What does the Middle States Commission do?

In this post, we explain the role of Middle States, which accredits institutions such as Villanova University. We often hear mentioned the name, ‘Middle States,’ in various contexts but many students and faculty pay very little attention to it most of the time. Prof. Johannes is, by our knowledge, the only Villanova professor who has been appointed an MS Commissioner. His most recent external review of a political science department was conducted at DePaul University in Chicago.

The Middle States Commission is a member organization of over 500 colleges and universities from New York to Maryland and the District of Columbia, plus Puerto Rico.  The Commission’s mission is to assist these schools maintain high quality educational programs and to improve their operations, and it does so through an accreditation process, itself regulated by the U.S. Department of Education, involving  regularly scheduled reviews of and visits to those institutions. Accreditation is important, not only for what it says about the institution (that it is on solid footing, delivering a quality education to its students) but because only if accredited may a college’s students receive federal financial aid.  There are 25 commissioners including  academic administrators such as college presidents and vice presidents, faculty members of various colleges and universities, and three “public” members.  As a Commissioner, Dr. Johannes sits with the other commissioners at a total of six Commission and committee meetings each year to evaluate the reports issued by the teams that visit the institutions,  to review follow-up reports those institutions may be required to make,  to understand the strengths and perhaps weaknesses of the schools, and then to render judgments as to whether or not they have meet the Commission’s fourteen standards and are worthy of Middle States accreditation.  Dr. Johannes has served as a Commissioner since 2012.

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