Oswego State required re-accreditation process under way

Oswego State is in the midst of the re-accreditations process through Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Every 10 years, each college in the U.S. must be re-accredited by a certified regional, non-government organization, and, for Oswego State, that is Middle States. If the university does not pass the re-accreditation process, it will be placed on probation and could possible lose financial aid from the government, said Julie Pretzat, co-chair for the Steering Committee, the main board for the project.

It is rare for a fully accredited college to lose accreditation, co-chair Elizabeth Dunne Schmitt said. Small private vocational schools, such as massage schools, generally compose the group of schools that lose full accreditation.

Oswego State must complete a self-study and then have an external review by representatives from universities outside of New York State.

Oswego State is required to meet the 14 "Characteristics of Excellence," which are divided into two divisions: institutional context and educational effectiveness. In order to determine if the standards are being met, eight work groups, composed of graduate students, members of Student Association, faculty and administration, were established to work with one or two characteristics, according to Pretzat.

The main purpose of re-accreditation is to give the university a chance to complete a thorough self-evaluation and to find ways to improve. Dunne Schmitt and Pretzat have already found a problem with data storage and communication.

This means collecting rich data that is usable, such as knowing what professors are teaching and what students are learning, Pretzat said.

The Steering Committee is working on the draft report, which is a compilation of the findings from each of the eight work groups. The single draft report should be made available by the end of June.

In Fall 2011, the committee will hold open meetings for community members, administration, faculty and students to hear their concerns about the college, Pretzat said. There will be a visiting team in Spring 2012 of about eight administrations or faculty members from other colleges outside of New York.

"When Middle States come, it’s not like the FBI," Pretzat said. "It’s not like they are looking under rocks. They’re not expecting things to be perfect."

Pretzat and Dunne Schmitt said everything is in good shape, and the investigations are on pace to be completed in a timely manner.