Richard Stockton College has been approved for re-accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The college also received two commendations for its progress and the quality of its self-study report, according to information posted June 28 by the commission on its website. The college must file a report by June 1, 2017, showing further progress on its strategic planning process and how it is continuing to assess student learning.
Stockton President Herman J. Saatkamp issued a statement saying he is gratified that the college’s accreditation was reaffirmed in such a positive way.
Accreditation is important to colleges because it is a recognized stamp of approval for parents and students, and without it colleges are ineligible for federal financial aid programs. Accreditation is reviewed every 10 years.
Kean University in Union was put on probation in June because of a lack of evidence that it is in compliance with four of the 14 standards in the accreditation process. The college remains accredited for now but must submit a follow-up report by Sept. 1 showing how it is meeting those standards.
The accreditation process takes as long as two years. The college must provide a detailed self-study report, and almost 100 staff members at Stockton participated in the process. Colleges are expected to meet 14 standards that include having a clearly defined mission, and effective and efficient allocation of staff and facilities.
The review process looks at student admissions and retention, support services, educational programs, faculty and student assessment.
Middle States’ review team report noted Stockton’s good financial status, including the doubling of its endowment over the past five years. The review also cited the careful expansion of the campus to accommodate the growing student body while still preserving the local ecology of the Pinelands.
The report cited programs available for freshmen and at-risk students and Stockton’s commitment to community service. With increasing enrollment, the report said it will be critical that the college carefully manage its enrollment and retention plans.
Provost Harvey Kesselman said the review process has become more rigorous, with a strong focus on accountability. He cited the college’s new “essential learning outcomes” campaign as an example of how Stockton is meeting 21st-century challenges.
The campaign, begun in March, lists 10 skills all students will acquire before they graduate: adapting to change, communication skills, global awareness, creativity and innovation, critical thinking, ethical reasoning, information literacy and research skills, program competence, quantitative reasoning, and teamwork/collaboration.
“This is the new normal,” Kesselman said. “It’s a way of demonstrating to the public that we are fulfilling our mission.”
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