How to Interpret and Apply the Characteristics of Excellence: A

How to Interpret and Apply
the Characteristics of
Excellence: A Framework for
Determining Compliance
Karen Stout, President
Montgomery County Community College
MSCHE Commissioner
 Format of Standards
 Fundamental Elements
 Determining Compliance
 Findings and Follow-up
 Additional Resources
14 Standards
 Institutional
Context (1-7)
 Educational Effectiveness (8-14)
 Each section ends with a Standard on
Developed with input from members
 Each member institution demonstrates
compliance in light of its mission
Format of Standards
 Context
 Fundamental Elements
 Optional Analysis and Evidence
Fundamental Elements
and the Team Visit
Must be viewed in the context of the
institution’s mission and its Self-Study
 Help to frame the Team’s questions
 Together, not individually, the
Fundamental Elements constitute and
encompass the Standard
 Not to be used as a simple checklist
Determining Compliance
Consider the institution’s mission and
 What
is the institution trying to accomplish?
 How well are those aims being achieved?
 How is the institution improving aspects of the
Apply the Standards to the institution using
professional judgment and common sense
Determining Compliance
Does the institution demonstrate sufficient
evidence of compliance with the Standard
under review?
 Does
the Self-Study narrative demonstrate
 Do the supporting documents and answers to
interview questions support the claims of the
 Does the institution have realistic plans for
Looking for Evidence
Systematic evidence vs. assertions,
anecdotes, and future plans
 Evidence of consistency across operations
and offerings
 Evidence of current and sustainable
 Implemented
processes and results
 Structures to ensure sustainability
When in Doubt…
Consider the impact of any gaps or
shortcomings in addressing the Standard
 Does the institution understand the intent
of the Standard?
 Is the institution recognizing and actively
addressing the gaps or shortcomings?
Findings and Follow-Up
Types of Findings
 Significant
Progress, or
Exemplary Practices
 Suggestions
 Recommendations
 Requirements
Types of Follow-Up
 5th-year Periodic
Review Reports
 Progress Reports
 Monitoring Reports
 Small Team Visits
Findings and Follow-Up
Significant Accomplishments, Significant
Progress, or Exemplary/Innovative Practices
 No
follow-up required
 Team’s opportunity to highlight institution’s
 No
follow-up required
 Team’s opportunity to provide collegial advice for
institutional improvement
Actions needed to assure continuing
compliance with the Standards
 Routinely addressed by the institution
through its 5th-year Periodic Review Report
 Team may request earlier follow-up:
 Only
in the Confidential Brief to the Commission
 Progress Report or Monitoring Report
Actions needed to achieve compliance with
the Standards
 Team report must indicate “The institution
does not meet this Standard”
 Team must propose an action of warning or
 Only
in the Confidential Brief to the Commission
 Must be tied to specific Standards
Additional Resources
Characteristics of Excellence
 Team Visits
 Range of Commission Actions on
 Your evaluation team chair and team
 The Middle States Vice President
assigned to the host institution

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