Middle States Commission on Higher Education



Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hilton Philadelphia at Penn's Landing
August 28-30, 2017



Welcome to the Retreat

Words words...

The Program

Monday, August 28, 2017

7:30am - 4:00pm
Presidents' Meeting (USS New Jersey)

3:00pm - 7:00pm
Retreat Registration (Columbus Ballroom Foyer)

3:30pm - 5:00pm
Orientation Session for New Staff (Discovery AB)

6:30pm - 7:15pm
Welcome Reception (Columbus Ballroom Foyer)

7:15pm - 9:00pm
Opening Dinner and General Session - Panel of Presidents (Columbus Ballroom)


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

7:30am - 8:45am
Breakfast (Columbus Ballroom BC)

9:00am - 10:30am
General Session - Terry Hartle (Columbus Ballroom BC)

11:00am - 12:15pm   Breakout Sessions

Preparing for NACIQI (Columbus A)
Stephanie Droker (ACCJC), Mary Beth Kait (MSCHE), Karen Solinski (HLC)

Training Peer Evaluators: Content, Delivery, and Evaluation (Discovery AB)
Alexie Matveev (SACSCOC), Jamie Stanesa (HLC), Erika Swain (MSCHE)

How Commissions Work: Commission Focus, Current Focus, and Committee Structure (Discovery C)
Crystal Baird (SACSCOC), Eric Martin (HLC), Pat O’Brien (NEASC)
This session will provide an overview of the current foci and priorities of HLC, NEASC, and SACSCOC, along with brief coverage of the committee structures that are critical to effecting change. Audience interaction is encouraged to include highlighting priorities of other C-RAC members. Beyond sharing our respective priorities, a central goal of this session is to generate new possibilities to take home and to identify points of possible intersection for mutual benefit across Commissions.

12:30pm - 1:45pm
Lunch and General Session - Herman Bounds (Columbus Ballroom BC)

2:00pm - 3:15pm       Breakout Sessions

Advances in Information Systems and Data Analysis (Columbus A)
Patrick Esmonde (MSCHE), Henry Hernandez (WSCUC), Godfrey Fuji Noe (SACSCOC)

What ACICS Taught Us: Working with National, Programmatic, and "State" Accreditors (Discovery AB)
Donna Barrett (SACSCOC), Dick Osborn (WSCUC)
With the demise of ACICS as an approved national accreditation agency with the loss of Title IV for students expected in June 2018, pressure has been placed on regional accrediting agencies to grant accreditation to these institutions with some not typically meeting the Standards of regional accreditation. In addition, greater pressure by the U.S. Department of Education has been placed for state agencies to create more robust oversight procedures for institutions offering degrees. The relationship between the role of programmatic accreditors and regional accreditation has also come into play. In the middle of this interplay, critics of regional accreditation charge that innovation in higher education has been thwarted by more traditionally oriented regional accreditation agencies. The presenters from SACSOC and WSCUC who have been in the forefront of these issues will present ways in which their agencies have dealt with these challenges on the processes used for institutions to achieve accreditation with an invitation to attendees to present the perspectives of each of their agencies.

How Staff Work: Agency Organization and Roles (Discovery C)

Paula Harbecke (NEASC), Andrea Lex (MSCHE), Andrew Lootens-White (HLC)
In this session, representatives from three agencies – differing in size and geography -- will provide brief “big picture” overviews of each, including information about staff organization, institutional membership, and peer corps composition.  After this foundation is established, presenters will discuss the roles involved in several processes such as how institutions and peer reviewers interact with staff and prepare their evaluation materials, how the creation of notification/action letters occurs, how the agencies communicate with members, and how staff are involved in the offering of agency events and services.  The goal of the session will be to provide an understanding of the factors that guide our work in the different regions as we look for ways throughout the retreat to interact and collaborate.

3:30pm - 5:00pm       Breakout Sessions

Preserving Peer Evaluation: Combatting the Challenges (Columbus A)
Mike Hoefer (SACSCOC), Erin Mattson (MSCHE), Jamie Stanesa (HLC)
As the landscape of regional accreditation evolves, what challenges face accreditors throughout the peer review process? In this session, we will explore a brief history of peer evaluation and then discuss the obstacles faced by different regional accreditors. Each panelist will identify unique internal and external challenges and explain how their organizations are responding to these challenges while improving the overall peer evaluation process.

Determining Compliance (Discovery AB)
Barbara Gross Davis (WSCUC), Pat Donat (SACSCOC), Anthea Sweeney (HLC)
This session will compare the methods used by three regional accrediting agencies (HLC, SACSCOC and WSCUC) to determine institutional compliance with their respective standards in the context of candidacy, initial accreditation and reaffirmation evaluations, while examining the various decisions that apply based on the determinations made. Audience members representing other regional accreditors will be encouraged to offer their own practices in these contexts as well. The major goal of the session will be to explore how regional accreditors, regardless of variations in their methods of determining compliance, can best support the application of professional judgment in the peer review process while optimizing the integrity and consistency of reviews.

Taming Subchange (Discovery C)

Pamela Goad (NWCCU), John Hausaman, (WSCUC), Pat Newton-Curran (HLC), Heather Perfetti (MSCHE), Kevin Sightler (SACSCOC)
Representatives will share specific processes used by their agency.  The session is designed to provide participants an opportunity to compare and contrast the various methods and processes used for substantive change.

6:30pm - 8:00pm
Dinner on Own


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

7:30am - 8:30am
Breakfast (Columbus Ballroom BC)

9:00am - 10:15am    Breakout Sessions

"Student Success" Defined: How is it more than numbers? (Columbus A)
Maureen Maloney (WSCUC), Allen Richman (MSCHE), Steve Sheeley (SACSCOC)

Creating and Implementing New Standards: Challenges and Lessons (Discovery AB)
Carol Anderson (NEASC), Ellie Fogarty (MSCHE)
This session explores the development and implementation of new Standards by two C-RAC organizations, New England and Middle States. After providing an overview of the process of creating and implementing the Standards, speakers will discuss the challenges faced and lessons learned by each agency. There will be time for questions and discussion.

Taming Subchange (Discovery C)

Pamela Goad (NWCCU), John Hausaman, (WSCUC), Pat Newton-Curran (HLC), Heather Perfetti (MSCHE), Kevin Sightler (SACSCOC)
Representatives will share specific processes used by their agency.  The session is designed to provide participants an opportunity to compare and contrast the various methods and processes used for substantive change.

10:30am - 12:00pm
General Session - Panel of Presidents (Columbus Ballroom BC)

Box Lunch/Retreat End (Columbus Ballroom BC)


General Session Bios

Terry W. Hartle

Terry W. Hartle is a Senior Vice President at the American Council on Education, (ACE). In this capacity he directs comprehensive efforts to engage federal policymakers on a broad range of issues including student aid, government regulation, scientific research and tax policy.

In addition, Hartle plays a central role in developing public policy positions that impact all colleges and universities, and also oversees the Council’s external relations functions.

Prior to joining the council in 1993, Hartle served for six years as education staff director for the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, then chaired by Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Prior to 1987, Hartle was director of social policy studies and resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a research scientist at the Educational Testing Service. Hartle has authored or co-authored numerous articles, books, and national studies and contributes regular book reviews to The Christian Science Monitor.

Hartle received a doctorate in public policy from The George Washington University (DC), a master’s in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University (NY) and a bachelor’s degree in history (summa cum laude) from Hiram College (OH). He was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by Northeastern University (MA). He has received the Hiram College Alumni Achievement Award, and has been inducted into the Hiram College Athletic Hall of Fame. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Herman Bounds

Herman Bounds is the Director of the Accreditation Group within the Office of Postsecondary Education. He assumed that position in April 2014 after spending two years as an Education Program Specialist in the Accreditation Group. Previously, Herman was the Deputy Director at the Aviation Career Campus of Metro Technology Centers, a career and technical education school in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. While serving as the deputy director, Herman played a major role with developing a workforce development project which provided Tinker Air Force Base with approximately 1,500 credentialed aviation maintenance technicians. Herman served as a consultant for a Federal Aviation Administration study, Psychological study of aircraft accidents. In addition, Herman is a U.S. Army veteran with 20 years of service.

Participant Responses to Open-Ended Questions

What are your goals for and/or what do you hope to take away from this retreat? Click HERE.
What do you believe to be the biggest challenge facing accreditation today?
Click HERE.
What part of your work do you enjoy the most?
Click HERE.
What part of your work do you not enjoy?
Click HERE.
Fun fact about you. Click HERE.
Favorite vacation spot. Click HERE.


Breakout Materials

Click HERE for breakout materials (posted when provided).

Retreat Program Planning Committee

Stephanie Droker, ACCJC
Paula Herbecke, NEASC
Mary Kirk, SACSCOC
Andrea Lex, MSCHE
Andrew Lootens-White, HLC
Valerie Martinez, NWCCU
Christopher Oberg, WSCUC

Local Arrangements
Victoria Clark, Assistant Director for Conferences & Educational Programs, MSCHE
KJ Fitzpatrick, Director for Conferences & Educational Programs, MSCHE
Richard Pokrass, Director for Communications & Public Relations, MSCHE


Philadelphia Skyline · Photo by Bob Krist - Courtesy of Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680; Telephone: (267) 284-5000