By Bella Omar
At SGA’s Nov. 21 virtual meeting, Mark Nicholas, assistant vice president for assessment, accreditation, and strategic planning, delivered a presentation on how the University is currently being reaccredited.
[Editor’s Note: See “Framingham State’s 10-year accreditation review scheduled for 2024” in the Oct. 27, 2022 Issue.]
“We go through this process every 10 years and every five years within those ten-year brackets,” Nicholas said.
Framingham State is now approaching a comprehensive reaccreditation in 2024.
NECHE stands for New England Commission for Higher Education, and it is Framingham State’s accrediting body.
NECHE ensures institutions of higher education such as Framingham State meet the minimum quality standards in terms of facilities, space, location and “just about every aspect of the University,” Nicholas said.
“This is a very, very important process for the University because each one of you as students is only able to receive federal financial aid as a result of our positive accreditation standing with NECHE,” he added.
In the spring, “We’re going to have a visiting team come in and verify on the ground whether we meet the quality standards,” said Nicholas.
The chair of the evaluation team is expected to be on campus on Dec. 1 to meet with President Nancy Niemi, himself, and several others, not including any students, Nicholas said.
Nicholas urged students to mark their calendars for April 7-10 because “somewhere between then, we are going to have a student forum that will meet the visiting team,” he said.
This meeting will consist of candid conversations with students about their experiences in order to verify whether the 100-page narrative put together by about 50 administrators and faculty members accurately represents the student body.
Nicholas said, “They will ask you various questions about your experience, your sore touch points, the things that you’re happy about, things that you dislike, things that the institution can improve.”
Nicholas then shared a link to the interface that was created for the self study, which is currently about 110 pages long.
“We’re sending this out for what we’re calling the ‘NECHE Roadshow,’ where we‘re taking it to governance, we’re taking it to the exec team, we’re taking it to faculty and staff. And the reason I'm here is to bring it to you as students,” Nicholas said.
Then he reviewed the sections of the self-study narrative, which is organized into 9 separate parts.
“This is our first draft, so we have until February to make changes,” Nicholas said after encouraging students to go through the document and submit their feedback.
Raffi Elkoury, SGA Vice President, then opened the floor to questions for Nicholas.
Senator Megan Rokicki asked, “I was wondering if there was a guideline pertaining to specific credit requirements that schools need to have?”
Nicholas explained how standard four discusses the academic program in depth.
The meeting then moved to Open Forum, where the current concern about damaged recreational area items in residence halls and how students will be charged for them was explained by Rokicki.
“There have been a couple of people coming up to me about broken pool sticks in a lot of the recreational areas throughout campus and saying that all of us are going to have to pay for them if no one fesses up. They’re wondering what can be done about that,” she said.
SGA President Evelyn Campbell said that speaking with an RA would be appropriate for those students who are concerned.
Elkoury closed Open Forum and passed the floor to Campbell for the swearing in of new senators.
Natalia Lopez, Warren Serunjogi, and Shiba Nankya were all sworn in but will have a live ceremony at the next in-person meeting.
In Campbell’s President’s Report, she thanked everyone for attending the safety walk that SGA hosted the week prior.
SGA had also pushed for a ramp to be built on the path outside of Peirce Hall where there were originally steps and Campbell announced that there is now a ramp being implemented.
“So we’re creating change. That’s been really cool to see,” she added.