The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) followed up its 2015 decennial review, in which St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) was put on warning for its adherence to Standard 14 (Assessment of Student Learning), by sending a small team of representatives to evaluate the efforts to strengthen the standards in question by the MSCHE. On Mar. 28, the small team presented its exit report findings of the college’s progress in St. Mary’s Hall to a crowd of administrators and faculty, announcing the college’s compliance with all standards and awarding commendations for Standards 2 (Planning, Resource Allocation, and Institutional Renewal), 5 (Administration), and 14 (Assessment).
Following the decennial review in 2015, the MSCHE requested a follow-up report due March 1, 2017, which the college submitted in late February. The team was sent after the report’s submission, and while the college was found to be in compliance with all standards, the institution will receive official word on the state of its accreditation after a commission meeting on June 22, whose decision will be shared “the latter part of June or the early part of July” according to a Middle States official.
With regard to Standard 14, the representative team stated “The college is commended for the tremendous amount of work the….entire institution has undertaken to create a culture of assessment and continual improvement. Even though the college is yet to complete a full assessment cycle, it is evident that the structures and processes that are now in place will help to yield results to improve student learning.” They also provided a recommendation for the college to “fully develop the assessment of student learning experiences that are outside the classroom and in the areas of student life.”
The MSCHE representative issued two commendations for Standard 5, saying “the President and leadership are recommended for their efforts in strategically reconfiguring critical institutional areas to improve overall effectiveness in addressing the college’s urgent priorities, and second, the SMCM leadership is commended for creating a stable administrative structure that is dedicated to achieving the mission and goals of the institution.”
The team also commended the five-year strategic plan implemented by Dr. Jordan and the administrative team that makes sure the goals of the strategic plan are met. After the representative team delivered its report, President Jordan praised the faculty and administrative team, applauding the progress made but emphasizing that it “must be incorporated into our fabric.” President Jordan also recognized that while commendations were awarded to administration, “we know that this was an entire community effort.”