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The GW Hatchet

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Officials begin reaccreditation process

Jillian DiPersio | Hatchet Photographer
Jillian DiPersio | Hatchet Photographer

Officials have started the long process of making sure GW is in line with national standards.

Interim Provost Forrest Maltzman, who oversaw the process in 2008, said last week that he has appointed two people to help prepare the University for reaccreditation in 2018. Forming the committee is the first step in the two yearslong process for GW to become reaccredited.

Cheryl Beil, the associate provost for academic planning and assessment, and Paul Duff, a religion professor, will chair a steering committee to oversee the reaccreditation process and said they are already making preparations for 2018. Maltzman said Beil and Duff will write an overview of the University to present to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, GW’s accrediting body.

“The way these accreditation things work is they have various standards, and you have to demonstrate compliance with each of the standards that they have,” Maltzman said.

Officials must present a “self-study” to the accrediting organization, which outlines how GW complies with the eight Middle States’ accreditation standards – like having well-defined goals for learning and being organized and staffed appropriately. Maltzman said the steering committee is creating subcommittees to address each of the standards.

“The hope is to have, by the summer, these sort of established and up and running,” Maltzman said. “And next year they will each write their self-study of their standard, and then we’re good to go.”

Accreditation is a voluntary peer-review process that regulates educational institutions, requiring them to disclose information like admission requirements, cost and likely post-graduation salaries, according to Middle States’ website.

Duff and Beil began conversations about accreditation in the fall semester. They also attended an institute in November where Middle States representatives explained the accreditation process to schools whose self-studies are due in 2018.

“Representatives from all of the GW schools will be involved, including students, faculty and staff,” Duff said. “We are just getting under way.”

He said a representative from Middle States will visit GW during the first week of May to meet with the accreditation steering committee, University President Steven Knapp and Maltzman to give feedback on the self-study design. Subcommittees will begin their work in the fall once they’ve heard from the Middle States representative.

Beil said in an email that the Middle States representative will also meet with students, faculty and administrators, in addition to Knapp, Maltzman and the steering committee on May 4.

Richard Pokrass, a representative for Middle States, said in an email that an evaluation team from the organization will likely visit GW during spring 2018 to verify information the University provides in its self-study by reviewing documents and conducting interviews, but that no specific dates have been scheduled.

“If the University is found to be in compliance with all of the Commission’s accreditation standards and requirements of affiliation, its accreditation will be reaffirmed at that time,” Pokrass said.

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