Lehigh’s 2004-05 Greek accreditation process, a key recommendation of the Strengthening Greek Life Task Force, recently concluded and released its results for Lehigh’s Greek system.
Each chapter’s rating was based on a comprehensive review of the chapter’s strengths and weaknesses in five key areas: scholarship, leadership, citizenship, partnership and stewardship. Of the 31 fraternities and sororities at the time the process was undertaken, 16 earned high marks and were awarded a gold or silver rating. Five received a bronze rating and earned average marks, while 10 chapters earned a poor rating and were identified as needing significant improvement. No chapters were given an unacceptable rating.
“This process—which engaged a committee of Greek actives, Greek alumni and university administrators—allowed our chapters this past spring the opportunity to showcase their strengths, identify areas needing improvement, and plans for the future,” says John Smeaton, associate vice president for student affairs
Marissa Tringali ’07, Pi Beta Phi active and member of the Greek Accreditation Committee, echoes the sentiment. “I thought the accreditation process was a great opportunity for each chapter to recognize their strengths and weaknesses,” she says. “The feedback our chapter received will enable Pi Phi to work even harder that last year to excel in those areas in which we are very strong and to improve in those areas that we are weaker.”
Chapter and alumni leadership received their accreditation results in early August, followed by e-mail announcements the following week to chapter members. In keeping with the spirit of openness that has been important during the entire Strengthening Greek life process, accreditation results for all chapters are posted on the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Affairs Web site
“The accreditation process is very transparent and makes the strengths and weaknesses of the houses very visible,” says Kathleen Dugan Trimble ’87, Kappa Alpha Theta alumna and Accreditation Committee member. “It is one of the best things to come out of the Greek Task Force recommendations and is a huge improvement over the RER system because it encourages Greek students to excel.”
While the accreditation process reviews a chapter on its performance over an academic year—highlighting positive and constructive feedback—it also offers up feedback for chapters to discuss and to use as a basis for an action plan.
“Chapters were given a great deal of constructive suggestions to get to the next level,” Trimble says. “Hopefully, this process will make the houses strive to higher levels.”
Tringali says the accreditation process identifies chapters that are an asset to the system and the chapters that are not and forces each chapter to finally get involved with the community, campus, and their own brothers and sisters.
The process also forces chapters to “make an effort with grades, community service, and leadership,” she says. “Chapters may not like this approach, but it finally gives Greeks an opportunity to be truly proud to wear their letters at Lehigh.”