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The Self-Study Process

SUNY Canton began preparing for the current self-study with the appointment of a Self-Study chair and two co-chairs early in 2011. Shortly thereafter, a seventeen member Steering Committee was appointed by the President in consultation with the Self-Study chair and co-chairs.  Subsequently, this Steering Committee, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, acted to select seven Work Group Chairs to conduct the research phase of the Self-Study in Spring 2011. At the same time, the Steering Committee began the process of compiling a repository of mission critical documents that would be needed by the Work Groups during the research phase of the Self-Study. The Steering Committee also encouraged each Work Group Chair to assemble a group of six to eight Work Group participants to work as a team to research and report on topics related to the Middle States Characteristics of Excellence for the Self-Study. During this ramp-up period, the Self-Study Design document was completed and approved by the MSCHE liaison during his initial visit to campus in May 2011.

Upon approval of Work Group team membership by the Steering Committee, completion of the preliminary Middle States data repository and approval of the Design Document by MSCHE, the research phase of the Self-Study began in earnest in the late summer of 2011 with each of seven Work Groups assigned a unique set of research questions tied to particular Middle States Characteristics of Excellence. The seven teams, comprised of 60 faculty, staff, and students, worked diligently from August to November 2011 to conduct research and report their findings to the Steering Committee. As part of this phase of the Self-Study, a Middle States campus-wide survey was conducted via email in November 2011 to gather additional information for the Work Groups to use in crafting their responses to the questions posed in the design document.

Initial Work Group team reports were submitted to the Steering Committee in the middle of November 2011 for review by the Steering Committee. Review teams made up of Steering Committee members, with assistance from other College content experts, conducted the initial review of the seven Work Groups reports from mid-November to mid-December 2011.  The Steering Committee then returned the reports to the respective Work Groups with suggestions for additions, changes and modifications. The Work Groups used the period from mid December 2011 to the end of January 2012 to revise their work based upon the recommendations of the Steering Committee.

In March 2012, the first draft of the Self-Study was created from the Work Group team reports and circulated to the Steering Committee for review and comment.   Several additional iterations of the Self-Study were produced based on the comments and suggestions of Steering Committee members.

In April 2012, a Middle States mock review team was established to evaluate the status of the Self-Study and conduct a “pre-review” review. Five reviewers were recruited to conduct the review. Reviewers were selected based upon their prior program and institutional accreditation experience and an effort was made to enlist individuals who had had little involvement in the current self-study process so that they brought a fresh and independent perspective to the review process. The team included an independent reviewer from outside the College to provide additional independence and insight based upon accreditation experience at another university.

In May 2012, the mock review team reviewed the Self-Study and presented formal findings, conclusions, and suggestions for improvements to the Steering Committee and CUSP. These findings served as a basis for further additions and revisions to the Self-Study during the Summer of 2012 in preparation for release of the document to the campus community in August 2012 for comments and suggestions.