NEASC Visit Update
November 1, 2017
Dear Students, Staff and Faculty:
Thank you to everyone who made our NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) team visit a great success. I appreciate the many ways students, staff and faculty contributed to and engaged with our accreditation process over the past three days, as well as with our planning process over the past two years.
As is NEASC custom, the visit culminated in a report from the visiting team chair, Christina Paxson, president of Brown University. She offered a preliminary assessment of our institutional strengths and recommended areas of focus as we move forward.
While we can expect more detail once the team submits their written evaluation, President Paxson’s report commended the Smith community for our strong and shared commitment to our mission as a women’s college. She also credited Smith with strength in the following areas:
- Our culture of strategic planning, including the alignment of academic and operational priorities
- Our well-functioning system of governance at all levels, including the board of trustees and campus committees
- Our culture of data-informed assessment, notably through the Committee on Academic Priorities’ (CAP’s) focus on evidence-based learning outcomes
- Our progress in admissions, including growth in applications in recent years as well as our progress toward being increasingly diverse, less need-conscious and more selective
- Our financial strength as well as our proactive planning to mitigate growing economic pressures on higher education
The team also recommended that Smith devote attention to the following areas:
- Advancing information technology capability to improve data-informed decision making
- Reviewing the role of graduate education in the context of our overall mission
- Continuing to advance our commitment to inclusion, diversity and equity
We will receive formal notification of our reaccreditation status next April and can anticipate that NEASC will ask us to present evidence of improvement in these areas when we submit our required interim progress report(s) to them.
I am pleased and proud of this outcome, and grateful for everyone’s contributions in making Smith a strong and vibrant academic community.