About Middle States
Chesapeake College is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104 (267-284-5000 or www.msche.org). Middle States is a voluntary, non-governmental, peer-based institutional accrediting membership association dedicated to educational excellence and improvement through peer evaluation and accreditation. Middle States is recognized by the United States Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education. As the MSCHE explains: “The accrediting process is intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of higher education, making it worthy of public confidence and minimizing the scope of external control.” Chesapeake College’s accreditation by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education serves as a stamp of approval that does a number of things:
- demonstrates the College maintains academic rigor in their courses and programs;
- reflects the institution’s commitment to “quality in higher education and its commitment to striving for and achieving excellence;"
- enables students and employees of the College, alumni and donors, community members and employers to have confidence that the institution uses its resources wisely and fulfills its mission;
- satisfies essential governmental criteria for students’ ability to receive financial aid;
- builds students’ confidence in the quality and the value of their education;
- serves as the foundation for the academic schools’ applications for program accreditation;
- attests to the fiscal soundness of the institution relative to federal and state government; and
- bolsters the College’s ability to compete with other colleges and universities for quality students and employees.
Chesapeake is approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to operate as a community college in the State of Maryland, authorizing the College to award associate degrees and lower division certificates (www.mhec.maryland.gov). MHEC has also approved Chesapeake College to receive Veterans' benefits. In 2010, MHEC sent a resolution to the United States Department of Education regarding the authority of Maryland community colleges, including Chesapeake, to operate in Maryland.
How is accreditation maintained?
The process for institutional accreditation became an annual one beginning in FY2018. An important part of this update to MSCHE States methodology includes expanded annual reporting. The Annual Institutional Update required of all Middle States accredited institutions reports data for a series of metrics of student achievement (academic progress and post-institutional) and financial stability/health. These metrics will become part of the Midpoint Peer Review in which a peer review team will evaluate those data at the midpoint of the accreditation cycle to determine if additional action is necessary.
Middle States identified seven standards that constitute excellence in the delivery of higher education. Their publications, Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation, describe these characteristics in detail. At the end of the accreditation cycle (now eight years), the college participates in an in-depth self-study evaluation. That evaluation consists of institutional narrative, document archive data, a site team visit of peer reviewers, and ultimately, Commission action. The focus of the narrative document is on institutional improvement in context of the seven Standards for Accreditation.
Chesapeake College was first accredited in 1970 and through its most recent self-study was reaffirmed in 2015. A progress report, documenting the further implementation and communication of a comprehensive, organized, and sustained process for the assessment of student learning outcomes with evidence that results are used to improve teaching and learning, was accepted in 2017. The 2023-2024 Self-Study evaluation is currently underway. The statement of accreditation status is available at www.msche.org/institution/0156/
Find out about individual program accreditation on our Program Accreditation webpage.