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

Thank you for taking the time to read through the Essex County College Middle States Self Study Report.  As a part of our process, we are asking the public to review the Draft documents and provide the Steering Committee with your feedback to address any concerns or evidence gaps within the text of the report.  The online public comment section to all Standards will be closed on June 1, 2022. If you have additional questions please contact us at accreditation@essex.edu

We thank you for taking the time to review the Drafts and value your feedback!

The institution’s mission defines its purpose within the context of higher education, the students it serves, and what it intends to accomplish. The institution’s stated goals are clearly linked to its mission and specify how the institution fulfills its mission.

Click on the link to review the Standard I criteria https://www.msche.org/standards/#standard_1

Review Standard I DRAFT  SI DRAFT DOC 422 (Document - Pending)

Evaluate the DRAFT and provide comments  STANDARD  I Feedback

Ethics and integrity are central, indispensable, and defining hallmarks of effective higher education institutions. in all activities, whether internal or external, an institution must be faithful to its mission, honor its contracts and commitments, adhere to its policies, and represent itself truthfully.

Click on the link to review the Standard II criteria Standards - Middle States Commission on Higher Education (msche.org)

Review Standard I DRAFT  SII DRAFT DOC 422 (Document - Pending)

Evaluate the DRAFT and provide comments STANDARD II Feedback

An institution provides students with learning experiences that are characterized by rigor and coherence at all program, certificate, and degree levels, regardless of instructional modality. All learning experiences, regardless of modality, program pace/schedule, level, and setting are consistent with higher education expectations

Click on the link to review the Standard III criteria Standards - Middle States Commission on Higher Education (msche.org)

Review Standard I DRAFT  SIII DRAFT DOC 422 (Document - Pending)

Evaluate the DRAFT and provide comments STANDARD III Feedback  

Across all educational experiences, settings, levels, and instructional modalities, the institution recruits and admits students whose interests, abilities, experiences, and goals are congruent with its mission and educational offerings. The institution commits to student retention, persistence, completion, and success through a coherent and effective support system sustained by qualified professionals, which enhances the quality of the learning environment, contributes to the educational experience, and fosters student success.

Click on the link to review the Standard IV criteria Standards - Middle States Commission on Higher Education (msche.org)

Review Standard IV DRAFT DOC 422 

Evaluate the DRAFT and provide comments STANDARD IV Feedback  

Assessment of student learning and achievement demonstrates that the institution’s students have accomplished educational goals consistent with their program of study, degree level, the institution’s mission, and appropriate expectations for institutions of higher education.

Click on the link to review the Standard V criteria Standards - Middle States Commission on Higher Education (msche.org)

Review Standard V DRAFT DOC 422

Evaluate the DRAFT and provide comments STANDARD V Feedback

The institution’s planning processes, resources, and structures are aligned with each other and are sufficient to fulfill its mission and goals, to continuously assess and improve its programs and services, and to respond effectively to opportunities and challenges.

Click on the link to review the Standard VI criteria Standards - Middle States Commission on Higher Education (msche.org)

Review SVI DRAFT DOC 422 (Document - Pending)

Evaluate the DRAFT and provide comments STANDARD VI Feedback  

The institution is governed and administered in a manner that allows it to realize its stated mission and goals in a way that effectively benefits the institution, its students, and the other constituencies it serves. Even when supported by or affiliated with governmental, corporate, religious, educational system, or other unaccredited organizations, the institution has education as its primary purpose, and it operates as an academic institution with appropriate autonomy.


Click on the link to review the Standard VII criteria Standards - Middle States Commission on Higher Education (msche.org)

Review Standard VII DRAFT DOC 422

Evaluate the DRAFT and provide comments STANDARD VII Feedback  


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, Student Affairs/Special ProjectsCo-Chair
Communications Team Leader
John RunfeldtExecutive Director, Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and AssessmentAccreditation Liaison Officer (ALO)
Germaine AlbuquerqueChair, Business DivisionStd. I Working Group Co-Chair
Aneliia ChatterjeeLibrarian, FacultyStd. I Working Group Member
June PersaudAssociate Dean, Academic Affairs/Special ProjectsStd. I Working Group Co-Chair
Alvin Williams Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer Std. III Steering Committee Liaison
Keith KirklandDean, Student AffairsStd. IV Steering Committee Liaison
Student Outreach Team Leader
Patrice DavisFaculty, Program Coordinator, Social SciencesStd. V Working Group Co-Chair Std. V Steering Committee Liaison
Mohamed SeddikiExecutive Dean/CIO, Administrative and Learning TechnologiesStd. VI Working Group Liaison
Yvette HenryExecutive Director, Human ResourcesStd. VII Steering Committee Liaison
Yelena LyudmilovaAssistant Director, Education and Computing TechnologiesStd. V Working Group Member
Evidence Inventory Team Member


Standard I Working Group Membership

Germaine AlbuquerqueChair, Business Division
Dora CastroCollege Services Assistant, West Essex Campus
Aneliia Chatterjee Librarian, Faculty
June Persaud, Co-ChairAssociate Dean, Academic Affairs/Special Projects
Phyllis WalkerAssistant Director, Financial Aid
Viral BhattAssistant Professor, Humanities & Bilingual Studies
Michael DoughtieDirector, Athletics

* Steering Committee Liaison – 


Standard II Working Group Membership

Shadiquah Hordge (Chair)Transfer Coordinator
Hamid AlouachAdjunct Professor, Physics
Karen BridgettAssociate Director, Human Resources
Nessie HillFaculty, English
Serrietta JohnsonTechnical Assistant, Student Life and Activities
Myrna ScottFaculty, Nursing
Christine Soto
General Counsel

* Steering Committee Liaison –


Standard III Working Group Membership

Eunice Kamunge (Co-Chair)Chair, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics Division
Elvira Vieira (Co-Chair)Dean, Community, Continuing Education 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 and Experiences, Africana Institute
Mikal NashFaculty, History
Charles PinderhughesFaculty, Social Science
Margaret StevensFaculty, Humanities
Leola Taylor-BandeleFaculty, Librarian
Lynn WilsonFaculty, Biology

* Steering Committee Liaison – Alvin Williams, Dean of Faculty and Chief Academic Officer


Standard IV Working Group Membership

Caroline Beretta (Co-Chair)Educational Opportunity Fund
Jamil Graham (Co-Chair)Director, Student Life and Activities
Kathlyn BattleFaculty, Social Sciences, Counselor, Student Development & Counseling
Patty HowardAssistant Director, Financial Aid
Mirian OchoaStudent Services Representative, Enrollment Services
Joseph OttProgram Coordinator, Student Life and Activities
Sonia RiosAssistant Director, Enrollment Services
Shalia StoryStaff, Graphics
Ada TorresLecturer, West Essex Campus
Diane Young-GarrettAdjunct Professor, Social Sciences
India Calloway
Lecturer, Educational Opportunity Fund

* 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
Samantha BranniganAssistant Director, Institutional Effectiveness
Gennevieve DanvilleFaculty, Program Coordinator, Nursing LPN
Jamal ElborjEnglish Coordinator, Humanities
Ledawn HallDirector, Men and Women of Excellence Scholars Program
Yelena LyudmilovaAssistant Director, Education and Computing Technologies
Brooke OroszFaculty, Math
Beatrice SpitzerAdjunct Faculty, Business
Bridget TurnerAdjunct Faculty, Education

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


Standard VI Working Group Membership

Matilda AbavanaFaculty, Business
Elizabeth BarkleyDirector, Information Technology
Yvette Jefferies (Co-Chair)Director, College Advancement and Foundation
Jinsoo ParkDirector, Institutional Research
Rachel PerniaFaculty, Business
Joanna Ramos-RibeiroAssistant to the Dean of Community, Continuing Education, 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 (Co-Chair)Faculty, Business
Mary Ellen CarpenterFaculty, Radiology
Andrew McCarthyAdjunct Professor, English
Cheryl Newton-BanksDirector, Enrollment Services, West Essex Campus
Joanna RomanoDirector, Education Opportunity Fund
Brian ShubeAdjunct Professor, Business
Robert SpellmanFaculty, Art
Victor StolbergCounselor, Student Development and Counseling
Jean Wilner-AlexandreFaculty, Business
Edmund AkweiAssistant Bursar

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



In addition to the Steering Committee and seven 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, Student Affairs/Special Projects

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)

Christine Soto
General Counsel

Shaliele Hunt
Administrative Assistant, Finance
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

Aneliia Chatterjee
Librarian, Faculty

Yelena Lyudmilova
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

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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