Self-Study Report for Middle States Comprehensive Re-accreditation

The Cooper Union, as a member of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, voluntarily participates in the accreditation process run by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Accreditation is a means of self-regulation with the stated purpose:

An institution of higher education is a community dedicated to students, to the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge, to the study and clarification of values, and to the advancement of the society it serves. The Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), through accreditation, mandates that its member institutions meet rigorous and comprehensive standards, which are addressed in the context of the mission of each institution and within the culture of ethical practices and institutional integrity expected of accredited institutions. In meeting the quality standards of MSCHE accreditation, institutions earn accredited status, and this permits them to state with confidence: “Our students are well-served; society is well-served.”

The Cooper Union's decennial evaluation will take place in the first quarter of 2018.

Central to the decennial review is a self-evaluation to examine the institution in the context of the seven Middle States Standards and fifteen Requirements of Affiliation (Middle States Revised Standards). A successful accreditation requires evidence of compliance with each of those standards and requirements.

The process began with the appointment of a Self-Study Steering Committee. The membership of the Steering Committee for our 2018 evaluation is:

  • Daniel Lepek, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering (co-chair)
  • Brian Cusack, Director of Campus Enterprise Systems (co-chair)

Standards Working Group Chairs

  1. Sam Keene, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering
  2. Claire Gunning, Librarian
  3. Christine Osinski, Professor of Art
  4. Cara di Edwardo, Technician – Printmaking
  5. Ben Davis, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering
  6. Yash Risbud, Director – C.V. Starr Research Foundation
  7. Day Gleeson, Associate Professor of Art

Mindy Lang (Creative Director – Office of Communications) is a member of the steering committee offering her expertise and advise.

The Steering Committee organized the Self-Study beginning with the formation of seven Working Groups led by a steering committee member, each tasked with overseeing one specific Middle States standard. The Working Groups are comprised of volunteers from all areas of the institution including faculty, staff (both part time and full time), administrators, trustees and students.

In November 2016, the Steering Committee published a Self-Study Design based on the research of each working group.  

In 2017, the Steering Committee used the Self-Study Design to perform a review and assessment of the current state of the institution.  In February, the Steering Committee published a draft of the Self-Study Report and invited feedback from the community.  Thank you to all who submitted feedback!  Last week, the report was finalized and sent to the evaluation team, who will be visiting next month.

Read the final 2018 Self-Study Report

The next steps of the re-accreditation process include preparing for their visit in April 2018.

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.