Wilmington University Accreditation Self-Study

  • From the President
  • About
  • History & Timeline
  • Work Groups & Standards
  • Faculty & Staff Info
  • Self-Study Report
President Varsalona

A Message from the President

July 13, 2015

In accordance with regional accreditation requirements, we conducted an extensive self-study over the last two years and hosted a visit from an evaluation team of our peers from March 29 to April 1, 2015. The final step in the process was for the Commission itself to vote upon the self-study and the team’s recommendations for action.

I am pleased to inform you that on June 25, 2015, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education acted “To reaffirm accreditation and to commend the institution for the quality of the self-study process. The Periodic Review Report is due June 1, 2020.” In addition, the University was commended for the quality of its self-study process. In sum, this means that Wilmington University was found to be in compliance and with no recommendations on all fourteen standards. No follow-up action is required.

The next report due by the University will be at the maximum five year mark with our Periodic Review Report.

Dr. Jack P. Varsalona
Wilmington University

About the MSCHE Peer Review and Re-accreditation

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) grants accreditations to higher education institutions for up to ten-year periods. Every ten years, in order to maintain accreditation, institutions must demonstrate alignment with current MSCHE standards and best practices in higher education through a self-study report and review by higher education professionals at other MSCHE member institutions. Additionally, accredited institutions must submit a Periodic Review Report (PRR) midway through their 10-year accreditation period.

From Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2012). Self-Study: Creating a Useful Process and Report, 2nd Edition.

Accreditation demonstrates an institution's commitment to continuous self-assessment. Based upon the results of an institutional review by peers and colleagues assigned by the Commission, accreditation attests to the judgment of the Commission on Higher Education that an institution:

  • has a mission appropriate to higher education;
  • is guided by well-defined and appropriate goals, including goals for student learning;
  • has established conditions and procedures under which its mission and goals can be realized;
  • assesses both institutional effectiveness and student learning outcomes, and uses the results for improvement;
  • is accomplishing its mission and goals substantially;
  • is organized, staffed, and supported so that it can be expected to continue to accomplish its mission and goals; and
  • meets the requirements of affiliation and accreditation standards of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

More about MSCHE, Accreditation and Standards can be found on the MSCHE web site.

University Accreditation History

Wilmington University was first accredited by MSCHE in 1975, and has maintained accreditation since. Our last ten-year accreditation was in 2005, with our PRR submitted and accepted in 2010. In 2015, Wilmington University will have our next MSCHE review for 10-year accreditation. To that end we are conducting our self-study throughout 2013 and 2014, with the final report planned for submission to MSCHE in early 2015.

Self-Study Timeline and Communication Plan

Fall 2012
November 2012 Self-Study Chairs attend the Self-Study Institute
December 2012 Plans for Self-Study Design discussed with President
Spring 2013
January 2013 Self-Study Steering Committee formed
January 2013 Work group membership assignments finalized
January 2013 Meetings with Bench
February 2013 Steering Committee & work group members briefed on self-study questions
February 2013 Self-study Employee Intranet site active
February 2013 Comprehensive timetable developed; self-study design developed; work groups constituted; research questions drafted
February 2013 Draft study questions submitted to Steering Committee chairs for review
March/April 2013 Steering Committee meets with President for design review
March/April 2013 Self-study design submitted to MSCHE for approval
April 18, 2013 Dr. Ellie Fogarty, MSCHE VP, meets with President, Board, University Community and Steering Committee
Summer 2013
June 2013 Self-study design approved
June 2013 Steering Committee begins meeting; Work groups begin meeting
June/July 2013 Compile evidentiary materials within TaskStream
June 2013 Provide orientation and continuing support for Steering Committee and work groups within SharePoint
July/August 2013 Create public web site content for WU’s Middle States Self-Study information
August 2013 Announcement about web site sent to University Community
Fall 2013
Fall 2013 Steering Committee meets once a month to review work group progress and draft Chapter One (Introduction). 
Fall 2013 Steering Committee sets final deadlines for each of the draft chapters.
November – December 2013 Status update posted on web site for University Community
Spring/Summer 2014
January 2014 MSCHE selects evaluation team Chair; WU approves selection. Dates are selected for team visit and for Chair’s preliminary visit.
February – March 2014 Status update posted on web site for University Community
April 2014 Final draft reports from working groups submitted to Steering Committee
January-May 2014 Steering Committee meets every two to three weeks to review draft chapters and to compile the first draft of self-study report.
January-May 2014 The work groups meet, as necessary, to address Steering Committee questions and comments.
May-August 2014 The Self-Study Chairs, with support from the Bench, complete revisions.
May-August 2014 The Self-Study Chairs, with support from the Bench, plan the release of the draft report to the campus community for comment as well as design and implementation of mechanisms to collect feedback.
June – July 2014 Status update posted on web site for University Community
Fall 2014
September 2014 The draft report is discussed at the University-Wide meeting and Faculty Development Day as well as distributed to the university community and others via electronic means. Hard copies are available upon request and at key sites.
September 2014 Self-Study Chairs address faculty at Faculty Development Day Fall 2014. Also hold a session during FDD and provide opportunity for feedback on draft report.
September/October 2014 Steering Committee representatives meet with key constituencies: Board of Trustees, Cabinet/Executive Team, Academic Council, University Coordinating Council, SGA, and Faculty Senate.
October/November 2014 Draft revised by the Self-Study Chairs, Bench, and Steering Committee members as appropriate to incorporate feedback and updated data/institutional events
October/November 2014 Evaluation team Chair visits campus. Web or email Announcement about campus visit.
November/December 2014 Final version of Self-study approved by the Board of Trustees and submitted to Evaluation Team and MSCHE
November/December 2014 Final document is published; all appendices and supporting materials are made available electronically.  Announcement to University Community and link to final document posted on website.
November/December 2014 Accommodations for the visiting team are finalized
Spring 2015
January/February 2015 Submit final Self-Study report to Middle States six weeks prior to site visit.
January/February 2015 Put together meeting schedule for site visit.
March/April 2015 Evaluation team visit is Monday, March 30–Wednesday, April 1, 2015. Announcement about team visit & posting of on-site visit schedule
June 2015 MSCHE acts on Evaluation Report
June 2015 Institutional Response to MSCHE
Spring 2020
June 2020 Periodic Review Report submitted to MSCHE

Self-Study Work Groups and Accreditation Standards

The following University faculty and staff are serving on standing self-study work groups addressing how Wilmington University meets MSCHE's standards for accreditation of higher education institutions.

Work Group and Members MSCHE Standard

Self-Study Chairs

Sheila Sharbaugh (Academic Affairs)

Angela Suchanic (Office of the President)


Kevin Barry (Web Communications)

Dana Eggleston (Institutional Research)

Michele Brewer (College of Education)

  • The Self-Study Chairs design, plan, coordinate, and guide the self-study process.
  • The Bench assists the co-chairs and work groups with data collection, collaboration, communication, and publishing throughout the process.
  • The Steering Committee consists of the Self-Study Chairs, the Bench, and the work group chairs.

Work Group 1:
Investing in Our Future


David Lewis (Financial Affairs)

Jean Downes (College of Business)


Melanie Baldwin (Graduate Center)

Brian Beard (Information Technology)

Lauren Godwin (Recruiting)

Kenneth Morlino (College of Business)

Joseph Pro (Alumni Association)

William Quinn (Building and Maintenance Services)

Jacqueline Varsalona (Institutional Advancement)

  1. Mission and Goals
  2. Resource Planning; and Allocation; Institutional Renewal
  3. Institutional Resources

Work Group 2:
Living Our Values


Christian Trowbridge (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Stefanie Whitby (Alumni Relations)


Joseph Aviola (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Maria Bannon (College of Technology)

Mark Daniels (University Safety)

Susan Genereux (Student Financial Services)

Trudy Hite (Student Financial Services)

Thomas Hurd (Graduate Center)

Frank Ingraham (Alumni Association)

Karen Sheats (Human Resources)

Debbie Taylor (Registrar)

Dr. Ronald Watts (Board of Trustees)

James Webb (External Affairs)

Student Representative

  1. Leadership & Governance
  2. Administration
  3. Integrity

Work Group 3:
Demonstrating and Advancing Our Goals


Peg Mitchell (Student Administrative Services)

Nicole Romano (Human Resources)


Tina Barksdale (Student Affairs)

Laurie Bick (Public Relations)

Jason Duhan (University Relations)

Lynda Fuller (College of Business)

Linda Hardy (Academic Advising)

Adrienne Johnson (Library)

Jeffrey Martino (Admissions)

Shannon Michelinie (Registrar)

Wendy Miles (Financial Affairs)

Bryan Steinberg (Information Technology)

  1. Institutional Assessment

Work Group 4:
Reaching One Student at a Time


James Boyd (College of Education)

Elizabeth Jordan (Administrative Affairs)


Dennis Craighton (University Safety)

Matthew Davis (Online Learning)

Jeanna DuBois (Administrative Affairs)

Dennis Huffman (Rehoboth)

Nicole McDaniel-Smith (Student Financial Services)

Robert Miller (Recruiting)

Robert Rescigno (College of Business)

Michelle Reyes (Library)

Lindsay Rice (Academic Advising)

Laura Sanbuichi (Admissions)

Adam Voyton (Educational Technology)

Sherry Wilson (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Student Representative

  1. Student Admissions & Retention
  2. Student Support Services
  3. Related Educational Activities

Work Group 5:
Teaching as Our Mission


Bonnie Kirkpatrick (Faculty Development & Support)

Matthew Wilson (College of Arts and Sciences)


Jacqueline Carson (University Information Center)

John Cunningham (University Safety)

Eileen Donnelly (College of Online and Experiential Learning)

Nancy Doody (Faculty Development & Support)

John Gray (College of Education)

MaryAnn Griffin (Institutional Research)

Lori Irelan (College of Health Professions)

Laura Leary (Dover Air Force Base)

Gary Seydell (Academic Advising)

Scott Shaw (College of Technology)

Danny Walker (College of Arts and Sciences)

Matthew Whelihan (College of Arts and Sciences)

  1. Faculty
  2. Educational Offerings
  3. General Education

Work Group 6:
Strengthening Our Student Learning Outcomes


Lorraine Sitler (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Denise Westbrook (College of Health Professions)


Debra Berke (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Edward Guthrie (College of Technology)

Sally Healy (Student Success Center)

Kae Keister (College of Education)

Neicy LeBright (College of Arts and Sciences)

Nancy McDonald (College of Technology)

Joseph Paesani (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Paula Potochney (Academic Affairs)

Mary Beth Youse (Educational Technology)

  1. Assessment of Student Learning

More about MSCHE, Accreditation and Standards can be found on the MSCHE web site.

Faculty & Staff can stay informed and involved using Wilmington University's Employee Intranet.

Internal Collaboration, Information and Communications

Self-study participants and all faculty and staff can collaborate, stay informed and learn more about the activities and findings of the self-study, using the Employee Intranet.

Faculty and Staff Meetings with the Visiting Team

The team of visitors has asked to meet with representative groups of staff, faculty, and adjunct faculty. The following open sessions have been scheduled:

Please consider joining the Middle States visitors in order to share your experiences at Wilmington University.

Self-Study Report Final Draft

The final draft of the Self-Study Report is now available for review by University faculty & staff on the University Employee Intranet at the link below.

Review The Final Self-Study


Middle States Commission on Higher Education

3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2680
Tel: (267) 284-5000, Fax: (215) 662-5501