The George Washington University is in compliance with each of the seven standards established by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and has been reaccredited, the group determined late last month.
“The accreditation process is an exhaustive examination of virtually every corner of our university, especially our educational and research missions and our shared aspirations for the future,” said GW President Thomas LeBlanc. “This positive outcome is truly a testament to the quality and contributions of our students, faculty, staff and Board of Trustees.”
The determination comes after MSCHE’s review of GW’s mission and goals; ethics and integrity; design and delivery of the student learning experience; support of the student experience; educational effectiveness assessment; planning, resources and institutional improvement; and governance, leadership and administration—representing the seven characteristics of excellence needed for accreditation.
In its report, a MSCHE team of academics and administrators, who visited GW in March, noted dozens of accomplishments and “exemplary practices” among the seven standards and provided some suggestions and recommendations for continued improvement.
“Our review team found George Washington University to be an impressive example of a nationally recognized urban research university,” the report reads.
Among the accomplishments were the university’s strategic planning, a culture of assessment, the efficacy of GW’s online learning opportunities, a “unified and intellectually coherent undergraduate educational experience,” efforts to improve retention and student support, exemplary board governance procedures and responsible fiscal management.
Among the suggestions or recommendations, the team reinforced the importance of GW’s commitment to improving the student experience and investing in access and success as well as monitoring student surveys and other feedback for areas of continued improvement. The team also suggested that GW develop more effective academic advising and a long-term plan for capital improvements.
“It is always gratifying when peers from other institutions validate the quality of the educational opportunities we provide, the progress we have made in fulfilling our research mission, our drive to improve and our commitment to acting in a responsible and ethical manner,” Provost Forrest Maltzman said.
Preparing a self-study was the first step the university took, starting in early 2016, to prepare for the reaccreditation.
A steering committee, led by Paul Duff, professor of religion, and Cheryl Beil, associate provost for academic planning and assessment, formed, along with working groups comprising representatives of all 10 GW schools. With the help of the broader university community, the committee finalized the 110-page self-study and submitted it to the MSCHE.
In October 2017, the chair of the reaccreditation team, Wake Forest University Provost Rogan Kersh, met with a number of university stakeholders and in March, the entire visiting team came to talk to students, faculty, staff and Board of Trustees members to assess whether the self-study accorded with on-campus findings. At the conclusion, the team shared with GW a positive briefing and submitted to the commission its full report, which informed the final determination.
In addition to reaffirming the university’s accreditation, the MSCHE commended GW for the quality of the self-study process and report.
“Reaccreditation is a significant accomplishment, and I am pleased that the commission recognized the great work of our faculty, staff and students who were integral in our completing this process and those who led it,” Dr. Maltzman said.
GW’s accreditation remains in effect until the next review period in 2026-27.