The Middle States Commission on Higher Education at
its most recent session acted to reaffirm the accreditation
of Johns Hopkins, officially ending an intensive two-year
The commission's formal action was the culmination of
a process that included its consideration of the final
report of an evaluation team that visited Johns Hopkins in
March for a series of formal and informal meetings with
senior administration, faculty and students.
The 14-member site team visited JHU specifically to
assess undergraduate programs as part of the university's
reaccredidation process, which occurs every 10 years.
In its conclusions and recommendations, the evaluation
team cited among Johns Hopkins' "significant
accomplishments" the university's faculty excellence,
commitment to improving the undergraduate experience and
its breadth and quality of research opportunities.
The team wrote that the university's Commission on
Undergraduate Education — charged in 2001 with the
goal of re-envisioning the entire undergraduate experience
at Johns Hopkins — had produced a "realistic,
comprehensive and candid" roadmap for the university to
follow. It applauded JHU's leadership at carrying out an
ambitious undergraduate agenda and for having already
implemented many of the recommendations specified in CUE's
final report, which was issued in May 2003.
Related to research, the Middle States report said
that the university's integration of independent and
supervised research into the undergraduate curriculum is
exceptionally well accepted and promoted and that the
opportunities to engage in academic experiences and
off-site study are "remarkable."
The Middle States evaluation team, chaired by Brown
University President Ruth Simmons, comprised 14 senior
administrators and faculty members at some of Johns
Hopkins' peer institutions, including Yale, MIT, Stanford,
Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania.
Paula Burger, vice provost for academic affairs and
vice dean for undergraduate education for the School of
Arts and Sciences, said that the site team was a
distinguished group who understood many of the issues that
Johns Hopkins is confronting.
"It is especially gratifying to have higher education
leaders acknowledge our efforts in this way since they each
have experience and perspective from other very
distinguished institutions that also offer superior
undergraduate programs," said Burger, who chaired the
16-member accreditation steering committee.
Individually, the university's academic divisions were
evaluated on 14 standards that Middle States uses in its
reaccreditation process. All standards were met or exceeded
by each division.
The Middle States team also made suggestions for
improvement, including the continuation of efforts to
increase diversity among the student body and faculty, the
improvement of the teacher evaluation processes and the
strengthening of academic advising efforts. It also cited
the need for sustained engagement with students for the
collaborative development and improvement of student
The team also expressed concern about what it
perceived to be serious problems of academic integrity and
urged that aggressive action be taken to address the
Burger said that each of the divisions has individuals
who are responsible for undergraduate education and that
they will "lead the charge" in following up on
recommendations in their schools, just as they have on CUE
"Moreover, the deans of the five schools with
undergraduate programs intend to continue to meet and thus
sustain the conversation across the university," she said.
"The commitment is there to ensure that undergraduate
education remains a primary focus and that there is
systematic monitoring of our progress in further enhancing
this dimension of Johns Hopkins."
Burger said that the many people who contributed to
the reaccreditation during these past two years should be
commended for their efforts.
"A reaccreditation process is truly a team effort,"
she said. "The time and energy of many busy people were
engaged, and the university owes a debt to those individual
administrators, faculty, staff and students who
participated in each division."
To view the Middle States Commission on Higher
Education's final report, go to