Middle States evaluates Ramapo after visit

Photo by Tori D'Amico

This week Ramapo College was visited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which evaluated the college over a series of days and interviews.

When a college or university applies to begin the process, it can take years, especially if a college does not meet the standards and affiliations required.

On Wednesday, Feb. 26, the board of evaluators held an open announcement on their findings for the seven standards of accreditation. To the delight of all attendees, the committee deemed that Ramapo appeared to meet every standard, without any formal requirements for change.

The seven standards include “mission and goals,” “ethics and integrity,” “design and delivery of the student learning experience,” “support of the student experience,” “educational effectiveness assessment,” “planning, resources and institutional improvement” and “governance, leadership and administration.”

Each was assessed, followed by collegiate advice, in this case, no requirements and recognized accomplishments.

For “Missions and Goals,” Ramapo was commended on their aim to improve diversity when they noticed numbers that did not show it and their success in doing so. However, the board suggested Ramapo define more clearly what “academic excellence” means to them.

Ramapo was commended in “Ethics and Integrity” for their diligent work to ensure academic integrity and lessen the occurrence of plagiarism.

“Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience” was said to meet the standards with three pieces of advice. The board said the college could improve on their frequency of night and weekend classes, continue to bolster faculty diversity and show more recognition to faculty research throughout the whole community.

“Support of Student Experience” met the standard with the advice to offer students more weekend opportunities as residents. 

Part of the Middle States process is a self-evaluation by the school, which under “Educational effectiveness Assessment,” they noted Ramapo had made progress since their last.

The evaluation of “Planning, Resources and Institutional Improvement” earned Ramapo several praises. They commended the college on the planning of the learning commons, the human resources department and the implementation of technology on campus.

The final standard, “Governance, Leadership and Administration,” while met, was presented with advice. They recommended Ramapo work to improve diversity among the Board of Trustees and to create more open lines of communication among the community.

It was thanks to many individuals that Ramapo was given such praise, but President Mercer gave special thanks to David Nast and Stephanie Sarabia, who worked closely with the Middle States committee. 

“The Middle States Commission is powerful enough to have given us another two and a half years to meet the standards,” Nast said, noting how impressive the review truly is.

“When we asked for things we got them,” Nast said. “You all as a community definitely made this possible.”

While the actual accreditation will not be official until approved in June, Ramapo can consider this review a success after Wednesday’s meeting because of the impressive feat of being considered and meeting all standards.