As well as other eligibility requirements, there are 14 standards for accreditation that Cornell must meet to be reaccredited at the university level. These standards have been developed by our regional accrediting body, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Middle States accreditation is an expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, its performance, and its resources. Accreditation attests the judgment of the Commission on Higher Education that an institution has met the following criteria:
- that it has a mission appropriate to higher education;
- that it is guided by well-defined and appropriate goals;
- that it has established conditions and procedures under which its goals can be realized;
- that it is accomplishing it goals substantially;
- that it is so organized, staffed, and supported that it can be expected to continue to accomplish its goals; and
- that it meets the standards of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Compliance with each of the 14 standards and with the standards as a whole requires interpretation by evaluators. Each standard should be interpreted and applied in the context of the institution’s mission and purposes. Evaluators must consider the totality that is created by the fundamental elements within an organization as well as any other relevant institutional information or analysis.
- Standard 1: Mission, Goals, and Objectives
- Standard 2: Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal
- Standard 3: Institutional Resources
- Standard 4: Leadership and Governance
- Standard 5: Administration
- Standard 6: Integrity
- Standard 7: Institutional Assessment
- Standard 8: Student Admissions
- Standard 9: Student Support Services
- Standard 10: Faculty
- Standard 11: Educational Offerings
- Standard 12: General Education
- Standard 13: Related Educational Activities
- Standard 14: Assessment of Student Learning
The institution’s mission clearly defines its purpose within the context of higher education and explains whom the institution serves and what it intends to accomplish. The institution’s stated goals and objectives, consistent with the aspirations and expectations of higher education, clearly specify how the institution will fulfill its mission. The mission, goals, and objectives are developed and recognized by the institution with its members and its governing body and are utilized to develop and shape its programs and practices and to evaluate its effectiveness.
An institution conducts ongoing planning and resource allocation based on its mission and uses the results of its assessment activities for institutional renewal. Implementation and subsequent evaluation of the success of the strategic plan and resource allocation support the development and change necessary to improve and to maintain institutional quality.
Institutional resources include the human, financial, technical, physical facilities, and other resources necessary to achieve an institution’s mission and goals are available and accessible. In the context of the institution’s mission, the effective and efficient uses of the institution’s resources are analyzed as part of ongoing outcomes assessment.
The institution’s system of governance clearly defines the roles of institutional constituencies in policy development and decision-making. The governance structure includes an active governing body with sufficient autonomy to assure institutional integrity and to fulfill its responsibilities of policy and resource development, consistent with the mission of the institution.
The institution’s administrative structure and services facilitate learning and research/scholarship, foster quality improvement, and support the institution’s organization and governance.
In the conduct of its programs and activities involving the public and the constituencies it serves, the institution demonstrates adherence to ethical standards and its own stated policies, providing support to academic and intellectual freedom.
The institution has developed and implemented an assessment plan and process that evaluates its overall effectiveness in achieving its mission and goals; implementing planning, resource allocation, and institutional renewal processes; using institutional resources efficiently; providing leadership and governance; providing administrative structures and services; demonstrating institutional integrity; and assuring that institutional processes and resources support appropriate learning and other outcomes for its students and graduates.
The institution seeks to admit students whose interests, goals, and abilities are congruent with its mission.
The institution provides student support services reasonably necessary to enable each student to achieve the institution’s goals for students.
The institution’s instructional, research, and service programs are devised, developed, monitored, and supported by qualified professionals.
The institution’s educational offerings display academic content, rigor, and coherence appropriate to its higher education mission. The institution identifies student learning goals and objectives, including knowledge and skills, for its educational offerings.
The institution’s curricula are designed so that students acquire and demonstrate college-level proficiency in general education and essential skills, including oral and written communication, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy.
Institutional programs or activities are characterized by particular content, focus, location, mode of delivery, or sponsorship meet appropriate standards.
Assessment of student learning demonstrates that the institution’s students have knowledge, skills, and competencies consistent with institutional goals and that students at graduation have achieved appropriate higher education goals.