March 29, 2010

Empire State College's Accreditation Is Reaffirmed

(Saratoga Springs, N.Y. – March 26, 2010) SUNY Empire State College has had its accreditation reaffirmed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The reaffirmation came after the college completed a self-study, submitted a report, and was visited by a team selected by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. On March 4, the commission reaffirmed the college’s accreditation and commended it for the quality of its self-study process and report. A periodic report will be due in five years. The next self-study evaluation will be in 2019 – 2020.

“The Middle States accreditation process is about quality assurance,” Interim Provost Hugh B. Hammett said. The commission’s 10-year reaffirmation of our accreditation is a resounding affirmation of the college’s Vision 2015 statement, where we have promised to document our academic quality, the quality of our faculty and staff and of our service to each other, and our institutional effectiveness and efficiency. What a terrific boost as we tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

The college’s Middle States Steering Committee consisted of 25 people across the college’s 34 locations. Each regional center or affiliated unit completed its own self study. Then, the steering committee members led a number of task forces across the college, with members at every level of the college from secretarial staff to administrators. Each task force put together a response to various Middle States standards, submitting a draft report to the steering committee and leadership of the college, which was then finalized by the two steering committee co-chairs, Associate Provost Marjorie Lavin and Utica Unit Coordinator and SUNY Distinguished Professor Reed Coughlan.

The overall self-study was completed in August 2009, and reviewed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Then, representatives from the commission spent “three intense days” visiting multiple college locations and interviewing students, alumni, faculty and staff in order to get their unbiased perspective, according to Jonathan Franz, dean of the Genesee Valley Center (GVC) in Rochester, and a steering committee member. One benefit of the self-study process, said GVC Associate Dean Lynne Wiley, is that insight gained can be used by the college itself. “It’s important to recognize that something we do for accreditation is also good for self-reflection, to identify strengths, challenges and new directions. It lets an institution use its own review as a basis for institutional improvement,” Wiley said.

SUNY Empire State College offers adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York. Students learn through independent studies, seminars, residencies and online courses. They also may earn credit for prior college-level learning from work and life experience. The college serves nearly 20,000 students worldwide with multiple locations in New York state and online. For more information, visit

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David M. Henahan, Director of Communications
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