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Working Group 1: Mission, Goals, and Integrity

Standard 1: Mission and Goals
The institutionís mission clearly defines its purpose within the context of higher education and indicates who the institution serves and what it intends to accomplish. The institutionís stated goals, consistent with the aspirations and expectations of higher education clearly specify how the institution will fulfill its mission. The mission and goals are developed and recognized by the institution with the participation of its members and its governing body and are used to develop and shape its programs and practices and to evaluate its effectiveness.

Fundamental Elements of Mission and Goals
An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate the following attributes or activities:

  • clearly defined mission and goals that:
    • guide faculty, administration, staff and governing bodies in making decisions related to planning, resource allocation, program and curriculum development, and definition of program outcomes;
    • include support of scholarly and creative activity, at levels and of the kinds appropriate to the institutionís purposes and character;
    • are developed through collaborative participation by those who facilitate or are otherwise responsible for institutional improvement and developments;
    • are periodically evaluated and formally approved;
    • are publicized and widely known by the institutionís members;
  • mission and goals that relate to external as well as internal contexts and constituencies;
  • institutional goals that are consistent with mission; and goals that focus on student learning, other outcomes, and institutional improvement.

Standard 6: Integrity
In the conduct of its programs and activities involving the public and the constituencies it serves, the institution demonstrates adherence to ethical standards and its own stated policies, providing support for academic and intellectual freedom.

Fundamental Elements of Integrity
An accredited institution is expected to possess or demonstrate the following attributes or activities:

  • fair and impartial processes, published and widely available, to address student grievances, such as alleged violations of institutional policies. The institution assures that student grievances are addressed promptly, appropriately, and equitably;
  • fair and impartial practices in the hiring, evaluation and dismissal of employees;
  • sound ethical practices and respect for individuals through its teaching, scholarship/research, service, and administrative practice, including the avoidance of conflict of interest or the appearance of such conflict in all its activities and among all its constituents;
  • equitable and appropriately consistent treatment of constituencies, as evident in such areas as the application of academic requirements and policies, student discipline, student evaluation, grievance procedures, faculty promotion, tenure, retention and compensation, administrative review, curricular improvement, and institutional governance and management;
  • a climate of academic inquiry and engagement supported by widely disseminated policies regarding academic and intellectual freedom;
  • an institutional commitment to principles of protecting intellectual property rights;
  • a climate that fosters respect among students, faculty, staff, and administration for a range of backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives;
  • honesty and truthfulness in public relations announcements, advertisements, and recruiting and admissions materials and practices;
  • required and elective courses that are sufficiently available to allow students to graduate within the published program length;
  • reasonable, continuing student access to paper or electronic catalogs;
  • when catalogs are available only electronically, the institutionís web page provides a guide or index to catalog information for each catalog available electronically;
  • when catalogs are available only electronically, the institution archives copies of the catalogs as sections or policies are updated;
  • changes and issues affecting institutional mission, goals, sites, programs, operations, and other material changes are disclosed accurately and in a timely manner to the institutionís community, to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, and to any other appropriate regulatory bodies;
  • availability of factual information about the institution, such as the Middle States Commission on Higher Education annual data reporting, the self-study or periodic review report, the team report, and the Commissionís action, accurately reported and made publicly available to the institutionís community;
  • information on institution-wide assessments available to prospective students, including graduation, retention, certification and licensing pass rates, and other outcomes as appropriate to the programs offered;
  • institutional information provided in a manner that ensures student and public access, such as print, electronic, or video presentation;
  • fulfillment of all applicable standards and reporting and other requirements of the Commission; and
  • periodic assessment of the integrity evidenced in institutional policies, processes, practices, and the manner in which these are implemented.
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