2014 Middle States Re-accreditation

The Colleges are an accredited institution, as recognized by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and recorded in the 2006 Middle States Commission Statement of Accreditation Status (PDF).

Any comments and/or questions about information on the website are welcome and should be sent to the Associate Provost Christine R. de Denus (deDenus@hws.edu, (315) 781-3612).

Work To Date

March 9 – March 12, 2014

Middle States Visiting Team spent time on campus meeting with individuals from different areas of campus:
- Monday, March 10: Campus-wide open forum, 3:30-4:30 pm in the Geneva Room
- Wednesday, March 12: All campus read out, 10-11 am in the Vandervort Room

June 30, 2014
Letter received from the MSCHE reaffirming accreditation status:
(Click here to read the letter)

January 25, 2014
The Middle States Self Study document was finalized and shared with the MS Steering committee and Board of Trustees.  It was also submitted electronically to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

January 2014 Middle States Update (sent February 4, 2014)

Dear Members of the HWS Community,

Happy New Year, and welcome back for the new semester.  We write today to update you on the progress of our Middle States Re-accreditation process. It has been part of our charge to have a clear and transparent process, and to keep the whole campus community involved and up-to-date on this work.

Last semester was spent circulating a draft of our Middle States Self Study document as widely as possible, to receive feedback from every campus constituency.  In addition to meeting with the Steering Committee, we met with the Committee on Academic Affairs, the Committee on the Faculty, the Board of Trustees, both Deans’ offices, and various student support offices (CTL, CGE, Library, Student Affairs, etc).  We received comments from our Middle States team chair Daniel Porterfield, President of Franklin & Marshall College, during his preliminary visit in November. In the weeks following our last email update (November 13th), we held four separate feedback sessions with the campus community. At these sessions, members of the Steering Committee fielded questions, comments, suggestions, and corrections regarding the Self Study.  Our final feedback session on December 5th was spent discussing the document with Hobart and William Smith students at a joint Student Government session.

In late November, a polished draft was sent to an external consultant for review. with the reviewer provided specific suggestions for improvements, in both content and evidence.  Edits were made to the document and it was once again reviewed by the Provost and the Chair of the Board of Trustees. Our last few weeks have been spent editing, formatting, and indexing the document, as well as organizing the voluminous appendices.

Monday, we officially submitted our Self Study document to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and to our external evaluation team, who will be visiting our campus March 9-11, 2014.

When the Middle States team visits, they will engage in conversations (scheduled or through chance encounters) with any number of individuals across campus about HWS. As such, we need everyone to be aware of both the process and the contents of the Self Study document we have submitted.  For this reason, we ask you to familiarize yourself with the Self Study, which is posted on the HWS Middle States Re-accreditation webpage -- available on the Provost's webpage, or as a quicklink on the main HWS site.

As you know, Middle States re-accreditation has been a multi-year process.  As an extensive self study of every aspect of the institution, it has already led to many fruitful conversations and improvements across campus. The timing of this document can make it a strong foundation for curricular review, strategic planning, and other campus initiatives.  As we now look forward to the final peer review phase, we encourage and welcome your continued involvement.

Feel free to contact us at Middlestates2014@hws.edu with any comments, questions, or concerns.

Christine de Denus & Anna Creadick


Open Forums Scheduled for Campus Feedback

Mon., Nov. 18: Faculty forum, Standards 10-14
Coxe 8, 4:30-6:00 pm
Wed., Nov 20: Open forum, Standards 1-7 (students, faculty, staff)
Sanford Room, 11:00 am-12:30 pm
Thurs., Nov. 21: Open Forum, Standards 8-14
Sanford Room, 4:00 – 5:00 pm
Fri., Nov. 22: Drop-in time with Co-Chairs
Provost's Office, 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Tues., Dec. 3: Student Government forum
Coxe 8, 8:00 – 9:00 pm

November Update
November 4, 2013

October was a busy month with the co-chairs receiving feedback on the current self-study document from a number of campus constituents through in-person meetings and via email feedback. On October 26, the Board of Trustees also provided feedback on the current self-study document to members of the Middle States Steering Committee. Finally, on November 3 and 4, the Colleges completed their preliminary visit with the Middle States Team Chair.

Fall 2013 Update
September 9, 2013

An email was sent from the co-chairs welcoming the HWS community back to campus. The email included an update about where we stand in the self-study process as well as notification about the Team chair visit in November.

Faculty Forum and Update on Middle States
April 8, 2013

The co-chairs of the re-accreditation process updated the faculty on our progress at the faculty meeting and also solicited feedback on three specific questions of interest.

HWS Campus Community Update
April 1, 2013

The co-chairs of the re-accreditation process sent out an email update to the campus community (students, faculty, and staff) outlining work since December 2012.

Working Group Preliminary Reports Submitted
January 30, 2013

Working groups submitted their initial reports to the Steering Committee for comment.

Board of Trustees Updated on Middle States Progress
end of January, 2013

The Provost and Dean of Faculty and the President updated the Board of Trustees on our progress with the Self-Study process.

Team Attends MSCHE Annual Meeting
December 4-7, 2012

Four members of the Steering Committee attended the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) annual meeting in Philadelphia.

HWS Campus Community Update
November 29, 2012

The co-chairs of the re-accreditation process sent out an email update to the campus community (students, faculty, and staff).

Board of Trustees Updated on Middle States Progress
October 26-28, 2012

Members of the Steering Committee, the Provost and Dean of Faculty and the President update the Board of Trustees on our progress with the Self-Study process.

Team from HWS attends the Genteels' Excellence in Teaching Seminar
October 19, 2012

This seminar was entitled: "Are They Really Learning What We Are Teaching Them? Using Assessment to Enhance Teaching Effectiveness and Measure Student Learning."

Self-Study Design Document Approved by Middle States Commission on Higher Education
October 5, 2012

Dr. Christy Faison formally approved the contents of the Self-Study Design that was submitted by the Steering Committee in September of 2012.

Steering Committee Submits Self-Study Design to Middle States Commission on Higher Education
September 2012

Members of the Steering Committee worked throughout the summer months to finalize the contents of the Self-Study Design.  The submitted document included reflections and suggestions from the April visit with our liaison, Dr. Christy Faison.

Dr. Christy Faison, Middle States Vice-President Visits Hobart & William Smith Colleges
April 26, 2012

Dr. Faison is our Middle States liaison for our 2014 Self Study process. This visit to campus was a normal follow up to the submission of the Colleges Self-Study Design in which she met with individuals from a number of different constituents across campus. A copy of her schedule and the individuals that she met with can be viewed here (PDF). A final Self Study Design document will be submitted to Dr. Faison by September 30, 12.

Self Study Design Document Submitted to Middle States
April 12, 2012

The draft of the Self Study Design document constructed by the Steering Committee was submitted to Dr. Christy Faison for comment. She will visit HWS on April 26 to discuss the contents.

Middle States Invitation to HWS Community to Participate in Re-Accreditation Planning
February 9, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

We write at this time to provide an update on the 2014 Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) Re-Accreditation Planning Process and to invite participation from faculty and staff on the various working groups that will be formed to address key standards. The planning for our 2014 Middle States visit will begin in earnest at the start of the 2012-2013 academic year, with the goal of completing the institution’s self-study in calendar year 2013. We are now at the point where we are initiating the key startup activities to position us for the work that will begin in March 2012 and continue through the majority of 2013. A timeline of events is attached.

Middle States is an accrediting body that evaluates whether or not Hobart & William Smith Colleges has programs, policies, and priorities that are in line with our institutional mission and goals. Currently, our institution is accredited; however, we are required to undergo re-accreditation every ten years. This peer review is based on an institution-wide self-assessment performed by faculty, staff, administrators, trustees, students and parents, and it covers such topics as institutional mission and goals, resources, leadership and governance, assessment, integrity, student admissions, retention, and support services, the faculty, and educational offerings. These topics are the basis of what Middle States refers to as the 14 Standards that should be addressed for institutional accreditation. A brief description of the 14 Standards can be found here.

As we embark on this re-accreditation process, one of the goals is to make our work as transparent and inclusive as possible. Toward that end, we are inviting members of the community who are interested in serving on one of the working groups (see attached) to let us know of their interest. Participants will be asked to serve based on the need to provide balance across all of the working groups. Members of the various working groups should anticipate a small time commitment March 2012 through July 2012 with a larger time commitment from August 2012 through May 2013. This will involve a variety of activities participating in the group working sessions including research, discussion and coordination within each group and with other working groups. We have asked Associate Dean of Faculty Christine de Denus to serve as one of the co-chairs of this self-study process. Her primary role will be to oversee the process through the next 24 months as we collect and analyze evidence, write our self-study, and host the institutional visit from the Middle States evaluation team in the Spring of 2014.

If you are interested in participating on one of the Middle States working groups, please email middlestates2014@hws.edu by Thursday, February 16.


Mark D. Gearan                    Patrick A. McGuire
President                             Interim Provost and Dean of Faculty

President and Provost Announce Middle States Schedule and Co-Chair
February 1 and 6, 2012

At the Board Read Out (Feb 1) and Faculty meeting (Feb 6), President Gearan and Provost McGuire announced that Christine R. de Denus would serve as a co-chair for our 2014 Middle States Re-accreditation process. They also shared a tentative schedule of events for the next two years and encouraged the community to think about participating in this important process.


Contact co-chairs Christine de Denus and Anna Creadick at middlestates2014@hws.edu.


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Coxe Hall
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Phone: (315) 781-3304
Fax: (315) 781-3334

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2014 Middle States Re-accreditation


Hobart and William Smith Colleges,
Geneva, NY 14456
(315) 781-3000

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