Accreditation

Accreditation

To quickly navigate to various sections of this webpage, click on the links below or scroll down.

About MSCHE
Links and information about the Middle States Commission on Higher Education

Accreditation Review Cycle for Bryn Athyn College
Key dates and steps in the accreditation process

Self-Study 2022: What is a Self-Study?
Learn more about how insitutions build their self-exploritory report.

 

Self-Study 2022: Timetable
Dates and current progress of Self-Study

Self-Study 2022: Institutional Priorities
The four identified areas of attention

Self-Study 2022: Intended Outcomes
Bryn Athyn's four outcomes and their impact on our institution

Self-Study 2022: Organization
Lists of individuals who make up the steering committee and various working groups

About MSCHE

"Bryn Athyn College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).  MSCHE is recognized as an accrediting organization by the United States Department of Education."

MSCHE logoIn order to maintain its accreditation status, Bryn Athyn College must sustain compliance with the MSCHE Standards and Requirements of Affiliation (https://www.msche.org/standards/) and MSCHE policies and procedures ( https://www.msche.org/policies-guidelines/ ).

View more information about MSCHE  and the MSCHE Mission.

Accreditation Review Cycle for Bryn Athyn College

Annual Institutional Update (AIU): (July 12 – August 16 2021)
The AIU requires BAC to provide key data indicators on an annual basis, including but not limited to enrollment, financial information, and measures of student achievement. The data submitted from the AIU are aggregated into trends for use in other monitoring and review processes.

Self-Study:  (April 2022)
Every 8 years Bryn Athyn College is required to complete a self-study.  This includes a rigorous self-examination of all aspects of the college culminating in a written report that is presented to peer evaluators followed by an on-site visit.  The peer evaluators recommend an accreditation action based on their assessment of the institution’s compliance with the Standards and the Requirements of Affiliation and MSCHE Policies.  The Commission then reviews the recommendation of the peer evaluators and issues formal action hopefully leading to reaffirmation of accreditation for another 8 years.

Mid-Point Peer Review (MPPR):  (2026)
The Mid-Point Peer Review, or MPPR, is a peer review of the accumulated financial data, student achievement data and responses to Commission recommendations (if requested in a prior Commission action) submitted by institutions through a series of Annual Institutional Updates. The MPPR occurs 4 years after the completion of a Self-Study.

 

Self-Study 2022: What is a Self-Study?

Every 8 years Bryn Athyn College is required to complete a self-study.  This process begins two years prior to the formal submittal of the self-study report.   The institution chooses two people to lead the institution through the Self-Study process.  The Self-Study co-chairs and the Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) attend the Self-Study Institute where MSCHE staff walk through the complete process.

The Self-Study includes a rigorous self-examination of all aspects of the college to ensure compliance with the MSCHE Standards and Requirements of Affiliation.  This is also a time for the college to reflect on how it achieves its mission, take note of what it does well and identify opportunities for improvement.

The co-chairs assemble working groups that are representative and inclusive of all areas on campus to assess and collect evidence of compliance.  It is important that the perspectives of all constituencies are considered.  For that reason, the working groups are comprised of faculty, staff, administration, students, alumni and trustees.

The findings of the working groups culminate in a 100-page written report that is presented to a group of 6-10 peer evaluators carefully selected by MSCHE staff to help the college focus on self-identified institutional priorities.  The peer evaluators read the report and review the evidence compiled by the college thoroughly.  This is followed by a three day on campus visit in which the visiting team will interview a wide range of constituencies to determine compliance with the Standards and the Requirements of Affiliation and MSCHE Policies.

At the end of the visit the peer evaluators will recommend an accreditation action.  The Commission then reviews the recommendation of the peer evaluators and issues formal action leading to reaffirmation of accreditation for another 8 years, a warning with follow-up actions, or requiring the college to show cause as to how they can remediate serious non-compliance.

 

Self-Study 2022: Timetable

Phase 1: 
Chairs attend Self-Study Institute  October  2019 
Self-Study Steering Committee and Working Group chairs identified and charged.  November -December  2019 
Begin drafting the Self-Study Design  December  2019 
Working Groups start to analyze data and develop lines of inquiry  April – May  2020 
Self-Study Design accepted by MSCHE  August 2020 
 
Phase 2: 
Working Groups meet bi-monthly, gather and analyze data and submit monthly progress reports to Steering Committee  August - December  2020 
Steering Committee meets monthly to review Working Group progress reports  August - December  2020 
MSCHE Liaison Self-Study Prep Visit (virtual) September  2020 
 
Phase 3: 
Team Chair and visit dates chosen January - March  2021   ✓
Begin writing draft of Self-Study Report   January -February  2021   ✓
First draft of Self-Study Report submitted to the campus community for feedback  May  2021   ✓
Self-Study revisions incorporated into a second draft; Evidence Inventory compiled June - August  2021 
Second draft of Self-Study Report submitted to the campus community for feedback  September 2021 
Draft shared with Team chair in preparation for campus visit.  Prior to October 8 2021 
Team Chair’s preliminary visit to campus.  October 25-26  2021 
Final revisions and review of evidence inventory  November-December  2021  
Self-Study and Evidence submitted to MSCHE.  Prior to February 18 2022   
Evaluation team visit. April 3-6  2022   
Team Report Issued and Institutional Response  April 2022  
Commission meets to determine action. Visits after April 15 are acted on by the Commission at the November meeting.  June 2022   

 

Self-Study 2022: Institutional Priorities

Bryn Athyn’s institutional priorities represent areas of significant educational and operational focus and are topics of active conversation among various stakeholders on campus. The initial draft was first articulated by the Self-Study Co-chairs and the Accreditation Liaison Officer after they attended the MSCHE Self-Study Institute. These priorities have been modified and honed through a consultative process. Feedback has been sought from the following individuals and groups:

  • President
  • President’s Cabinet
  • Self-Study Steering Committee
  • Self-Study Working Groups
  • LIONS Committee (a retention-focused committee with cross-campus representation)
  • Faculty Council
  • College Committee of the Board of Trustees
  • End-of-year meeting of all employees

Bryn Athyn’s institutional priorities are as follows:

Priority 1: New Church Higher Education
How do we meaningfully draw on our New Church educational mission to educate and better prepare the members of our diverse student body for their futures, and how do we grow as an intellectual center for Swedenborgian research and thought?

Priority 2:  Student Success
What strengths do students develop through their education at Bryn Athyn College? 

Priority 3: Finding a Sustainable Model
What financial and enrollment models position us for sustainability? 

Priority 4: Governance
How can we improve our governance—both its model and its execution—to help our New Church educational mission flourish?

Priorities 1 and 2 focus on education and stem directly from the mission. They have driven curricular development in conjunction with Priority 3. Priorities 3 and 4 focus on operations and represent key areas of both challenge and opportunity.

Each priority has been articulated as a question in part to represent the nature of the campus dialogue related to each priority and in part to guide and connect the lines of inquiry in our Self-Study.

 

Self-Study 2022: Intended Outcomes

Bryn Athyn College seeks four key outcomes from engaging in the Self-Study process:

  1. To maintain accreditation by meeting the Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation. Reaccreditation allows us to continue to offer our students a strong and ever-improving education, recognized and endorsed by our higher education peers.
  2. To continue to assess and analyze areas that need improvement and commit to strategies to strengthen those areas. We aim to enhance the work of our regular assessment processes by using the Self-Study to evaluate institutional effectiveness more comprehensively, particularly with regard to the institutional priorities identified above.
  3. Align and strengthen the vision among stakeholders of what mission attainment looks like. Because the Self-Study process is rooted in institutional mission, and because determining how Bryn Athyn can best meet its mission is a current conversation on campus and among alumni, we will use the process to clarify and highlight what is effective with regard to mission-focused education, and to explore and address what is not.
  4. Engage the College community in an inclusive and transparent self-appraisal process that actively and deliberately seeks to involve members from all areas of our community. For any Self-Study to be meaningful, the process needs to effectively engage all members of the campus community. In addition, improving communication is a priority on campus at the present time, in response to a recent employee engagement survey (May 2019) that highlighted a need for it.

 

Self-Study 2022: Organization

Self-Study Steering Committee
Name (Working Group)  Title 
Daniel Allen (Self-Study Co-chair; Working Group 6)  Chief Financial Officer 
Wendy Closterman (Self-Study Co-chair; Working Group 5)  Dean of Academics and Faculty, Chief Academic Officer; Professor of History and Greek 
Kelly Ballard (Working Group 3)  Head of Master of Special Education Program; Assistant Professor of Education; Member of Early Alert and Academic Advising Committees  
Caira Bongers (Working Group 6)  Assistant Professor of Mathematics 
Robin Cooper (Working Group 4)  Associate Dean of Academic Affairs; Assistant Professor of English and Writing  
Jennifer DeLuca (Working Group 2)  Head of Academic Advising  
Andrew Dibb (Working Group 5)  Dean of Theological School; Associate Professor of Religion 
Kurt Frey (Working Group 3)  Assistant Professor of Psychology 
Thane Glenn (Working Group 1)  Director of the Institute of Swedenborg Studies; Head of the Master of Religious Studies; Associate Professor of English, Religion, and Writing  
Melodie Greer (Working Group 8)  Senior Data Administrator  
Lelia Howard (Working Group 8)  Chief Information Officer; Accreditation Liaison Officer  
Kristin King (Member at Large)  Chair of the Language and Literature Department; Professor of English and Writing 
William Larrousse (Working Group 2)  Vice President of Enrollment Management 
Suzanne Nelson (Working Group 4)  Dean of Students; Assistant Professor of Nutrition 
Angela Rose (Working Group 1)  Chair of the Education Department / Assistant Professor of Education  
Renée Rosenfeld (Working Group 7)  Director of Human Resources  
Dan Synnestvedt (Working Group 7)  Faculty Council Chair; Associate Professor of Philosophy 
TBD  Student Government Association Representative 

 

 

Working Group 1 – (Standard 1:  Mission and Goals)
Name  Title 
Thane Glenn (Co-chair)  Director of the Institute of Swedenborg Studies; Head of the Master of Religious Studies; Associate Professor of English, Religion, and Writing  
Angela Rose (Co-chair)  Chair of the Education Department / Assistant Professor of Education  
Leah Fisher  Associate Director of Campus Visits 
Bill O’Neill  Associate Director of Athletics; Head Coach 
Andi Sibley  Reference and User Services Librarian 
Aram Yardumian  Head of the Human Society Major; Assistant Professor of Anthropology 

 

 

Working Group 2 – (Standard II: Ethics and Integrity)
Name  Title 
Jennifer DeLuca (Co-chair)  Head of Academic Advising  
William Larrousse (Co-Chair)  Vice President of Enrollment Management 
Jonathan Carr  Coordinator of Student Activities and Multicultural Student Programming 
Kimberly Clark  Director of Financial Aid 
Marcy Latta  Associate Professor of Philosophy and Writing 
Bill O'Neill  Associate Director of Athletics; Head Coach 

 

Working Group 3 – (Standard III: Design and Delivery of the Student Learning Experience)
Name  Title 
Kelly Ballard (Co-chair)  Head of Master of Special Education Program; Assistant Professor of Education; Member of Early Alert and Academic Advising Committees  
Kurt Frey (Co-chair)  Assistant Professor of Psychology 
Fredrik Bryntesson  Chair of the Science Department; Associate Professor of Biology 
Wendy Closterman  Dean of Academics and Faculty, Chief Academic Officer; Professor of History and Greek 
Jonathan Kline  Chair of the Arts Department; Assistant Professor of Art History, 
Sean Lawing  Chair of the History and Social Sciences Department; Assistant Professor of History and German 
Casey Schauder  Registrar; Designated School Officer 
Neil Simonetti  Chair of the Business, Computer Science, and Mathematics Department; Director of the Interdisciplinary Program; Professor of Business, Computer Science, and Mathematics 
Sarah Wong  Assistant Professor in Education; Director of Field Placement and Certification and Compliance Officer; Principal Designated School Officer 

 

 

Working Group 4 – (Standard IV: Support of the Student Experience)
Name  Title 
Robin Cooper (Co-chair)  Associate Dean of Academic Affairs; Assistant Professor of English and Writing  
Suzanne Nelson (Co-chair)  Dean of Students; Assistant Professor of Nutrition 
Michael Austin  Director of Residence Life 
Jonathan Carr  Coordinator of Student Activities and Multicultural Student Programming 
Jack Crawford  Coach
Jennifer DeLuca  Head of Academic Advising  
Nicole D’Amico  Associate Director of Admissions 
Casey Schauder  Registrar 
Kimberly Clark  Director of Financial Aid 
Madeline Berger  Bursar 
Grant Schnarr  Chaplain; Associate Professor of Religion 
Scott Jones  Director of Health and Wellness 

 

 

Working Group 5 – (Standard V: Educational Effectiveness Assessment)
Name  Title 
Wendy Closterman (Co-chair)  Dean of Academics and Faculty, Chief Academic Officer; Professor of History and Greek 
Andrew Dibb (Co-chair)  Dean of Theological School; Associate Professor of Religion 
Fredrik Bryntesson  Chair of the Science Department; Associate Professor of Biology 
Scott Frazier  Chair of the Religion, Sacred Language, and Philosophy Department; Associate Professor of Religion 
Nina Phillips  Assistant Professor of Education 
Kiri Rogers  Chair of the Psychology Department: Assistant Professor of Psychology 

 

 

Working Group 6 – (Standard VI:  Planning, Resources, and Institutional Improvement) 
Name  Title 
Daniel Allen (Co-chair)  Chief Financial Officer  
Caira Bongers (Co-chair)  Assistant Professor of Mathematics 
Michael Austin  Director of Residence Life 
Richard Daum  Director of Network Services 
Felipe Ranjo  Admissions Counselor 
Carol Traveny  Swedenborg Library Director 

 

 

Working Group 7 – (Standard VII: Governance, Leadership, and Administration)
Name  Title 
Renee Rosenfeld (Co-chair)  Director of Human Resources  
Dan Synnestvedt (Co-chair)  Faculty Council Chair; Associate Professor of Philosophy 
Martha Gyllenhaal  Faculty Council Immediate Past Chair; Associate Professor of Art and Art History  
Steve Kitchen  Senior Network Operations Technician 
Philip Zuber  Secretary and General Counsel for the Academy of the New Church 
Representative to be named  Student Government Association Member 

 

Working Group (Compliance and Evidence Inventory)
Name  Title 
Melodie Greer (Co-chair)  Senior Data Administrator 
Lelia Howard (Co-chair)  Chief Information Officer; Accreditation Liaison Officer  
Carol Traveny  Swedenborg Library Director