What is Middle States?
The Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools is a voluntary, non-profit organization of educational institutions that is committed to excellence in all levels across the continuum of education. The purpose of this organization is to encourage, advance, assist and sustain the quality and integrity of education. The Middle States process occurs in seven year cycles and Notre Dame concluded their seventh year the Fall of 2014.
What does Accreditation mean?
Since the beginning of the 20th century, accreditation has had a major impact on the field of American education. It is a concept that few people understand and yet one from which many benefit. Accreditation responds to the public's demand for improved quality and greater accountability for institutions serving society's needs. Accreditation agencies enjoy a unique public trust role in the United States. In other words, accredited schools can be trusted to do what they claim to do. Whatever an accredited school says about itself has both the sanction and the confidence of the profession.
Accreditation rests on the dual concepts of self-regulation and quality improvement. Some define it as a conformity assessment process. A given field such as education uses its experts to define standards of acceptable operation and performance for the institutions and organizations within it. Thus, accreditation refers to a standard setting and review process.
The Commission's policy defines Accreditation as:
An "Accredited" institution is an educational organization that meets all MSA Standards for Accreditation, adheres to applicable MSA policies, and meets the requirements of the self-study protocol used. The institution agrees to adhere to the requirements for maintenance of accreditation, and there are no outstanding issues related to the Standards or requirements of the protocol that would require monitoring or on-site visits beyond the normal expected events required by the protocol used.