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Eastern receives positive outcome from accreditation review

Published on December 01, 2021

Eastern receives positive outcome from accreditation review

Regional accrediting agency praises Eastern's self-study

New England
A student walks through campus on an autumn afternoon this fall semester. 

Eastern Connecticut State University, Connecticut’s only public liberal arts college, has received continuing accreditation from the New England Commission on Higher Education (NECHE), the regional accrediting agency for colleges and universities in the six New England states.  The Commission’s action is the best possible outcome for any institution undergoing a comprehensive reaccreditation — an interim report is due in five years and the next comprehensive evaluation and review team visit will take place in 10 years.

The commission praised Eastern’s 100-page Self Study for its candor, comprehensiveness and use of data to analyze the University’s operations. The commission also acknowledged high impact practices on Eastern’s campus such as undergraduate research and service learning. 

“There is no more important recognition or validation for a college or university than regional accreditation,” said Núñez. “Institutions cannot disburse federal financial aid, nor can their students receive such aid without accreditation.  Accreditation is also a critical measure of academic quality that assures graduates that their degrees are being granted by a reputable institution.  I could not be more pleased with this result, and I commend the entire campus community for working together on this mission-critical project.”

Three areas the commission requested that Eastern focus on in its five-year Interim Report, due in fall 2025, were the implementation timeline and assessment of the revised Liberal Arts Core currently being developed by the faculty; use of evaluation and assessment to inform planning and resource allocation; and enrollment management.

“Peer evaluation is at the heart of regional accreditation in America and has served us well for more than 100 years,” said Eastern Provost William Salka. “Accreditation has a critical role to play in ensuring that we are delivering on our promise to our students, as it confirms our academic rigor; our financial stability; and the accountability we need to ensure the public trust.”

The accreditation process began with preparation of a Self-Study, which is designed to allow institutions to examine their operations and conduct a candid and objective analysis of their strengths and challenges.  Eastern’s Self-Study began in 2018 and was managed by a 20-member steering committee led by Professor Barbara Liu and Dean Jennifer Brown.

The Self-Study Report that was submitted to NECHE responded to the accrediting agency’s nine standards: (1) Mission/Purposes, (2) Planning and Evaluation, (3) Organization and Governance, (4) Academic Programs, (5) Students, (6) Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship, (7) Institutional Resources, (8) Educational Effectiveness, and (9) Integrity, Transparency, and Public Disclosure. 

“I am excited by the direction Eastern is heading,” said Núñez in announcing the continuing accreditation to the campus community. “The recommendations of the New England Commission on Higher Education will help guide us as we continue to strengthen our academic programs and the services we provide students.”

Written by Ed Osborn