• Accreditation Self Study

    NECHE Self-Study


    Worcester State University is fully accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education, or NECHE. This regional accrediting body, previously known as NEASC, is responsible for both evaluating the academic quality of higher education institutions and promoting continuous improvement among them. In carrying out its mission, NECHE assures the public, government entities, and other constituents of institutions’ regulatory compliance and adoption of best practices for the delivery of higher education.

    Accreditation is an ongoing process that involves, at a minimum, comprehensive evaluations that generally span ten years and include interim evaluations. Comprehensive evaluations are conducted by volunteer teams of colleagues who are charged with both reviewing institutional data and reports and then, in a visit to the institution under review, verifying that the information presented is accurate and in line with NECHE standards, which cover all aspects of institutional operations.

    The creation of a comprehensive evaluation self-study is a major undertaking requiring the efforts of the entire campus community. It serves as the primary means by which the institution demonstrates its aspirations, shortcomings, and general satisfaction of accreditation standards. The self-study is the first document evaluation team members will use to become acquainted with the institution, and it will serve as a guide for future accreditation actions that support the institution’s continuous improvement efforts.

    Message from the President

    Barry Maloney
    Barry M. Maloney,

    January 26, 2021

    This year we initiate our New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) re-accreditation process, just as implementation of our 2020-2025 strategic plan begins in earnest. The timing will permit each to inform the other, strengthening both.

    The first step, a comprehensive self-study, is now underway and will take approximately 18 months. A steering committee, with subcommittees organized around NECHE’s nine standards for accreditation, has been formed under the direction of co-chairs Dr. Emily Soltano and Dr. Noah Dion. They aim to bring us together, from all parts of the campus, to learn from one another about the excellent work we do here every day and how we might do it even better.

    A critical step will take place in the fall of 2022, when a team of evaluators comes to Worcester State for a site visit. At that time, we will share with them the fruits of our hard work, showcasing a campus that truly puts students first in all that we do. A NECHE decision is expected to be issued in the spring of 2023, affirming our accreditation and indicating any future actions we may need to take.

    Those of you who’ve been through the NECHE (formerly NEASC) process in the past know that its “seal of approval” is typically good for ten years, with mid-term evaluation(s) occurring along the way, to make sure that areas of concern are being addressed.

    Ultimately, a successful accreditation by NECHE indicates to the world that we comply with the rules governing higher education and meet our industry’s standards. Their external validation is essential for demonstrating that we are worthy of investments from state and federal government sources, private grant agencies and foundations, and donors. It reassures our community partners, too.

    In short, it’s important. And a thorough, thoughtful self-study will not only position us for a successful re-accreditation, it can spur the kind of innovative thinking necessary for us to become one of the best-run, student-centered campuses in New England.

    We need everyone’s voice to be heard!

    Barry M. Maloney,

    Self-Study Steering Committee

    The self-study steering committee is made up of the co-chairs of each subcommittee as well as other campus leaders. The mission of the committee is to coordinate the work each subcommittee has undertaken and ensure that its findings can be woven into a single narrative about the university as told in the self-study.

    The steering committee meets regularly to determine whether common issues or challenges are evident and to share strategies and solutions for addressing them. Committee meetings provide an opportunity to pose questions and challenge assumptions that may have been overlooked by an individual subcommittee.


    Noah Dion, Director of Academic Affairs Support
    Emily Soltano, Professor, Department of Psychology & Director, Center for Teaching and Learning


    Robert Brooks Professor, Criminal Justice Department
    Marilyn Cleary Assistant Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education
    Meghna Dillip Professor, Chemistry Department
    Adrian Gage Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Residence Life and Housing
    Sara Grady Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Professional Development
    Roger Greenwell Associate Professor, Biology Department
    Maryanne Hammond, Board of Trustees
    Tona Hangen Professor, History and Political Science Department
    Jennifer Hood-DeGrenier Professor, Biology Department
    Daniel Hunt Associate Professor, Communication Department
    Linda Larrivee Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences
    Raynold Lewis Associate Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences
    John Meany Associate Director, Athletics Department
    Dina Nichols Board of Trustees
    Joseph Quattrucci Associate Professor, Chemistry Department
    Sarah Strout Assistant Vice President of Assessment and Planning
    Colleen Sullivan Associate Professor, Psychology Department
    Henry Theriault Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs
    Don Vescio Professor, English Department
    Jonathan Walker Director of Internal Controls and Risk Assessment
    Karen M Wigren Staff Assistant to the Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences
    Lois Wims Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs


    The self-study is created from the work of nine different subcommittees, each of which is aligned to a particular NECHE accreditation standard. The committees gather evidence, evaluate the university’s performance in respect to each standard, and construct narratives that address how improvements can be made. Each subcommittee is tasked with focusing on its standard according to the specific mission, values, and goals of the university. It’s conclusions should align with strategic plans for future success.

    Subcommittees by Standard

    Standard #1: Mission and Purposes


    Daniel Hunt, Associate Professor, Communication Department
    Karen Wigren, Staff Assistant to the Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences


    Leisha Alcia Staff Assistant, Academic Success Center
    Kristine Camacho Assistant Professor, Education Department
    Tara Hancock Executive Director of Alumni Relations and Engagement
    Edgar Moros Director of the Intensive English Language Institute
    Stacey Luster General Counselor and Assistant to the President for Employment and Equal Opportunity
    Marc-Kendy Paul Student

    Standard #2: Planning and Evaluation


    Meghna Dilip, Professor, Chemistry Department
    Linda Larrivee, Dean of the School of Education Health and Natural Sciences


    Anthony Adade Associate Vice President of Information Technology and Chief Information Officer
    Diara Canton Student
    Thomas Kelley Director of Retention
    Syamak Moattari Associate Professor, Health Science Department
    Tanya Trudell Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy Department

    Standard #3: Organization and Governance


    Adrian Gage, Assistant Dean of Student Affairs and Director of Residence Life and Housing
    Tona Hangen, Professor, History and Political Science Department


    Joe Dicarlo Dean of Enrollment and Director of Admissions
    Carl Herrin Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff
    Tyanna McCaulsky Student
    Kathleen Murphy Associate Professor, Chemistry Department
    Karen Tessmer Associate Director of Athletics and Head Women's Basketball Coach
    Mark Wagner Director of the Center for Civic Engagement
    Adam Zahler Professor, Visual & Performing Arts Department

    Standard #4: The Academic Program


    Sara Grady, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Professional Development
    Jennifer Hood-DeGrenier, Professor, Biology Department


    Mark Beaudry Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice Department
    Carol Donnelly Professor, Education Department
    Julie Frankian Staff Associate, Academic Success Center
    Martin Fromm Associate Professor, History and Political Science Department
    Maria Fung Professor, Mathematics Department
    Hy Ginsberg Associate Professor, Mathematics Department
    Bonnie Kanner Professor, Psychology Department
    Roberta Kyle Associate Vice President and Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education
    Ben McElroy Assistant Director of Admissions and Coordinator of Transfer Admissions
    Elaine McKenna-Yeaw Executive Director, Worcester Center for Crafts
    Russ Pottle Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences
    MaryLynn Saul Professor, English Department
    Elizabeth Siler Associate Professor, Business Administration & Econonomics Department
    Seth Surgan Professor, Psychology Department
    Colleen Wheaton Director of First Year and Transfer Services

    Standard #5: Students


    Raynold Lewis, Associate Dean of the School of Education, Health and Natural Sciences
    Colleen Sullivan, Associate Professor, Psychology Department


    Dean Bowen Assistant Director and Fitness Center Manager
    Lyndsey Broxton Student
    Joanne Jaber Gauvin Assistant Director of the Urban Action Institute
    Laura Wildemann Kane Assistant Professor, Philosophy Department
    Nabin Malakar Assistant Professor, Earth, Environment, and Physics Department
    Fran Manocchio Assistant Dean and Director of Student Accessibility Services
    Michael McKenna Director, Conference and Event Services
    Kristie McNamara Director of the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership
    Jessica O'Connor Staff Associate and Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, Occupational Therapy Department
    Abbigail Poplawski Student
    Tammy Tebo Assistant Dean of Academic Services

    Standard #6: Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship


    Joseph Quattrucci, Associate Professor, Chemistry Department
    Henry Theriault, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs


    Mary Fowler Professor, Mathematics Department
    Yan Hu Assistant Professor, Biology Department
    Matthew Palm Assistant Professor, Urban Studies Department
    Jacqueline Raftery-Helmer Assistant Professor, Psychology Department
    Meredith Rosario Staff Assistant, Administration and Finance
    Yomari Rivera Student

    Standard #7: Institutional Resources


    Donald Vescio, Professor, English Department
    Jonathan Walker, Director of Internal Controls and Risk Assessment


    Matt Bejune Executive Director, Library
    Jodi Briggs-Pickett Executive Director of University Advancement
    Kathryn Frazier Assistant Professor, Psychology Department
    Margaret Gurney Student
    Maryanne Hammond, Board of Trustees
    Anisa Hoxha Director of Budget, Planning and Policy Development
    Nicole Kapurch Assistant Director and Special Assistant to the President, and Liaison to the Board of Trustees
    Mary Jo Marion Assistant Vice President of the Latino Education Institute
    Michael Mudd Director of Athletics
    Susan Moore Executive Director of Human Resources and Benefits
    Dave Needham Assistant Director of Multimedia Services
    Dina Nichols, Board of Trustees
    Jeffry Nichols Associate Professor, Chemistry Department
    Sandra Olson Assistant Vice President of Facilities
    Katey Palumbo Director, International Programs

    Standard #8: Educational Effectiveness


    Marilyn Cleary, Assistant Dean of Graduate and Continuing Education
    Roger Greenwell, Associate Professor, Biology Department


    Rosemary Ahmadi Staff Associate, Instructional Designer and Training Specialist
    Charles Bray Student
    Amanda Cornine Instructor, Nursing Department
    Brittany Jeye Assistant Professor, Psychology Department
    David Melpignano Day Adjunct Faculty, Communication Department
    Adam Shaughnessy Staff Associate, Academic Success Center

    Standard #9: Integrity, Transparency, and Public Disclosure


    Robert Brooks, Professor, Criminal Justice Department
    John Meany, Associate Director, Athletics Department


    Elena Arranz Non-Matriculated/Adult Student Advisor, Department of Graduate and Continuing Education
    Maria Isabel Gariepy Director of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity
    Jason Kapurch Director of University Police
    Andrea Latter Instructor, Nursing Department
    Amiya Phillips Student
    Christina Santana Assistant Professor, English Department
    Maureen Stokes Assistant Vice President of Communications and Marketing
    Casey Sullivan Staff Assistant, Financial Aid Office
    Jack Reardon Associate Director of Network and Infrastructure Services
    Wei-Chu Xu Assistant Professor, Chemistry Department

    Self-Study Timeline

    Fall 2020

    • Steering Committee Co-Chairs selected
    • Participation solicited and participants appointed
    • NECHE self-study workshop
    • NECHE annual meeting (November)

    Winter 2021

    • Self-study kickoff event
    • Subcommittee co-chairs meet
    • NECHE Data First workshop

    Spring 2021

    • Formal convening of the steering committee
    • Subcommittees meet
    • End-of-semester check-in

    Summer 2021

    • Review of AY 20 – 21 data
    • Website updates
    • Worcester State University community announcement

    Fall 2021

    • Meeting of the steering committee
    • Subcommittees meet
    • End-of-semester check-in
    • NECHE annual meeting (November)

    Winter 2022

    • Website updates
    • Worcester State University community announcement

    Spring 2022

    • Meeting of the steering committee
    • Subcommittees meet
    • End-of-semester check-in
    • Call for evaluation visit participants

    Summer 2022

    • Review of AY 21 – 22 data
    • Website updates
    • Drafts of self-study shared and edited
    • Draft evaluation visit schedule created

    Fall 2022

    • Visit arrangements made
    • Evaluation team workroom documents gathered
    • NECHE evaluation visit

    Important Resources

    PDF icon 2013 Worcester State University NEASC Accreditation Report
    PDF icon 2018 Worcester State University NEASC Interim 5th Year Accreditation Report
    PDF icon 2020 Worcester State University NECHE Distance Education Expedited Review Report
    PDF icon NECHE Self-Study Guide (2018)

    Opportunities for Input and Involvement

    Those interested in serving on a subcommittee may email Emily Soltano or Noah Dion directly.

    Those interested in providing anonymous concerns or suggestions may do so here.

    Those interested in participating in open steering committee meetings can access the times and meeting information here.

    Those interested in providing public comment in regard to the comprehensive evaluation may do so starting September 1, 2022, in accordance with NECHE’s policy.

    Those interested in participating in open sessions with the NECHE evaluation team may Emily Soltano or Noah Dion directly.