B.C. Readies For Reaccreditation Team's Site Visit

Self Study Completed

By Sean Smith
Staff Writer

Boston College has concluded a major phase of its decadal reaccreditation process and is preparing for a March visit from representatives of the commission performing the evaluation.

The University recently completed a self-study it began last spring as part of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education's reaccreditation process. Two committees of administrators and faculty carried out the study, which assesses Boston College's compliance with the CIHE Standards for Accreditation and addresses broad institutional issues.

Associate Academic Vice President Robert Newton, who chaired the steering committee for the self-study, said the committee has begun gathering documents to support the statements and conclusions in its report.

As a prelude to the next stage of the process, the chair of the reaccreditation team, Paul Reiss, former president and current professor at St. Michael's College in Vermont, visited the campus last Friday and met with administrators. Reiss will return to BC on March 9 with the eight other team members, who will spend three days performing their evaluation. The team is expected to release its findings in May and CIHE will review that document and the University self-study in the fall.

The CIHE team members are: University of Notre Dame Provost Nathan Hatch; Yale University Deputy Provost Charles Long; Wellesley College Vice President of Administration William Reed; Clemson University Dean of Libraries Joseph Boykin; Marquette University Vice President for Student Affairs Sherri Coe-Perkins; Massachusetts Institute of Technology Planning Director Ovadia Simha; Frank Rothman, a professor of biology at Brown University; and Mary Powers, a professor of sociology at Fordham University.

"Dr. Reiss' visit had two goals," Newton said. "It gave him an opportunity to meet some key people who developed the self-study and get their perspective on the issues the visiting committee should explore. He also began to figure out how he might use the members of his team during the visit.

"The March reaccreditation visit will be highly useful for Boston College," he added. "We can learn a great deal from the expertise of what is obviously a strong visiting committee and get an outside evaluation of our goals for the next decade. There will be opportunities for students, faculty and administrators to share their impressions of the University during the visit."

CIHE is one of five commissions forming the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the oldest of the six accrediting associations in the United States. NEASC accredits more than 1,700 schools, colleges and universities in the six-state region and supports and encourages opportunities for educational collaboration. Boston College received its last accreditation from NEASC in 1986.

The University arranged with CIHE to replace the more traditional comprehensive self-study with a more focused process, administrators said, because it dovetails with several current University initiatives combining academic and administrative resources: the University Academic Planning Council report on long-term academic goals; Project Delta's examination of University efficiency and productivity; and the proposed Middle Campus Project, which entails construction of a new academic building adjacent to a renovated student center.

These "areas of emphasis" formed the core of the self-study, which reviewed 11 CIHE standards as they apply to the University: institutional mission and purpose; planning and evaluation; organization and governance; faculty; student services; library and information resources; physical resources; financial resources; programs and instruction; integrity; and public disclosure.

The document recounts elements of the University's development over the past two decades. For example, the report notes the University's competitive faculty salary and benefit levels, and its strong application and retention rates. Also, it covers such areas as the growth in library facilities and resources, the University's highly successful use of information technology and major construction and renovation projects.

Serving with Newton on the steering committee were administrators representing the three areas of emphasis: Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ, and Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean Michael Smyer (UAPC); Financial Vice President Peter C. McKenzie and Project Delta Manager James Kreinbring (Project Delta); Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin P. Duffy and College of Arts and Sciences Dean J. Robert Barth, SJ (Middle Campus Project).

The steering committee also included two representatives, Prof. Laurel Eisenhauer (SON) and Assoc. Prof. Paul Spagnoli (History), from a second committee formed to complete the overview of the CIHE standards.

That committee's other members were: Duffy; Vice President Margaret A. Dwyer; Buildings and Grounds Director Thomas Devine; Budget Office Director Michael Callnan; Associate Dean for Enrollment and University Registrar Louise Lonabocker; GA&S Associate Dean Patricia DeLeeuw; A&S Associate Dean J. Joseph Burns; Assistant to the Graduate School of Social Work Dean Mary Hogan; Institutional Information Resources Director James O'Neill; Information Technology Assistant Director Paul Dupuis; University Librarian Jerome Yavarkovsky; Monan Professor of Education Philip Altbach; Prof. Thomas Seyfried (Biology); Assoc. Prof. Eileen Sweeney (Philosophy); Assoc. Prof. Harold Petersen (Economics); Assoc. Prof. Judith McMorrow (Law); and Assoc. Prof. Dalmar Fisher (CSOM).

Return to Jan. 16 menu

Return to Chronicle home page