A degree-granting institution identifies itself by its mission statement and by its adherence to high ethical standards. Its mission is grounded in the broader context of higher education and should be appropriate to the level and purpose of the institution. The mission should provide a foundation for student learning expectations and should be widely understood by the institution’s stakeholders. In addition to providing guidance on educational opportunities, the institution’s mission should also emphasize the enhancement of the communities it serves.
An educational institution is responsible for utilizing all resources to fulfill its mission. Whether a resource is financial or intellectual, the institution must devote it to its objectives and activities. All financial and intellectual resources must be used for the purposes of research, service, and teaching. To ensure the quality of student learning, the institution must maintain high-quality academic programs and faculty. Faculty are the primary individuals who determine the direction of academic programs and are charged with advancing the institution’s mission. They also supervise students and perform other functions necessary to support the academic mission.
Educational institutions have responsibilities for student support services, such as admission, orientation, and financial aid. Those responsibilities are met by an effective system of academic advising, which addresses the specific needs of each student. Academic advising is conducted by qualified personnel who are well versed in the institution’s mission and in the academic requirements for admission.
Students are supported through co-curricular activities and other services. These activities provide opportunities for leadership and participation in campus organizations. Additionally, institutions provide opportunities for scholarship and creative activity. However, they must establish appropriate policies regarding the use of funds. Those policies are clearly communicated and enforced throughout the institution. Furthermore, they are subject to periodic review and revision to ensure that they continue to serve the institution’s purposes.
Academic programs are evaluated to ensure that they are consistent with the institution’s mission and goals. This evaluation includes quantitative and qualitative methods. Specifically, it addresses the effectiveness of the institution’s programs, planning, and operational activities. During evaluation, the institutional staff uses information gathered to evaluate student progress, identify areas for improvement, and guide changes in programs and resources.
A degree-granting institution’s mission should be consistent with its charter. Moreover, its mission should be based on a thorough knowledge of the institution’s resources and should be realistic. Moreover, it should be governed by a governance structure that is supportive of its mission and its ability to address the needs of the population it serves.
The institution’s mission should be implemented in accordance with the New England Commission of Higher Education Standards and should be consistent with the institution’s charter and other operating authority. For example, institutions must not list courses that have not been taught for two or more consecutive years. Likewise, institutions must not list courses that have not met the minimum degree requirements for the type of degree for which they are intended. Similarly, institutions must publish descriptions of their campus locations, library resources, and support services.
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