Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Every 10 years, Swarthmore, like many other universities, must be re-evaluated through the Middle States Accreditation process. The procedure is standard, and there is certainly no fear that Swarthmore wonÃ¢€™t be accredited, but there are always certain criteria the College must be working towards or improving upon.
Professor Ellen Maggenheim of the Economics Department is a member of Swarthmore’s Middle States Steering Committee. She describes the process as “a periodic review or progress report for the College.” As part of that process, a team of external evaluators from other similar institutions will visit campus this spring and ultimately issue an evaluation report to which the College responds. A decision on accreditation is then reached.
Maggenheim explained that “there are 14 established standards of higher education that Swarthmore must meet.” These requirements include (but aren’t limited to) effectively allocating resources, clearly stating and working towards set missions and goals, and providing reasonable student support services.
This year, the Steering Committee has attempted to incorporate a self-study into the College’s more long-term planning processes, such as the 2020 Project. Maggenheim says that the College has independently decided to undertake this self-study to facilitate the reaccreditation process. The self-study is set to be completed by the end of the fall semester.
Maggenheim encourages students, faculty and staff to share ideas, express opinions or give feedback. She said, “There’s always a lot of involvement from different groups in terms of planning and self-study, and as the process winds on, there will continue to be opportunities for students and staff to meet with the visiting team as well as the various Swarthmore committees involved.”
For more information on the accreditation process, visit www.swarthmore.edu/middlestates/.