Middle States Commission grants GCC reaccreditation, Sunser says college will be viewed as an 'exemplar'
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education granted reaccreditation for an eight-year term to Genesee Community College June 23, the Board of Trustees learned at its annual meeting this week.
In a significant move, the Middle States Commission also issued rare commendations (official praise) to Genesee Community College for the quality of its self-study and the final Middle States team report, which found a high level of performance at Genesee.
The Middle States action followed an intensive 18-month self-study process that culminated in a Middle States Commission team visit in early April. The eight-member team comprised of highly respected educational leaders led by retired Atlantic Cape Community College President Peter L. Mora Sr., examined the College's self-study prepared by 70+ faculty and staff members, as well as more than 900 pages of documentation about all areas of the College's academic program and administrative operations. Team members also met and interviewed several hundred faculty and staff members, students, advisory committee members and trustees.
Accreditation is a rigorous process in which external experts review every facet of a college's administrative, financial, academic and student services functions. The Middle States Commission, which has accreditation jurisdiction over about 525 colleges and universities in the Mid-Atlantic States and Caribbean, places an exceptionally high priority on continuous improvement. Colleges and universities accredited by Middle States are expected to demonstrate both good performance and meticulous strategies for ongoing evaluation and progress toward demanding new goals.
The Middle States Commission is one of six regional accrediting bodies that oversee accreditation of the nation's 4,700+ colleges and universities. Colleges and universities must be accredited for their students to receive financial assistance, and only accredited colleges can receive public grants and contracts. Employers also see accreditation as a mark of quality, and an indication that employees' degrees are backed by high academic standards.
The Middle States Commission selected Genesee Community College as one of only 15 colleges and universities to "pilot" demanding new accreditation standards, which will take effect for all 525 Middle States colleges and universities next year. Of the 15 institutions in the pilot, only Genesee Community College and Union College (Schenectady) received commendations (official praise) for both the quality of their self-studies and final accreditation reports.
President James M. Sunser told trustees that the results of the accreditation process mean that Genesee will be viewed as an "exemplar" college throughout the mid-Atlantic region and beyond.
"I expect that other colleges and universities will be asking us for guidance and advice as they prepare to seek reaccreditation, and that faculty and staff leaders of our accreditation process will be called on to provide presentations to their peers at other colleges in the years ahead," he said.
Sunser said that the Board of Trustees, faculty, staff, students and the community should be deeply proud of the reaccreditation and commendations: "This reflects on the caliber of the people here, and the many strengths of our College. It [reaccreditation] is an extraordinary accomplishment."