Union is nearing the end of an extensive process of self-examination that will culminate in the submission of its Periodic Review Report (PRR) to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education in May. The report, which took over a year to draft, considers recommendations made after Union’s 2010 self-study, the achievements of the last five years and opportunities and challenges that face the College in the next five. It also assesses Union’s financial health, including planning and budgeting processes, and evaluates performance toward 2013 Strategic Plan goals.
“Periodic reviews are an important part of working towards reaccreditation reviews, which take place at ten-year intervals,” said Therese A. McCarty, the Stephen J. and Diane K. Ciesinski Dean of the Faculty and vice president for academic affairs. “The whole reaccreditation process, including periodic reviews, offers us an opportunity to demonstrate to ourselves and to the higher education community that we continue to fulfill our educational mission. And as the report clearly shows, we are most assuredly doing that.”
The process began with the establishment of a committee that was charged with gathering material and preparing the PRR. Drawn from across the Union community, the 18-person committee includes faculty from all academic divisions of the College and administrators from all responsibility centers.
“The PRR is, in essence, a stock taking,” said Stephen Schmidt, professor of economics and director of assessment. “We are five years out from our last major self-study and two years into the new strategic plan. The PRR lets us look at where we've been, where we are, where we're going and what lies ahead. It helps us build on the momentum we already have from the strategic plan and carries us forward until the start of the self-study for the 2020 accreditation. And it keeps us in good standing with Middle States.”
According to Schmidt, the PRR also helps connect the College’s successes in assessment more directly to the planning and budgeting process and the way Union chooses to use its resources.
“The process encouraged us to develop some new management tools,” said Schmidt. “An example is the strategic plan assessment report, which presents an opportunity to improve the processes we use and help us operate ever more efficiently.”
Five writing teams, drawn from the 18-person steering committee, were tasked with drafting sections of the report, which is now available for review on the Union Nexus site in the Strategic Plan course.
“As we head toward the final stages of the self-study phase, I want to thank the Union community for their support and assistance.” said McCarty. “Every department and office on campus is now engaged in regular assessment, which is critical to a successful review. I also wish to acknowledge the hard work of the committee, whose members have made a huge commitment of time and talent to this project.”
A campus conversation will be held during Common Hour on Tuesday, Feb. 24, in Olin auditorium to further review and discuss the PRR. Soup will be available in Olin atrium at 12:30 p.m. The discussion will be led by the co-chairs of the PRR committee, Therese McCarty and Stephen Schmidt. Feedback can also be sent to the co-chairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
The deadline to submit feedback is Mar. 15. A final revision of the report will be completed by Apr. 15 and submitted to Middle States in May.
PRR Committee members: