Report gauges AU

Study prepared for Middle States accreditation

AU's Draft Self-Study, published last week in preparation for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education visit in February has received a lukewarm student reception and little dissection, Student Confederation President Nick Terzulli said.

"There were two open seminars last week, one in Kay ... and one the next day in the Butler Board Room," Terzulli said. "I think combined there might have been five or six questions asked and none of the questions were really forceful or strong. They were just questions about the process, not about what actually came out of it."

The study, drafted by AU's Steering Committee, which is composed of student, faculty and individual school representatives, is a comprehensive examination of the extent to which the University is realizing its strategic plan for the future, Director of Institutional Research and Assessment Karen Froslid-Jones said.

A period of public comment is now underway and is vital to the success of the final report, according to Steering Committee Chair David Culver.

"We would like to have comments about things that you find wrong, things that you find right, or things that we left out, that we should really talk about," Culver said.

The study is a unique way for the University to assess itself, said Anthony Macri, executive chair of the Graduate Leadership Council.

"This gives students the opportunity to appreciate the University for what it is and then to give input to make it even better from this point on," Macri said.

One student complained at Sunday's General Assembly meeting that the self-study failed to recognize the frustration of dealing with some campus offices, including Housing and Dining Programs, the Registrar's office and Financial Aid.

"They just bounce you around from administrator to administrator, nobody gives you a straight answer, and they keep doing that until you either get sick of them or forget," GA Speaker Pro-Tempore Carlos Ramirez said. "And that's something recurring and they're not including them in the survey. They're pretty much flat-out lying, saying that they can solve grievances by a simple process; it's not simple at all."

Ramirez also said the self-study is vague in some places, and therefore not completely accurate.

The report was not designed to make recommendations, but to "show the outside that, as a community, we understand what AU is doing and that we have questions and concerns about it and we're not just complacent," said Terzulli, who is part of AU's Steering Committee.

Macri agreed that student response to the survey has been largely indifferent.

"At the public forum in Kay on this past Tuesday, the question period was short - about 10 minutes. There was no yelling, no screaming," Macri said. "Everyone was pretty happy."

The Middle States Commission, made up of a team of peers from other similar universities, including the President of Hobart and William Smith College, will visit AU in February, study the final self-report, make an assessment of AU's progress and offer, most importantly, reaccredidation to AU, Froslid-Jones said.

Comments are encouraged and can be directed to middlestates@american.edu. More information can be found at www.american.edu/middlestates.

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