Stonehill College is pleased to have the opportunity that the self-study provides for reflection on our institutional effectiveness. The eleven standards upheld by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) of the New England Association for Schools and Colleges (NEASC) clearly link the mission of a College to its practices in all areas of college life. Members of the Self-Study Steering Committee at Stonehill enjoyed the opportunity to consider the work of the entire College and to evaluate the extent to which our strategic goals are integrated across the range of our endeavors.
Moreover, the timing of this self-study is auspicious as we are simultaneously engaged in a strategic planning process. Indeed, Stonehill has developed a clear culture of planning and assessment since our last NEASC evaluation: the current planning process is the third since 2000. The strategic plan currently in development will be executed between FY 2011 and FY2015. It grows logically out of the current strategic plan and completes the President's Vision for 2015, which he first articulated in 2004. Conducting the self-study as we developed this plan ensured that we honestly evaluated our progress on current strategic initiatives and that we set reasonable goals for the next five-year period.
Although we considered the Commission's option to identify and study in depth a few areas of special emphasis, we determined that a broad self-study would serve Stonehill well at this time. A decade ago, the Commission found that Stonehill needed to give attention to Planning, Assessment, Governance, and General Education. A two-year interim visit and report -- and the subsequent five year report -- were met with praise from the visiting team and the Commission for the seriousness and effectiveness of the changes we made. We hope that the present self-study will demonstrate, in the context of attention to each standard, our ongoing successes in these areas -- and our willingness to make changes when assessment tells us there is a better way to accomplish our goals.
The process for assembling this document has been highly participatory and collaborative. In February of 2008, President Mark Cregan, C.S.C. appointed Dr. Katie Conboy, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, to lead the overall Self-Study process. Since Dr. Conboy also led the Strategic Planning process, the integration of the two projects was quite seamless. During the Spring semester of 2008, President Cregan also named the co-chairs of the Self-Study Steering Committee: Richard Gribble, C.S.C., Associate Professor of Religious Studies, and Laura Uerling, Director of Planning and Institutional Research. Once the entire Steering Committee was appointed by the President, each member of the Committee took the lead in naming a sub-committee and responding in detail to a specific Standard. This work was completed between August 2008 and March 2009. The Office of Planning and Institutional Research (OPIR) developed electronic templates for every sub-standard, which the chairs used to provide description, appraisal, projections, and sources of evidence for each sub-standard.
While the content from those templates has been adapted in this final report, the completed templates form a useful appendix for any member of the visiting team who may wish to have more detail on a particular topic.