Visiting Team evaluates operations

Phase two in the College’s reaccreditation process is now underway. A Visiting Team from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NESAC) was on campus from Sunday to Wednesday to fulfill the on-site evaluation portion of the process. Composed of administrators from similar colleges, the team toured the campus to acquire a general overview of how the College is addressing self-identified problems.

The Visiting Team’s main purpose was to examine and give an open assessment of the College, in conjunction with the goals and policies it set out in the self-study report.

The team spent most of its time meeting and “having conversations” with the President Schapiro, senior faculty members and administrators, noted one team member who requested anonymity. But there was also time to walk around the campus and observe the College community.

Students had the opportunity to express their concerns to and meet with the team during two meetings on Monday. Many voiced dissatisfaction with the neighborhood system and the increase in bio-cleanups, but were complimentary of first-year entries and WOOLF orientation trips. The team, in turn, asked about alcohol policy and the recent trend of bio-cleanups.

The next and final step in the reaccreditation process is the formal NESAC review, performed by an 18-person commission. After the meetings at the end of this month, the Visiting Team will give an oral report to President Shapiro and submit a preliminary written report to NEASC.

The decision of whether or not to continue accreditation will be based on both the self-study report and the report presented by the Visiting Team, the College’s response to that report and comments from the general public. The review by NESAC will occur in the winter/spring of 2008.

Reaccreditation occurs once every 10 years and is necessary for the College to receive federal funding and grants. The College recently completed the first step in the process: the yearlong self-study period during which the College looked at areas for improvement, culminating in a lengthy report that was submitted to NESAC in August.

Members of the Visiting Team included President James Wright of Dartmouth, who chaired the Team; Christina Bertoni, the dean of graduate studies at the Rhode Island School of Design; Gregory Call, the dean of the faculty at Amherst; and other representative administrators from Princeton, Wellesley, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Yale and Brandeis.

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