How to Become a Peer Evaluator
The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) seeks competent, knowledgeable, and qualified higher education professionals to serve as volunteer peer evaluators in the accreditation process.
Accreditation is the means through which MSCHE assures students and the public of educational quality. That is, accreditation is an expression of confidence in an institution’s mission and goals, performance related to student achievement, planning, and resources based upon the accreditation review activities conducted by trained peer evaluators. Peer evaluators are at the core of the Commission's peer review process, and may participate in the accreditation process in a variety of roles, including: team chairs, team members, finance reviewers, mid-point peer reviewer /periodic review report reviewer, substantive change reviewers, compliance reviewers, and appeals panel members.
Why volunteer as a peer evaluator?
Serving as a peer evaluator for MSCHE benefits you as a professional as well as your institution - your training and work as a peer evaluator will help prepare you and your own institution for future interactions with the accreditation process. Serving as a peer evaluator has additional benefits including networking opportunities and professional growth and achievement. Finally, you become a key element in maintaining a long history of peer evaluation as an important part of the accreditation process.
What do peer evaluators do?
Peer evaluators are a vital part of the peer review process, serving as the first layer in a multi-layered accreditation decision making process. Peer evaluators conduct on-site institutional visits and/or review written evidence submitted by institutions undergoing different types of accreditation reviews. They also participate in making accreditation and preaccreditation (Candidacy) decisions. Peer evaluators make careful judgments about the institution’s compliance with accreditation standards outlined in MSCHE's Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation within the context of the institution’s mission.
What qualifications do I need to become a peer evaluator?
The Commission seeks experienced, qualified, and competent individuals who are currently employed by a MSCHE member institution (college or university) of higher education and have at least 3 years of professional experience in higher education. Individuals who have professional knowledge or experience in institutional finance, student services, alternative delivery methods (distance education, etc.) and the medical fields are encouraged to apply.
How do I apply to be a peer evaluator?
To apply, you must request login credentials to the Commission's portal, My MSCHE. Click here to request login credentials:
Once you are sent your login credentials, please follow the instructions to open and complete the Evaluator Data Form (EDF). Please read the instructions carefully and complete the entire EDF.
What happens after I apply?
After you complete the Evaluator Data Form (EDF), your application will be reviewed by Commission staff. Evaluator applications are evaluated twice yearly, in May and September. Staff make every effort to bring new volunteers into the process as soon as possible, but not all peer evaluators will be selected for assignments immediately. If selected, Commission staff will assign you to an accreditation review and you may accept or decline the invitation. You must attend an orientation prior to the prior to the review or visit.
It is important that those individuals who are interested in continuing to serve as a peer evaluator keep their records up to date in the Commission database by logging into My MSCHE and updating the evaluator data form (EDF).
How are peer evaluators selected for assignments?
The Commission follows its policy Selection of Peer Evaluators. The Commission staff is responsible for assigning individuals to specific review or visit assignments. Individuals are selected to be peer evaluators for a specific accreditation review or visit based on education, areas of expertise, level of experience, position at his or her institution, and overall diversity. Qualifications to serve are determined through careful staff analysis of detailed information submitted to MSCHE via the online Evaluator Data Form.
What kind of training is available?
To support the peer review process, individuals selected for assignments are trained by the Commission to assume evaluation responsibilities, appropriate to their assigned role, regarding the application of the agency’s standards, policies, and procedures. The Commission requires training for new peer evaluators prior to their participation on an accreditation review or visit. Upon successful completion of initial training, the Commission offers advanced online modules on the responsibilities associated with specific roles in different types of institutional reviews. The Commission expects peer evaluators to complete refresher training on a regular basis.
Training events are provided in a variety of educational delivery options including face to face training, webinars, and online modules. The Commission regularly solicits feedback on training events and workshops to make continuous improvements to educational programming.
Update Evaluator Data Form (EDF)
It is important that those who are interested in continuing to serve as peer evaluators keep their records up to date in the Commission database by logging into My MSCHE and updating the EDF.
Current evaluators- click here to update your Evaluator Data Form.
If you encounter any problems accessing or completing the Evaluator Data Form, please contact either:
firstname.lastname@example.org (215-662-5605); or
Erika Swain, Director for Training email@example.com (267-284-5019).