Stony Brook University is seeking reaffirmation of its accreditation

Stony Brook Middle States blahh (ANUSHA MOOKHERJEE / THE STATESMAN)
Stony Brook University depends on their accreditation to get federal and state funding for its various programs and grants. (ANUSHA MOOKHERJEE / THE STATESMAN)

with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), so from March 29 to April 2, an 11-member peer review team will be on campus to make the determination.

The MSCHE is an association of Mid-Atlantic state universities that provides a process for determining if a school’s quality of education matches national standards, referred to as accreditation. It is one of six regional accreditors in the United States and vouches for 530 colleges and universities on the East Coast.

Colleges in the United States seek accreditation because the designation brings a reputation of reliability. Stony Brook has been an accredited member of the MSCHE since the school’s founding in 1957.

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For SBU—including each of its campuses in Manhattan, Southampton and around the world—to receive reaccreditation, an 11-member peer-review team needs to visit the campus. Consisting of ten leaders from other schools and one Stony Brook representative, the team is allowed to tour SBU and ask any student or staff member questions about the university. Stony Brook needs to prove it has met the MSCHE’s 14 standards.

As such, one of the main tasks of Stony Brook’s steer committee, which is responsible for the preparation of the reaccreditation process, is increasing awareness among students and staff. Leading up to the scheduled visit, the committee created a self study to provide the university the opportunity to highlight positive attributes and provide evidence of its continuing excellence.

A town hall meeting about the process in which panel members laid out the details concerning the preparation and scheduling of the visit was held on Feb. 19. In attendance was Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education Charles Robbins, Department of Geosciences Chairman Daniel Davis and Middle States Coordinator Lauren Tacke-Cushing.

“It really is important that we get the word out and people are aware of it,” Robbins said. The team “may visit different schools, different colleges or different departments.”

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The process works the other way as well—members of the Stony Brook community can contact the review team with comments or questions. Robbins said the university will let its students and staff know about future visits and town hall meetings through emails and web postings.

SBU’s reaccreditation “involves everybody in the campus community,” Tacke-Cushing said. She went on to say that the MSCHE is providing three campus forums for undergraduate students, graduates students and staff members so the team can hear the perspective of the Stony Brook Community.

Reaccreditation preparations began in the spring of 2012, with the number of people working on the project hitting 80. Robbins said he is confident SBU will pass.

“The visit and the report in April is certainly something we are looking forward to, we know we are not done at that point,” he said, “but we are feeling very optimistic about where we are and about the preparation.”

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