【784專欄】WE ARE NUMBER ONE IN ASIA

Ming Chuan University has become the first U.S. accredited institution of higher education in Asia. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education granted a full five-year unconditional accreditation to MCU on November 18, 2010. The announcement reads: To grant accreditation and to commend the institution on the quality of the self-study process and report. The next evaluation is scheduled in 2015-2016. The good news has elicited an immense joy and excitement throughout the campus and beyond. Congratulatory notes from local and overseas alumni have begun to pour in. More than 2000 days of hard work paid off. In reflection, it was President Lee’s vision and leadership to take the University beyond borders. The establishment of International College in 2000 followed with concerted efforts of the faculty and staff to push for internationalization in academic programming and on campus activities lay the foundation to pursue international accreditation in the late 1990s. In late 2005, President Lee and the Board of Directors decided to apply for institutional accreditation with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) and the decision was endorsed by the Taiwan Ministry of Education. Dr. Luis Pedraja, Vice President of MSCHE, conducted an eligibility visit as part of Phase One of the accreditation process on September 27-29, 2006. The visit was to verify the 23 eligibility requirements and to advise the University for the preparation of Phase Two: Applicant Self-Assessment Visit. President Lee immediately established Accreditation Steering Committee and members of the Committee began the institutional assessment process. In order to conduct a comprehensive institutional self-assessment, representatives of all ten academic schools (colleges) formed Committee of School Coordinators. Members of the Accreditation Steering Committee met bi-weekly with the school coordinators for most of Years 2007 and 2008. These members, in total of 46, gathered, examined, documented cross-sectional data for the self-study report. Voluminous materials and months of discussion prepared for the Applicant Self-Assessment Visit that was scheduled to take place in September 2008. Fall of 2008 proved to be both exciting and productive. The Applicant Self-Assessment Team Visit took place when Typhoon Jangmi was raging through the island of Taiwan. Team Chair Hollowell and other three members were confined to the Ji-He Teaching Hotel and all scheduled interviews were conducted inside the Ji-He Complex. However, President Lee managed to provide a Taoyuan campus tour for the team members. The campus tour registered an unmistakable impression; MCU is always prepared, rain or shine. Team members unanimously recommended the University for the next phase, the Self-Study Process. The University was invited to participate in the Self-study Institute in Philadelphia on November 8-10, 2008 and the Commissioners granted Candidacy Status to the University on November 19, 2008. Phase Three: Institutional Self-Study proved to be both challenging and educational. Dr. David Hollowell and Dr. Karen Froslid Jones returned to campus in April 2009 as a consultant to the institutional self-study design process. they met with President Lee and members of Accreditation Steering committee and six working groups. In the end, they concluded that the University was ready to work on the self-study report and to apply for a comprehensive self-study visit in late 2010. The final push for the goal thus started and President Lee began to have weekly updates on the self-study progress at every Administrative Council meeting. Moreover, President Lee called for an off-campus two-day retreat in January 2010 to put the final touch to the process. The campus worked in unison and the goal was to achieve a full institutional accreditation. To assist the University to prepare for a late September 2010 comprehensive visit, Dr. Barbara Loftus, MSCHE Vice President, and Team Chair, Dr. David Turk , Provost of Nyack College made an advance visit in June 2010. Their advice and encouragement infused a strong sense of self-confidence onto all those who had directly and indirectly participated in the long quest of international accreditation since 2005. The sense permeated through the campus. The comprehensive evaluation visit started on September 27 and ended on September 29, 2010. The visit was full of positive comments from all five members on the quality of self-study report and accolades from Team Chair David Turk in his remarks as part of Exit Interview. Presidential vision and leadership, support from the Board of Directors, hard and determined efforts of the faculty and staff, and institutional pride have collectively made it possible for MCU to become the first U.S. accredited university in Asia. (By Dr. Robert Yien)

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