Middle States Visiting Team says Kean in compliance, not yet off probation

By Brian Konchalski

The Visiting Team from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) announced preliminary findings that Kean University is now in compliance with the four standards the university had violated in a closed door meeting on Sept. 14.

While the findings of the Visiting Team may be welcomed news to the university, it is still not off of probation with Middle States. This is because Visiting Teams cannot make decisions on the status of the school’s accreditation. The ruling to take Kean off of probation will take place in November.

“In the short term these findings are good for the students and the university,” said James Castiglione, President of the Kean Federation of Teachers, the university’s teachers’ union. “In the long term, it will depend on whether the university continues to conform to Middle States’ standards.”

On Friday, Dawood Farahi, the President of Kean University, sent out an email to all faculty, staff, and students, stating that the hard work and determination by all members of the community is appreciated by him.

A Middle States spokesman declined to comment on the current accreditation status of the university.

The university was initially put on warning by Middle States last September for failed compliance with two standards, Standards 7, institutional assessment, and 14, assessment of student learning. The university discovered it was in violation of these two standards, after the university conducted a self-study.

In  April, Middle States sent out a Visiting Team to investigate the two standards initially in question, but also noted that the university could be in noncompliance with two more standards, 6, integrity, and 12, general education.

In June, the university, after a turbulent year, was placed on probation by Middle States.  This decision was made because of the failure to comply with the additional 2 standards, 6 and 12. The university was now in noncompliance with 4 standards.

Middle States then issued a statement stating that the school must submit a monitoring report, and a Visiting Team will be sent out in the beginning of September to determine how much progress has been made since the last Visiting Team’s visit in April.

Despite the fact that the university was on probation with Middle States, the school still remained an accredited institution.

If Middle States rules again that the university is in noncompliance with the 4 standards initially in question, it will remain on probation until June 2013.  If there is still noncompliance to the standards, Middle States could then suspend the university’s accreditation. This means that Kean has one year to show the Middle States board that it can comply with the standards in question; otherwise the institution can be stripped of its accreditation at the end of that year.

“The faculty and staff of Kean University played a key role in helping the university come into compliance with the 4 standards,” said Castiglione. “They especially worked hard on Standard 14.”

The university could not be reached for comment.

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