Middle States Self-Study: 2022-2023

Accreditation Status

Essex County College is a member institution of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for accreditation.

Essex County College’s (ECC) full accreditation has been reaffirmed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE). The Commission voted on June 21, 2018 to continue ECC’s full accreditation.


From MSCHE Standards for Accreditation and Requirements of Affiliation

What is the Middle States Commission on Higher Education?


The Middle States Commission on Higher Education is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that defines, maintains, and promotes educational excellence across institutions with diverse missions, student populations, and resources. The Commission is dedicated to quality assurance and improvement through accreditation via peer evaluation. Middle States accreditation instills public confidence in institutional mission, goals, performance, and resources through its rigorous accreditation standards and their enforcement.


The Middle States Commission on Higher Education aspires to be the preeminent resource for institutions of higher education striving to achieve excellence in fulfilling their missions. It also intends, through voluntary assessment and adherence to high standards for student learning outcomes and operational behavior, to assure higher education’s publics that its accredited institutions are fulfilling their stated purposes and addressing the publics’ expectations.

Core Values*

The MSCHE is guided by these Core Values:

  • Voluntary membership
  • Self-regulation and peer-review
  • A continuous and seamless relationship with member institutions to promote continuous self-evaluation and institutional improvement
  • Respect for the unique mission of each institution and evaluation within that context
  • Student learning and effective teaching
  • Transparency about the accreditation processes and the status held by each member institution
  • Commitment to the principles of cooperation, flexibility, and openness
  • Responsiveness to the needs of the higher education community and societal changes
  • Consideration of societal and institutional needs through attention to and emphasis on both improvement and compliance
  • Responsiveness to a diverse, dynamic, global higher education community that is continually evolving


Date or Time Period


September – November 2020

Institution Representatives attend the Self-Study Institute

Administer a Nominations for Participation electronic sign-up, College-Wide
November 2020

Finalize the Steering Committee

Identify Working Group Chairs and Co-Chairs

Begin drafting the Self-Study Design

Meet with Institutional Advancement to begin developing our Self-Study webpage
December 2020

Meet individually with Working Group Chairs and Co-Chairs to establish Working Group membership

Outreach to obtain informal confirmations of willingness to serve by Working Group members

Provide an update to the President and the Board of Trustees on the development of the Self-Study Design

Create a late-stage working draft of the complete Self-Study Design

Conference call with our MSCHE VP Liaison (Held on 12/21/20)

Send a Pre-Winter Break Update to the Steering Committee, Working Group Chairs, and the Cabinet
January - February 2021

Official letters of invitation to be sent from the President to all Self-Study Team members

Host the first full Steering Committee meeting to review and obtain feedback the late stage working draft of the Self-Study Design

Host an Orientation with the full Self-Study Team

Host an ALO and VP Liaison Conference Call to finalize the agenda for the Preliminary visit

Deliver training to the Self-Study Team on the use of the SPOL Accreditation Module

Host our Preliminary Visit with our VP Liaison (Scheduled for 2/11/20)

Acceptance of the SSD by the Commission
Spring 2021

Working Groups begin meeting to work on their Charge

Conduct a spring 2021 Town Hall Event
Fall 2021

Working groups continue drafting their chapters and compiling evidence

First full drafts of the Standard Chapters are submitted to the Steering Committee and edited into a first draft.

Drafts are posted on the Self-Study website to solicit stakeholder feedback.

Conduct a fall 2021 Town Hall Event
Early Spring 2022

Self-Study Evaluation Team Chair chosen

Visit dates chosen

Accepted SSD sent to Chair

Working groups incorporate stakeholder input and continue refining their chapters and continue to compile evidence until mid-semester.

Working Groups submit second drafts of their Standard Chapters to the Steering Committee
Late spring 2022

The Steering Committee compiles and edits chapter drafts into a final Self-Study Report and conducts a final review in preparation for the Team Chair Preliminary Visit

Conduct a spring 2022 Town Hall Event
Fall 2022

Self-Study Report draft sent to Team Chair (2 weeks prior to visit)

Team Chair’s Preliminary Visit

Self-Study Report finalized based on Team Chair feedback and shared with campus
Spring 2023

Final Self-Study Report/Verification of Compliance/Evidence Inventory uploaded to MSCHE portal (six weeks before team visit)

Self-Study Evaluation Team Visit

Team Report

Institutional Response
June 2023

Commission meets to determine action and notifies the institution

Steering Committee Membership 

MemberTitle(s), Area/DisciplineSteering Committee Role(s)
Jeffrey LeeFaculty, Program Coordinator, Environmental ScienceCo-Chair
Evidence Inventory Team Leader
Leigh Bello-de CastroAssociate Dean, West Essex Campus and Online EducationCo-Chair
Communication Team Leader
John RunfeldtExecutive Director, Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and AssessmentAccreditation Liaison Officer (ALO)
Germaine AlbuquerqueActing Chair, Business DivisionStd. I Sub-Committee
Annie ChatterjeeLibrarian, FacultyStd. I Sub-Committee
Evidence Inventory Team
June PersaudAssociate Dean, Recruitment and Student ServicesStd. I Sub-Committee
Charles ReidFaculty, Social SciencesStd. I Sub-Committee
Std. II Working Group Liaison
Verification of Compliance Team Leader
Gale GageChair, Nursing and Health Sciences DivisionStd. III Working Group Liaison
Keith KirklandDean, Student AffairsStd. IV Working Group Liaison
Student Outreach Team Leader
Patrice DavisFaculty, Program Coordinator, Social SciencesStd. V Working Group Liaison
Mohamed SeddikiExecutive Dean/CIO, Administrative and Learning TechnologiesStd. VI Working Group Liaison
Yvette HenryExecutive Director, Human ResourcesStd. VII Working Group Liaison


Standard I Working Group Membership

Germaine AlbuquerqueActing Chair, Business Division
Dora CastroCollege Services Assistant, West Essex Campus
Annie Chatterjee Librarian, Faculty
June PersaudAssociate Dean, Recruitment and Student Services
Charles ReidFaculty, Social Sciences
Phyllis WalkerAssistant Director, Financial Aid

* Steering Committee Liaison – 


Standard II Working Group Membership

David Smedley (Chair)Director, Financial Aid
Hamid AlouachAdjunct Professor, Physics
Karen BridgettAssociate Director, Human Resources
Nessie HillFaculty, English
Shadiquah HordgeAssistant to the Executive Dean, Faculty and Academics
Serrietta JohnsonTechnical Assistant, Online Education
Myrna ScottFaculty, Nursing
Korena StewartFaculty, Nursing
Joy TolliverGeneral Counsel


Standard III Working Group Membership

Eunice Kamunge (Co-Chair)Chair, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Division
Elvy Vieira (Co-Chair)Dean, Community, Continuing Ed. and Workforce Development
Emmanuel AdepoFaculty, Math
Olalekan AdetoroAdjunct, Biology
Frank DuroyFaculty, General Science
Ines FiguerasFaculty, Math
Jeffrey JonesAdjunct, Math
Akil KhalfaniFaculty, Director, Center for Global Education
Mikal NashFaculty, History
Charles PinderhughesFaculty, Social Science
Margaret StevensFaculty, Humanities
Leola TaylorFaculty, Librarian
Lynn WilsonFaculty, Biology

* Steering Committee Liaison – Gale Gage, Chair, Nursing and Health Sciences Division


Standard IV Working Group Membership

Caroline Berretta (Co-Chair)Associate Director, EOF Verification of Compliance Team
Jamil Graham (Co-Chair)Director, Student Life and Activities
Kathy BattleFaculty, Social Sciences
Patty HowardAssistant Director, Financial Aid
Mirian OchoaStaff, Enrollment Services
Joseph OttProgram Coordinator, Student Life and Activities
Sonia RiosAssistant Director, Enrollment Services
Shalia StoryStaff, Graphics
Ada TorresCounselor, West Essex Campus
Diane Young-GarrettAdjunct Professor, Social Sciences

* Steering Committee Liaison – Keith Kirkland, Dean, Student Affairs


Standard V Working Group Membership

Yasser Kabakibi (Co-Chair)Faculty, Biology/Pre-Med.
Patrice Davis (Co-Chair)Faculty, Social Sciences
Ezdehar Abu-HatabFaculty, Biology
Gennevieve DanvilleFaculty, Program Coordinator, Nursing LPN
Jamal ElborjEnglish Coordinator
Ledawn HallDirector, Men and Women of Excellence Program
Yelena LyudmilovaAssistant Director, Education and Computing Technology
Ken MaillyFaculty, Physical Therapy
Brooke OroszChair, Mathematics, Engineering Tech., and Computer Science
Beatrice SpitzerAdjunct Faculty, Business
Billy ToomaFaculty, English
Bridget TurnerAdjunct Faculty, Education

* Steering Committee Liaison – Patrice Davis, Faculty, Social Sciences


Standard VI Working Group Membership

Alvin Williams (Chair)Acting Executive Dean, Faculty and Academics
Matilda AbavanaFaculty, Business
Elizabeth BarkleyDirector, Information Technology
Yvette JefferiesDirector, College Advancement and Foundation
Steve KeisterLibrarian, Faculty
Jinsoo ParkDirector, Institutional Research
Rachel PerniaFaculty, Business
George PetersonChief Financial Officer
Joanna Ramos-RibeiroStaff, Community, Continuing Ed., and Workforce Development
Alice Sanchez-VinciHR Generalist, Human Resources

* Steering Committee Liaison – Mohamed Seddiki, Executive Dean/CIO, Administrative and Learning Technologies


Standard VII Working Group Membership

Carlos Rivera (Chair)Faculty, Business
Mary Ellen CarpenterFaculty, Radiology
Andrew McCarthyAdjunct Professor, English
Darlene MillerBursar, President of the Administrative Association
Cheryl Newton-BanksDirector, Enrollment Services, West Essex Campus
Joanna RomanoDirector, EOF
Brian ShubeAdjunct Professor, Business
Robert SpellmanFaculty, Art
Victor StolbergCounselor, Student Development and Counseling
Jean Wilner-AlexandreFaculty, Business

* Steering Committee Liaison – Yvette Henry, Executive Director, Human Resources



In addition to the Steering Committee and six Working Groups, four additional small teams were created to work with the Steering Committee and Working Groups, each with a specialized role.  Each is led by a member of the Steering Committee, have three members, and may draw additional help from other members of the College as needed. 


Communications Team 
Oversees outgoing communications from the Steering Committee to the College community. This includes communications to employees, students, alumni, the President’s Cabinet, and the Board of Trustees as described in the Communication Plan in Section 10.Leigh Bello-de Castro (Team Leader)
Associate Dean, West Essex Campus, Online Education

Wayne Yourstone
Senior News Writer, Marketing and Communications

Jayson Hull
Marketing Assistant/Webmaster, Institutional Advancement
Verification of Compliance Team
Assists the Steering Committee and the Working Groups to ensure that the 15 Requirements of Affiliation are fully addressed and properly reflected in evidence throughout the Self-Study Report. Oversees the Verification of Compliance Plan as described in Section 8.(Team Leader)

Joy Tolliver
General Counsel

Shaliele Hunt
Administrative Assistant, Controllers Office
Evidence Inventory Team
Assists the Steering Committee and the Working Groups by providing an electronic platform and methodology for the cataloguing of evidence related to the Self-Study Report as outlined in Section 12.Jeffrey Lee (Team Leader)
Faculty, Program Coordinator, Environmental Science

Annie Chatterjee
Librarian, Faculty

Yelena Lyudmiliva
Assistant Director, Education and Computing Technologies
Student Outreach Team
Assists the Steering Committee and the Working Groups by coordinating contact with students as-needed to ensure the student voice is considered throughout the Self-Study in an efficient, yet effective manner.Keith Kirkland (Team Leader)
Dean, Student Affairs

Jamil Graham
Director, Student Life and Activities

Patricia Slade
Associate Dean, Student Life and Development

Nominations for Participation

From August to October of 2020, a Self-Study Nomination survey was administered which allowed all employees of the College to either self-nominate or nominate others to serve on a Self-Study Working Group.  The nomination process and the nomination survey web address was announced at the fall 2020 Convocation in August, and emailed to all College employees by President Boakye, with a follow-up reminder from the Accreditation Liaison Officer, John Runfeldt.  All College employees were encouraged to nominate themselves regardless of area or title.  The form allowed each nominee to indicate up to three preferences regarding which Working Group they wished to serve on.  Further messaging was designed to reinforce the College’s commitment to a Self-Study that was open and inclusive of all voices at the College.

The nominations for Working Group membership officially closed in December 2020. 

Click here to view the nomination form  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MSCHE_nominations


Working Group Charge

The Self-Study process is designed to produce a comprehensive picture of the College, its achievements, the internal and external environments in which it functions, and its plans for the future.  The process examines its mission, goals, programs, services, governance structure, faculty, resources, and, most importantly, the students we serve.  Outcomes of the areas studied are evaluated and suggestions offered for improvement. 



Research Strategies

  • Recognize that the bulk of your report should be analytical, not merely descriptive. Wherever possible, provide evidence for your findings and conclusions.
  • Read the entire Middle States Commission on Higher Education Accreditation Standards and Requirements of Affiliation, paying particular attention to the area your team is investigating. Refer to the crosswalk relating the Standards and the Requirements of Affiliation.      
  • Be familiar with STUDENTS FIRST: Strategic Plan 2019-2024 and especially the Objectives and Key Performance Indicators as achieving them will be part of the analysis of many charges.
  • Review the charges from the Steering Committee. If any of the charges are unclear, ask for clarification from your liaison.
  • Develop an action plan - what is to be done, by whom, how, and when. Two or more members of the Working Group should be assigned to each Research Question.  Members will most like be working on more than one question.
  • Develop a timeline and remain on schedule. The timetable should include an anticipated schedule of meetings of the Working Group.  To the extent required, members must become familiar with the use of Zoom for meetings. 
  • Familiarize yourself with your identified sources of information. Sources of information/data may be individuals, committees, academic or administrative offices, documents, research studies, etc.  The Evidence Inventory Team will both assist the Working Group and gather documents from the Group.
  • Should additional data be necessary, consult with your liaison. The Steering Committee must approve all surveys and/or focus group efforts in advance. 
  • Certain issues, such as the mission, institutional integrity, the four institutional priorities, and diversity, should be considered by every Working Group in addressing its specific charges. Since the Standards are all related to College operations, each group should anticipate contacting other groups.
  • All documents consulted for your report should be catalogued in your Working Group’s Evidence Inventory in SPOL. Training will be provided by the Evidence Inventory Team.
  • The use of graphs and tables, where they will facilitate understanding, is encouraged.
  • Every Working Group will make recommendations in the final portion of its report. Recommendations must flow from the analysis done by the Working Group and supported by documentation. A few well-reasoned policy and significant operations recommendations are preferable to a long list of to-do items.
  • All the information gathered by the Working Groups is valuable in developing a comprehensive picture of the college, however not all of it will appear in the final report. Drafts and final Working Group will be available for review and comment by the campus community.  The task of the Steering Committee is to review and consolidate the team reports into a final Self-Study report that meets Middle States editorial and length guidelines.



John Runfeldt, Executive Director - Institutional Effectiveness, Planning and Assessment
Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO)

Leigh Bello-de Castro, PhD - Associate Dean West Essex Campus and Online Education
Co-Chair, Steering Committee and Communications Team Leader

Jeffrey Lee, PhD - Faculty-Biology
Co-Chair, Steering Committee and Evidence Inventory Team Leader


Email: accreditation@essex.edu

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