilling its mission.
  • Engage multiple constituencies in the self-study process.
  • Prepare a written analysis that summarizes the degree to which Philadelphia University is meeting the fourteen standards outlined by the Commission on Higher Education document, Characteristics of Excellence in Higher Education.
  • Make recommendations to improve institutional effectiveness.
  • Strengthen institutional planning and improve processes for assessing institutional effectiveness
  • To conduct the assessment and analysis processes, the Steering Committee created seven working groups, each of which was assigned one or more standards for accreditation to review. Steering Committee members also served on one of the working groups. Over 80 people participated in the working groups.

    During the 2004-2005 academic year, the seven working groups collected data and began to draft reports of their findings. The Steering Committee reviewed these reports through the fall of 2005 and developed a draft Self-Study document. This document, still in draft form, is currently being reviewed and discussed across campus. The final Self-Study will be submitted to the Commission and to a peer review team on March 1, 2006. 

    The team visit

    An evaluation team of eight peer reviewers from other colleges and universities, assembled by the Commission’s staff, will visit Philadelphia University from April 23 to 26, 2006 to determine how well are meeting the Standards for Accreditation. The team will meet with students, faculty, staff and administrators, review materials not included in the Self-Study and tour campus facilities. In the morning of April 26, 2006, the team will present an Oral Report of its findings in a forum open to the campus community. 

    After the team visit

    Following the visit, the team chair will submit a report of its findings to the Commission. Philadelphia University will be invited to review the report and submit a written response. In June 2006, the Commission will review the Self-Study, the team report, and the University response to the report and will make a determination on accreditation. This determination includes one of the following actions: reaffirmation of accreditation, a requirement for follow-up activities, an order to show cause why accreditation should not be removed or the removal of accreditation.