NECHE Accreditation

RIC Students with caption One Bold Team - One Bold Future

NECHE Accreditation Visit
November 7 – 10, 2021

Invitation for Public Comment

Rhode Island College will undergo a comprehensive evaluation visit from November 7-10, 2021 by a team representing the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE). 

NECHE is one of seven accrediting commissions in the United States that provide institutional accreditation on a regional basis. Accreditation is voluntary and applies to the institution as a whole. The Commission, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, accredits approximately 220 institutions in the six-state New England region as well as several American-style institutions overseas. 

Rhode Island College has been accredited by the Commission since 1958 and was last reviewed in 2011. Its accreditation by the Commission encompasses the entire institution. 

For the past year and a half, Rhode Island College has been engaged in a process of self-study, addressing the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation. An evaluation team will visit the institution to gather evidence that the self-study is thorough and accurate. The team will recommend to the Commission a continuing status for the institution. Following a review process, the Commission itself will take the final action. 

The public is invited to submit comments regarding the institution to: 
Public Comment on Rhode Island College
New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01803-4514
Email: info@neche.org 

Public Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution. The Commission cannot settle disputes between individuals and institutions, whether those involve faculty, students, administrators, or members of other groups. Comments will not be treated as confidential and must include the name, address, and telephone number of the person providing the comments. 

Public Comments must be received by November 10. The Commission cannot guarantee that comments received after that date will be considered. 
 

About NECHE

The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) is recognized as the leading accreditation agency for colleges and universities in the six New England States: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont. NECHE also accredits a dozen international institutions. The Commission consists of faculty, administrators, and trustees from affiliated institutions and a number of public members as well as a staff led by Dr. Lawrence Schall. The Commission is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a reliable authority on the quality of education for the institutions it accredits. 

As the authority and guardian of standards of excellence in higher education, NECHE embraces the roles of mentor and connector as it guides institutions through the rigors of the accreditation process. NECHE is respectful and responsive, committed to institutional success and improvement, and committed to balancing its responsibility to members institutions and members of the public, including prospective and current students,

RIC has been engaged in the comprehensive evaluation process (read more about the process below) the Commission requires institutions to undergo every ten years. Under the leadership of a Steering Committee, committees made up of faculty and staff have written a self-study that evaluates the degree to which the college meets NECHE standards for accreditation. Watch for more information about the NECHE evaluation team visit, November 7 – 10, 2021

Read the Self-Study - Final Version

STANDARDS FOR ACCREDITATION

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_one

The institution’s mission and purposes are appropriate to higher education, consistent with its charter or other operating authority, and implemented in a manner that complies with the Standards of the New England Commission of Higher Education.  The institution’s mission gives direction to its activities and provides a basis for the assessment and enhancement of the institution’s effectiveness.

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_two

The institution undertakes planning and evaluation to accomplish and improve the achievement of its mission and purposes.  It identifies its planning and evaluation priorities and pursues them effectively.  The institution demonstrates its success in strategic, academic, financial, and other resource planning and the evaluation of its educational effectiveness.

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_three

The institution has a system of governance that facilitates the accomplishment of its mission and purposes and supports institutional effectiveness and integrity.  Through its organizational design and governance structure, the institution creates and sustains an environment that encourages teaching, learning, service, scholarship, and where appropriate, research and creative activity.  It demonstrates administrative capacity by assuring provision of support adequate for the appropriate functioning of each organizational component.  The institution has sufficient autonomy and control of its programs and operations consistent with its mission to be held directly accountable for meeting the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation.

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_four

The institution’s academic programs are consistent with and serve to fulfill its mission and purposes.  The institution works systematically and effectively to plan, provide, oversee, evaluate, improve, and assure the academic quality and integrity of its academic programs and the credits and degrees awarded.  The institution sets a standard of student achievement appropriate to the degree or certificate awarded and develops the systematic means to understand how and what students are learning and to use the evidence obtained to improve the academic program.

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_five

Consistent with its mission, the institution sets and achieves realistic goals to enroll students who are broadly representative of the population the institution wishes to serve.  The institution addresses its own goals for the achievement of diversity, equity, and inclusion among its students and provides a safe environment that fosters the intellectual and personal development of its students.  It endeavors to ensure the success of its students, offering the resources and services that provide them the opportunity to achieve the goals of their educational program as specified in institutional publications.  The institution’s interactions with students and prospective students are characterized by integrity and equity.

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_six

The institution supports teaching and learning through a well-qualified faculty and academic staff, who, in structures and processes appropriate to the institution, collectively ensure the quality of instruction and support for student learning.  Scholarship, research, and creative activities receive support appropriate to the institution’s mission. The institution’s faculty has primary responsibility for advancing the institution’s academic purposes through teaching, learning, and scholarship.

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_seven

The institution has sufficient human, financial, information, physical, and technological resources and capacity to support its mission.  Through periodic evaluation, the institution demonstrates that its resources are sufficient to sustain the quality of its educational program and to support institutional improvement now and in the foreseeable future.  The institution demonstrates, through verifiable internal and external evidence, its financial capacity to graduate its entering class.  The institution administers its resources in an ethical manner and assures effective systems of enterprise risk management, regulatory compliance, internal controls, and contingency management.

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_eight

The institution demonstrates its effectiveness by ensuring satisfactory levels of student achievement on mission-appropriate student outcomes.  Based on verifiable information, the institution understands what its students have gained as a result of their education and has useful evidence about the success of its recent graduates.  This information is used for planning and improvement, resource allocation, and to inform the public about the institution.  Student achievement is at a level appropriate for the degree awarded.

https://www.neche.org/resources/standards-for-accreditation#standard_nine

The institution subscribes to and advocates high ethical standards in the management of its affairs and in its dealings with students, prospective students, faculty, staff, its governing board, external agencies and organizations, and the general public.  Through its policies and practices, the institution endeavors to exemplify the values it articulates in its mission and related statements.  In presenting the institution to students, prospective students, and other members of the public, the institutional website provides information, including information about student success, that is complete, accurate, timely, readily accessible, clear, and sufficient for intended audiences to make informed decisions about the institution.

Components of the Comprehensive Evaluation

Comprehensive Evaluation

The Commission requires institutions to undergo a comprehensive evaluation at least every ten years. The comprehensive evaluation process has three components:

  • an institutional self-study, in which the institution evaluates how and how well it meets the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation;
  • an on-site evaluation by a group of peers; 
  • a review and decision by the Commission.

Self-Study

Self-study is at the heart of accreditation. Both a product and a process, effective self-study serves accreditation’s dual purposes: quality assurance and institutional improvement. The self-study presents a concise picture of the institution as a dynamic entity with a sense of its history, an understanding of its present, and a vision of its future. By clearly identifying strengths and challenges, the institution demonstrates its ability to use analysis for improvement.

Read the Self-Study - Final Version

On-site Evaluation

The on-site evaluation by a group of faculty and administrators provides the institution and the Commission with a valuable external perspective. Team members are selected because of their experience at an institution comparable to the one being evaluated. They are trained by Commission staff to validate the self-study in light of the institution’s mission.

After the Visit

After the visit, the team chair, using material submitted by the team members, will produce a draft report, first reviewed by the team and the Commission staff. The staff review is designed to help ensure that the report can stand on its own and that important areas are sufficiently addressed. Following any changes made in that initial review, the chair sends the draft report to the institution’s president for purposes of making sure the factual matters in the report are correct. Having made any appropriate changes based on that review, the chair sends the final version of the team report to the institution, which sends copies to the team members and to the Commission.

The institution’s president is asked to respond to the team report. Responses may indicate concurrence with the team’s findings, may provide a differing interpretive perspective on factual matters or may provide an update on how the institution has responded to the findings of the team.

Commission Review and Decision

Normally the Commission considers comprehensive evaluations the semester following the visit. The institution’s president (CEO) and team chair are invited to meet with the Commission for an interactive session to review the comprehensive evaluation. Included in the review are the self-study, team report, the confidential recommendation of the team chair, the institution’s response, and the history of Commission action with respect to the institution. In addition, in keeping with federal regulations, the Commission seeks and considers Public Comment regarding each evaluated institution.

The Range and Meaning of Commission Actions Affecting Institutional Status (58) outlines the actions the Commission may take with regard to an institution’s accreditation status. In addition, the Commission specifies areas where an institution should endeavor to improve its effectiveness. Official written notification of the Commission decision is provided to the institution shortly after the Commission meeting.

Members

  • Erik Christiansen, Professor, History
  • Ducha Hang, Associate Vice President, Student Success
  • Christopher Hourigan, Director, Institutional Research and Planning
  • Patrice Mettauer, Director, Academic Initiatives
  • Mimi Mumm, Professor, MSW Program
  • Stephen Nedder, Vice President, Administration and Finance
  • Jayashree Nimmagadda, Interim Dean, School of Social Work
  • Sue Pearlmutter, Office of the Provost
  • Thomas Schmeling, Associate Professor, Political Science
  • Debra Servello, Professor, Graduate Department, School of Nursing
  • Earl Simson, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
  • James Tweed, Dean, Enrollment Management