2020 NECHE Accreditation

From: Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., President
To: Holy Cross Campus Community
Jan. 15, 2019


Dear Members of the Campus Community,

Every 10 years we are required to renew our accreditation with our regional accreditor, the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). The formal review is preceded by a yearlong self-study. Our next accreditation review is in 2020, which means that we are launching our self-study process this academic year. This process involves a thorough and detailed self-study guided by NECHE “Standards for Accreditation,” which cover areas such as institutional mission and governance, planning, financial management and resources, academic programs, students and student learning, faculty, libraries and technology, and student life. An institution’s ability to assess and monitor its performance in all these areas — most especially with regard to student outcomes — based on concrete evidence of such performance, and to use that evidence for self-evaluation and improvement, has become a central and nonnegotiable requirement across all the standards.

Following submission of the self-study, there will be a campus visit of several days by a team of external evaluators appointed by the NECHE Commission on Institutions of Higher Education from among a pool of faculty and academic administrators. The external evaluators’ visit is currently scheduled for March 22-25, 2020. Their assessment will be forwarded to the Commission, which will use it as a basis for their action on our accreditation.

This is a very important process for the College. Renewing our accreditation is essential not only for maintaining our reputation, but also for our continued access to federal financial aid and other programs, many private grants and a wide variety of other resources and programs. We are currently completing the Mission Priority Examen, a process that encourages us to reflect on how we will pursue our commitments as a Jesuit, Catholic institution. In a similar way, this process is an opportunity to reflect on what we do and how well we do it, and to receive expert feedback from experienced and discerning colleagues from outside the institution.

We have spent the last few months putting into place the structure needed to implement the self-study process. Margaret Freije, provost and dean of the College, will oversee the re-accreditation process and serve as liaison to the executive team and the Board of Trustees. Denise Schaeffer, director of strategic initiatives, will chair the steering committee, whose members are:

Denise Schaeffer, Director of Strategic Initiatives (Chair)
Nancy Baldiga, Professor, Economics and Accounting Department
Denise Bell, Director of the Office of Assessment and Research
Miles Cahill, Speaker of the Faculty
Rev. William Campbell, S.J., Vice President for Mission
Loren Cass, Dean of Experiential Learning and Student Success
Jane Corr, Special Assistant to the President
Elizabeth Dionne, Director of Finance and Assistant Treasurer
Mary Ebbott, Dean of the Faculty
Marisa Gregg, Chief Communications Officer
Paul Irish, Associate Dean of Students
Neal Lipsitz, Associate Dean for Student Development
Ken Mills, Professor, Chemistry Department
Amit Taneja, Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion/Chief Diversity Officer
Frank Vellaccio, Senior Vice President Emeritus

The steering committee will be forming several subcommittees to assist with various aspects of the self-study and many members of the campus community will be asked to participate in the self-study. Additionally, various departments, programs and committees will be consulted or contacted for information needed for the self-study. Finally, there will be “open sessions” or other opportunities to solicit feedback from the campus community. I hope you will be generous and flexible in making yourselves available for this critical task and cooperate in any other way that is needed.

We all look forward to what we will learn from this process and to using it make ourselves even better in the pursuit of our mission.


Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J.