Brandeis receives reaccreditation

May 3, 2019

The New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) has officially reaccredited Brandeis after an 18-month review which included a self-study by the university and a visit to the university by the Visiting Team from NECHE, according to an email sent out by President Ron Liebowitz.

The letter sent out by the NECHE commends Brandeis for its “candid self-study that describes a time of significant transition for the University, including major changes in leadership and senior administration.” The letter also spoke about the strengths of Brandeis, which include “high ethical and cultural values that flow from its unique mission and history, a ‘signature focus’ on undergraduate education…”

The self-study and the report from the visiting team provided to the NECHE both spoke to challenges that the university has faced in the past and still needs to address. These include issues with the current budget and financial and operational structure. They also include “a self-identified $30 million structural deficit, a higher-than-desired endowment draw, unfunded deferred maintenance and faculty salaries that lag behind peer institutions,” according to the letter.

NECHE also stated its appreciation for Brandeis’ affirmations that it “‘must actively seek and support students of diverse backgrounds, even as it continues to be a pre-eminent center of Jewish scholarship and teaching.’” They also highlighted on the hiring of a vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion to “provide leadership for the University’s efforts to diversify its faculty, staff and student body and for its initiatives to address campus culture and climate.”

Brandeis will have to submit a five-year interim report, according to the letter, which will specifically speak about “Organization and Governance; Planning and Evaluation; Institutional Resources; Integrity, Transparency, and Public Disclosure; Students; Teaching, Learning and Scholarship; The Academic Program; and Educational Effectiveness.”

This interim report will also allow Brandeis to update the NECHE on the progress of implementing its “Framework for Our Future,” a proposal that was announced by Liebowitz in November 2018. It will also look more in-depth at the new general education curriculum that has been set by the university, the Brandeis Core, which will be implemented in Fall 2019 and will look to “‘reflect contemporary societal concerns and the changing needs of students.’” These three themes include: Foundational Literacies, Schools of Thought and Global Engagement, according to the NECHE letter.

According to Brandeis’ reaccreditation website, NECHE provides nine different standards that each university assesses itself on in the self-study. This self-study, which was conducted over an 18-month period, is compiled by a group of faculty and administrators with feedback from the Brandeis community. This study was then submitted to the NECHE prior to the arrival of the Visiting Team. This team creates a comprehensive report of both the self-study and the visit to campus to determine reaccreditation.

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