Westfield State University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education - NECHE. Accreditation in the United States is voluntary, non-governmental, and self-regulatory. Accreditation evaluation by the New England Commission of Higher Education is a decennial activity undergone by virtually every college and university in the region. Accreditation is a status granted to educational institutions or programs that have been found to meet or exceed stated criteria of educational quality. Accreditation has two fundamental purposes - to assure the quality of the institution or program, and to assist in the improvement of the institution or program. The NECHE accreditation process consists of three distinct components: institutional self-study, visiting team on-site evaluation, and commission review and action.
NECHE is the successor organization to the former NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges) Commission on Instituions of Higher Education (CIHE). In 2018 NEASC spun CIHE off into the new NECHE in order to meet the US Department of Education’s requirement that its higher education commission operate as an independent entity.
Westfield State University was first accredited by NEASC in 1957, and its most recent accreditation renewal took place in 2012. As part of the reaccreditation process, the university undertakes a year-long self-study. The institutional self-study is a comprehensive and rigorous self-examination, using the Standards for Accreditation as a guide. The self-study challenges the institution to measure and verify its achievements, and identify ways in which the institutional objectives may be better achieved. It provides a vehicle for the institution to reflect on its strengths and weaknesses. The self-study describes what the institution does, appraises how well what it does achieves its objectives, and projects the future actions that will be necessary to either continue or strive to achieve its objectives. Thus, long after the self-study has been completed, it may be used as an integral part of an ongoing institutional planning process.
The self-study process is followed by a three-day campus visit by a team of peer evaluators comprised of faculty and administrators from similar NECHE accredited institutions, which seeks to assess the institution in light of the self-study that it has prepared with respect to the Standards for Accreditation. The conclusions of this evaluation are summarized in a written report that addresses not only the institution's successes in fulfilling its mission, but also areas where improvements should be made. This report is considered to be advisory to the Commission.
In addition to undergoing a comprehensive evaluation every ten years, institutions accredited by NECHE are required to submit an interim report during the fifth year of the accreditation cycle. The interim report typically addresses concerns or recommendations raised during the previous accreditation process, and updates the Commission on any significant changes that have taken place.
- Westfield State University NECHE 2023 website, including timeline, people, and resources
- NECHE Website
- NECHE Standards
- 2017 NEASC Fifth-Year Report Letter
- 2017 Fifth-Year Interim Report
- 2012 Self-Study for Reaccreditation
- 2012 Evaluation Team Final Report
- 2012 University Final Response
- 2012 CIHE/NEASC Action Letter
- 2007 5th Year Report
Invitation for Public Comment
Westfield State University will undergo a comprehensive evaluation visit (March 5-8, 2023), by a team representing the New England Commission of Higher Education (formerly the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, NEASC).
The New England Commission of Higher Education is one of seven accrediting commissions in the United States that provide institutional accreditation on a regional basis. Accreditation is voluntary and applies to the institution as a whole. The Commission, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, accredits approximately 220 institutions in the six-state New England region as well as several American-style institutions overseas.
Westfield State University has been accredited by the Commission since 1957 and was last reviewed in 2012. Its accreditation by the Commission encompasses the entire institution.
For the past year and a half, Westfield State University has been engaged in a process of self-study, addressing the Commission’s Standards for Accreditation. An evaluation team will visit the institution to gather evidence that the self-study is thorough and accurate. The team will recommend to the Commission a continuing status for the institution. Following a review process, the Commission itself will take the final action.
The public is invited to submit comments regarding the institution to:
Public Comment on (name of institution)
New England Commission of Higher Education
3 Burlington Woods Drive, Suite 100
Burlington, MA 01803-4514
Public Comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution. The Commission cannot settle disputes between individuals and institutions, whether those involve faculty, students, administrators, or members of other groups. Comments will not be treated as confidential and must include the name, address, and telephone number of the person providing the comments.
Public Comments must be received by March 8, 2023. The Commission cannot guarantee that comments received after that date will be considered.