Monday, November 7, 2016

Important Accreditation Information for 2016-2017

History & Background of Accreditation

The Accreditation process is designed to review and assess all facets of chapter operations and is a key process in the development and maintenance of chapter standards.  Accreditation evaluates the contributions that each chapter makes to the campus and local communities.  

During the 2002-03 academic year, the decision was made to undertake a comprehensive plan to recommit and strengthen the fraternity and sorority community at Lehigh University. This plan, known as the Strengthening Greek Life Initiative, was the result of a task force commissioned by University President Gregory Farrington.  The original Accreditation process commenced during the 2004-2005 academic year.  In 2010, the “Next Steps for the Fraternity & Sorority Community” report was released.  One sub-committee was tasked with developing what is now known as the Lehigh University Accreditation process for fraternities and sororities.  

In 2014, a re-visioning committee of staff, students, and alumni was charged with evaluating the Accreditation process and identifying areas of change including metrics, requirements, ratings and timing.  At the conclusion of the re-visioning process, the committee identified common themes derived from focus group data, student assessment results, and committee discussion which led to the changes outlined below.  Many thanks to the individuals who served on the re-visioning committee as well as the numerous students who provided valuable input.

Goal of Revisions

Based on the themes identified by the re-visioning committee, the following changes have been made to the Accreditation process for the 2016-2017 academic year.  The goal of these changes is threefold:

  1.  To provide chapters increased clarity on metrics and reports
  2.  To increase transparency in the evaluation and ratings process
  3.  To incentivize improved performance year to year  

What’s changed?

Chapters will be evaluated on four or five metrics.  The metrics are the following:
Leadership & Member Development
Organizational Operations
Community Service & Engagement
Academic & Intellectual Advancement
Facilities Management (as applicable)
The metrics largely consider the same criteria as in previous years, but have been reorganized and renamed to create clearer areas of focus.  Additional criteria that has been added at the recommendation of the committee: brotherhood/sisterhood activities, exploration of post-graduate opportunities, and professional/career development activities.  Additionally, there is also an overall rating that considers additional performance indicators.  This rating focuses on the overall performance of the chapter throughout the year.  This is not an average of the ratings received in previous metrics.  Chapters are measured against themselves each year and are encouraged to demonstrate growth and development in each metric.  Full descriptions can be found here

An extensive guiding rubric has been created that all chapters are encouraged to use.  The rubric covers each metric and rating.  The rubric is not meant as an exhaustive “checklist” but should be used for examples and items to consider when preparing reports and presentations.  Chapters are still encouraged to use organizational values, priorities and requirements in crafting their Accreditation submissions.  To view the rubric, click here

Chapters will be evaluated and given one of the four possible ratings:
Accredited with Excellence (previously Gold)
Unaccredited (previously Poor)
Unacceptable (remains the same)
For a full description of the Accreditation ratings, click here.   

Chapters receiving an Accredited with Excellence rating will be recognized in several ways across the Lehigh community.  Chapters Accredited with Excellence will receive preference when scheduling Accreditation presentations for the following year.  Additionally, chapters Accredited with Excellence may select from one of the following options: An Accreditation presentation “bye” year meaning that a chapter may choose to opt-out of presenting the year following their Accredited with Excellence rating OR $250 towards a chapter need.  Full details regarding these options can be found here

Report submissions should not exceed 50 pages total.  The recommend length is between 25-35 pages.  Appendices should be limited and used only if absolutely necessary as supporting documentation.

Next steps

Elizabeth Shayler, Associate Director, OFSA will be attending the following council meetings to provide an overview and answer questions.  Chapters are encouraged to review all the Accreditation information in advance and bring anyone involved with Accreditation to these meetings.
  • IFC: TODAY November 7th at 4:10pm in MG 111
  • MGC: TODAY November 7th at 7:00pm in UC, B025
  • Panhellenic: November 10th at 4:10pm in MG 101

Workshops and programs addressing Accreditation preparation will be offered throughout the spring semester in collaboration with the Assistant Director of Greek Leadership, Carter Gilbert.  More details regarding dates, times, and topics will be available in January 2017. 

Finally, chapters are encouraged to work closely with their Assistant Director to discuss the revisions and begin planning for the 2016-2017 process.