Lehigh University
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Lehigh University achieves accreditation success

Lehigh University recently achieved accreditation success for the university and the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“The reaffirmation of Lehigh by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education was the result of the countless hours of hard work by the many, many people who dedicated time, energy and resources to this process of self improvement,” says Carl Moses, deputy provost for academic affairs and chair of the University’s accreditation steering committee.

“My deep gratitude to the steering committees and the sub-committees for all of their dedication over the last three years,” Moses says. “I also want to thank the Lehigh community for their participation.”

The final outcome of the Middle States accreditation process was reaffirmation of Lehigh's institutional accreditation with the requirement of an interim report in 2010 on practices for assessing student learning.

S. David Wu, dean and Iacocca Professor, P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science, also credits the teamwork of the faculty and staff in the accreditation success for the college.

“We had 10 programs seeking accreditation from ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission,” Wu says. “Seven were re-accredited, and three new ones were accredited. This is a remarkable outcome given the rigor of the accreditation process and the complexity of the curricula under review. I want to thank everyone in the college for their diligent efforts that helped us get to this exceptional result.”

Colleges and universities accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education are required to submit a self-study for accreditation renewal every 10 years. The purposes of accreditation are to ensure that institutional processes meet standards established by the commission and that those processes remain aligned with the school’s mission and goals.

Lehigh’s accreditation process began in the fall of 2005 with the formation of a steering committee and subcommittees to start working and drafting documents for internal review. Two key reports comprising an institutional self-study—one on compliance with Middle States standards and the other on selected topics the university had chosen to explore more comprehensively—were drafted, shared with the campus community for review and suggestions, and submitted to the evaluation team.

The centerpiece of accreditation renewal was the self-study, in which the institution presented evidence in support of compliance with Middle States standards, identified areas where stronger ties to mission can be achieved and recommended ways to bring those ties to reality. Lehigh’s self-study focused on three areas: the first-year experience and beyond, technology support for a learning-centered mission and advancement of student learning. Recommendations in these areas were used as part of the comprehensive strategic thinking process initiated by President Alice P. Gast in 2007.

ABET accreditation is assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which it prepares its students. For example, an accredited engineering program must meet the quality standards set by the engineering profession. An accredited computer science program must meet the quality standards set by the computing profession. ABET, Inc., the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and technology, is a federation of 29 professional and technical societies representing these fields.

--Sarah Cooke


Posted on Wednesday, October 01, 2008

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