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Middle States Accreditation Process

Parrish Hall

Department Overview

Accreditation is a process by which U.S. institutions of higher education undergo peer review to assess and certify that the institution meets standards of quality, and is eligible to receive federal funds (e.g. through student aid or grants). Swarthmore College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (267) 284-5000.   In order to maintain accreditation, institutions provide routine evaluations in the forms of annual reports, decennial self-studies, and interim (between self-studies) periodic review reports.  The latter two involve evaluation by external reviewers.

Swarthmore has begun work on its 2019 decennial self-study.  This work involves our entire community, with a number of working groups and multiple opportunities for community input and feedback during the process.  The work will culminate with a Self-Study report and a visit by a team of peer evaluators in spring of 2019.   Carol Nackenoff, Richter Professor of Political Science, and Robin Huntington Shores, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, are co-chairs of the Steering Committee, which will guide the College through this process.  Please contact Carol and Robin (cnacken1, rshores1) with any questions.

Update April 2018:

Our process remains on schedule.  The eight Working Groups have completed their work and the Steering Committee is now reviewing their individual reports to identify the content for our Self-Study, which will be drafted over the summer.  They have agreed on the recommendations that will be included in the Self-Study.  The Committee is also working to consolidate the many excellent suggestions that emerged through the Working Groups' analyses and direct them to the appropriate office or committee for attention.  The draft Self-Study will be shared with the community for input in late summer.


Update October 2018:

A draft of the Self-Study has been shared with our internal community.  Discussions have been scheduled with faculty (Oct. 1), staff (Oct .3), and students (Oct. 7).  If you are not able to attend a discussion and have some feedback about the document, please contact Carol and Robin (cnacken1, rshores1).  

Team Visit - March 24 - 27, 2019

From Sunday, March 24 through noon Wednesday, March 27 the College will host a team of 6-8 external peer evaluators, volunteers from the academic community who have been trained by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, our regional accrediting agency.  They will arrive on campus having carefully reviewed our Self-Study and the documents we provided to demonstrate the College's meeting the Commission's Standards of Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation.  They will interview students, faculty, and staff in order to evaluate the conclusions we've drawn in the Self-Study and to address any questions they may have about the College.  Their goal is to provide a careful assessment of the College within the framework of the Commission's Standards and Requirements and within the context of the College's mission and goals.

In addition to a few open meeting opportunities, a number of members of the campus community, based on their roles working on particular committees, departments, or initiatives, will be asked to participate in scheduled meetings with the review team on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday during work hours.  Minimizing the number of speakers, events, or field trips from 9-5 during those days would be helpful until we have established the site visit schedule.


Click here for a pdf of the presentation shared at the March 24, 2017 faculty meeting about preparations for our Self-Study.