Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism. Support independent student journalism.
The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Reaccreditation team comes to Dartmouth

A committee from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges will evaluate Dartmouth this week as part of a reaccreditation process held every 10 years. The team will evaluate the College's academic programs, faculty, students and physical resources, among other elements, to assess the quality of its undergraduate and graduate programs.

The nine-person team, chaired by Amherst College President Anthony Marx, arrived at Dartmouth on Sunday and will continue their evaluation of the College until Wednesday.

The team's evaluation is based on 11 different standards held by the NEASC, including mission, planning, organization, academic programs, faculty, students, information resources, physical resources, financial resources, public disclosure and integrity, according to the organization's website.

After the visit, the committee will submit a report of comments and recommendations to the NEASC.

"The evaluation will give us recommendations of actions to be taken to ensure that we're able to fulfill our mission for the next decade," said Nariah Broadus, special assistant to College President Jim Yong Kim, who has been working extensively on the reaccreditation process.

Although the likelihood of the team rejecting a highly-ranked school like Dartmouth for reaccreditation is low, the process will allow members of the Dartmouth community to take a closer look at the College, according to acting Dean of the College Sylvia Spears, a member of the reaccreditation steering committee.

"The reaccreditation process affords the College with an important opportunity to reflect on the strength and quality of academic programs, students' rich out-of-the-classroom experiences, and other structures that help us to fulfill the mission of the College," Spears said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth.

The evaluation committee will hold an open forum for students at 7 p.m. on Monday at the Top of the Hop. During the forum, students will be able to voice their views, criticisms and suggestions for the College, according to Jason Goodman '12, one of the student organizers.

The committee will also meet with groups from the College's other constituencies to get feedback for their report. The meeting with faculty will take place at 3 p.m. on Monday. Staff will meet at 4 p.m. on Tuesday.

"The committee will speak to professors, staff and administrators, learning about the school," Goodman said. "But the primary constituents of a school are students. Students will have a very important say in the process."

The committee may also randomly select students from around campus and ask them about their experience at the College, according to Dean of Libraries Jeffrey Horrell, a member of the reaccreditation steering committee.

As part of the reaccreditation process, the College recently completed and submitted a self-study report evaluating areas of excellence and opportunities for improvement. The 108-page report, prepared by the 11-member steering committee led by College Provost Carol Folt, was created based on NEASC standards over the past 18 months, according to the reaccreditation website.

"[The self-study] is a comprehensive discussion and analysis of our strengths and opportunities to excel further," Folt said in an e-mail to The Dartmouth. "This self-evaluation, which is at the heart of reaccreditation, is of great value to any institution and Dartmouth has used this very productively."

The report describes Dartmouth's goal to develop clearer and more measurable statements of desired learning outcomes for majors, minors, general education programs and individual courses, according to English professor Thomas Luxon, a member of the committee on program and instruction.

"Dartmouth has made a commitment to developing more direct measures of student learning, both in courses and in departments and academic programs," Luxon said.

The report also calls for more digital materials, because "contemporary scholarship in a number of fields has moved from print to digital in terms of journals, books, and monographs," Horrell said.

The College plans to use the recommendations from the reaccreditation as guidance for the upcoming strategic planning process, according to Horrell.

"I think the report itself serves as a foundation for moving forward," Horrell said. "The self-study will be a great benchmark and point of departure for the work that comes."

The evaluation committee will submit its final report, based on the self-study report and the site visit, to the NEASC in January 2011. The College will then begin its NEASC commission review in March 2011.