Johns Hopkins Gazette | April 20, 2009
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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 20, 2009 | Vol. 38 No. 31
University Unveils Self-Exam

Midway report will guide 2014 reaccreditation process

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

The university has released online a draft of its 2009 Periodic Review Report, a 140-page self-examination of the university and its academic divisions that will help set the stage for Johns Hopkins' upcoming reaccreditation in 2014.

The formal evaluation, which occurs every 10 years and involves a site visitation, is performed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The university's last accreditation site visit occurred in 2004, following extensive self-study preparation focused on undergraduate education.

The Periodic Review Report allows the university an opportunity to reflect meaningfully on its current status and future aspirations as a world leader in higher education.

The report planning and preparation process began 18 months ago and is being led by a 15- member committee of faculty and administrators who represent each academic division. The committee, which is chaired by Edgar Roulhac, vice provost for academic services, first assembled on Jan. 24, 2008, and has met regularly since.

For this type of report, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education asks its member institutions to focus on three of its 14 accreditation standards: planning, resource allocation and institutional renewal; institutional assessment; and assessment of student learning. Roulhac said that in a climate of greater accountability, there is heightened awareness and interest in each of these areas.

The report gives an overview of the university and each academic division, assessment plans and processes, and examples of how assessment results are linked to future planning and resource allocation. For example, the report points out how more professional staff support has been allocated for undergraduates in public health, one of the largest majors, in order to give them more individualized attention in advising on course selection and other matters.

The document also gives an overview of budget and enrollment projections, and includes a chapter on universitywide accomplishments, challenges and opportunities.

Scott Zeger, acting provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, said that the study provides important information that will be used to advance the institution's academic enterprise and mission.

"We are not just generating a report and putting it on a shelf," Zeger said. "Contained within this self-study is important guidance that comes directly from each academic division that will enable us to assess our status, enhance our strengths, address our weaknesses and focus our resources wisely."

Zeger said the report is significant in that, for perhaps the first time in the university's history, representatives from all the divisions came together to focus on the issue of assessment. As a result, a universitywide standing committee will be formed and report to the provost on how different assessment approaches and successes can be better shared among all academic divisions.

"What was very gratifying is that the members of the 2009 Periodic Review Report Committee asked to continue to meet and focus on assessment even after this planning process was done," he said.

In addition to providing a blueprint for each division, the report serves to tell the accreditation story to the entire university community, Roulhac said.

"The report doesn't so much lay out all the specifics of what we will do next as much as set forth a process by which such judgments can be made and appropriate activities developed," he said.

The draft report, including a list of committee members, can be found at:

A final version will be submitted to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education on June 1. The university community is encouraged to review the report and provide feedback.


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