Fordham Undergoes Accreditation Review


Fordham University is beginning the accreditation review process from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (Courtesy of Twitter).

Fordham University is beginning the accreditation review process from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), which will conclude with a site visit by a peer review team in spring 2025. Previously, the university received full, unconditional accreditation in 2016. However, according to a statement made by Fordham, MSCHE reviews “the University’s mission and goals, its performance and its resources every eight years in order to ensure compliance with seven standards of excellence.” The process involves a university steering committee that will lead an institutional self-study by working with different groups and teams on campus. The co-chairs of this steering committee are Greer Jason-DiBartolo, associate dean for academic administration at the Gabelli School of Business, and Melissa Labonte, associate professor of political science.

“This is no different than any organization,” said Dean Jason-DiBartolo. “Every organization is a work in progress and undergoes this process to reflect on their commitment to excellence. In the end, Fordham University has a mission, goals and priorities. Not because we need to attain accreditation, but because we constantly strive to live by our mission and values, to act with integrity and to constantly reflect on what we’re doing well and what we need to improve. However, I believe that this is already a crucial part of Fordham’s culture.”

As a whole, the country is divided into different regions with independent bodies responsible for accreditation within that region. However, the MSCHE is responsible for accrediting Fordham as a whole. According to Dean Jason-DiBartolo, “Fordham actually has many accreditations within different academic disciplines. So we are not accredited by a single organization. The Gabelli School of Business, for example, is accredited by AACSB. Different parts of the university have different specific accreditations. But the MSCHE is simply the institution-wide accreditor of the university.”
According to Dr. Labonte, “these are the kinds of standards that you would want to see within institutions of higher education. The ways we demonstrate these standards are tied to institutional priorities that are unique to Fordham.”

“The MSCHE helps the university identify what we can improve on,” said Dean Jason-DiBartolo. “It simply helps act as a framework to help the university fulfill its goals and mission as a Jesuit, Catholic institution of higher learning. This is a very important process that we hope the whole community will be involved in some shape or form.”

“In the end, the university is always thinking of its goals, priorities and mission,” said Dean Jason-DiBartolo. “This includes what changes to make, what advances to make, what is the support of the faculty in regards to research, how to deploy our resources, what changes to curriculum and to help the life-long learning of administrators, students and alumni.”

On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, Dr. Sean McKitrick visited Fordham University during a town hall to give additional insight as an evaluation facilitator. Upon being asked a question regarding whether student experience played a role in the re-accreditation process, he mentioned standard IV of the MSCHE requirements. He said, “basic things such as course placement tests, consistency, fairness and support services are many of the most important preambles of standard that drive student success. Everything we do focuses on students, which is why a positive student experience is very important, as it indicates that both the students and society are well served. So when we look at a university’s mission statement, we consider ethics, integrity, curriculum and ask how the instruction and resources are affecting students.”

As of now, the re-accreditation process is still an ongoing process, with a full timeline of the events published online.