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Reaccreditation

Reaccreditation Review and Self-Study Report

The University of Pennsylvania is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The University is currently in the midst of its decennial reaccreditation review, a rigorous process in which the University prepares an in-depth campus-wide Self-Study Report and is reviewed by an evaluation team consisting of faculty members and administrators from peer institutions. Penn has completed its Self-Study Report, which can be read, in full or in individual chapters, at the links below and to the left.  

The Middle States evaluation team visited Penn in March 2014. The team members were:

·         John J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University (Chair)

·         W. Kent Fuchs, Provost, Cornell University

·         Nancy Malkiel, Professor of History, Princeton University

·         Linda Abrams Reimer, Senior Vice President for Student Services, The New School

The final step in Penn’s reaccreditation review will be formal action by the Commission at a meeting later this year, most likely during the summer. 

Executive Summary

This Self-Study Report describes how the mission and goals articulated in the Penn Compact: From Excellence to Eminence guide undergraduate education at the University of Pennsylvania. It also describes the processes by which Penn assesses undergraduate education, especially student learning, in its four undergraduate schools and in the other educational programs offered to undergraduates. Taken as a whole, the Self-Study Report demonstrates that Penn meets the Middle States Commission on Higher Education’s Standards of Excellence as they pertain to undergraduate education. Continue to read the full Executive Summary ... 

Chapter 1: Introduction

The University of Pennsylvania is a private, research-intensive university located in West Philadelphia. Penn traces its origin to 1740 and continues to pursue the principles of its founder, Benjamin Franklin: invention, outreach, entrepreneurship, innovation, and the pragmatic unity of theory and practice. Penn’s educational offerings balance the arts and sciences with the professions. Undergraduate degree programs for traditional students are offered through four schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Nursing, and the Wharton School. Continue to read the full chapter ...

Chapter 2: Access and Equity

Increasing access to a Penn education for all students around the world, regardless of financial need, has been one of the core priorities of the Penn Compact since the 2004 inauguration of President Gutmann. To implement this goal at the undergraduate level, the University introduced an “all-grant, no-loan” aid package in 2007 for financially eligible students. As a result, Penn’s traditional undergraduate student body has become increasingly diverse across all measures, including students from all 50 US states and more than 100 countries around the world. Continue to read the full chapter ... 

Chapter 3: Local Engagement

Penn aspires to be a leading citizen of our city and our neighborhood. Over the past decade, we have increasingly placed local engagement and community service at the heart of undergraduate life, expanding three major centers of civic engagement and also a wide scope of activities that involve students across curricular and extracurricular activities. While these activities are not a required component of a Penn undergraduate education, they can add immeasurably to the student experience and reflect the University's abiding interest in developing strong citizens as well as outstanding scholars. Continue to read the full chapter ... 

Chapter 4: Global Engagement

Penn is an American university with a global perspective that prepares its students to be the leaders of an increasingly global society. To implement this mission of global engagement, we have provided students with increasingly robust opportunities for study and internships abroad—in both longer-term and shorter-term formats—and also forged a campus community that is vibrantly global in both character and scope. Moreover, we have significantly increased our initiatives designed to make an impact in the global arena, especially improving global health and increasing access to education around the world through open learning. Continue to read the full chapter ... 

Chapter 5: Integrating Knowledge

With twelve diverse and outstanding schools on one contiguous campus, Penn is uniquely positioned to be a global leader in integrating knowledge across disciplines. Since the Penn Compact formalized this priority in 2004, it has become an increasingly defining element of teaching and learning at Penn. Our undergraduates take advantage of a wide range of minors, dual majors, and interdisciplinary programs. Our faculty and research have been enriched by an increased focus on interdisciplinary hiring exemplified by the Penn Integrates Knowledge Professors program, which brings highly distinguished senior professors to campus with appointments across two different schools. Continue to read the full chapter ... 
 

Chapter 6: Undergraduate Research

A great research university ought to engage undergraduate students in the excitement and possibilities of original research, teaching intellectual habits and practical skills that will last throughout their lives. Research in this way exemplifies Penn’s defining emphasis on combining the theoretical with the practical, as first defined by our founder Benjamin Franklin. Research is the ultimate step in a learning process that helps students become proficient in fundamental skills. By allowing students to move beyond the traditional classroom experience—in which they may often encounter pre-packaged problems and scenarios with known solutions and outcomes—research forces them to carefully consider how to identify an important or relevant problem, formulate a question or hypothesis, gather evidence, develop a paradigm for evaluating and understanding a major problem within that discipline, and work toward a potential solution. Continue to read the full chapter ... 

Chapter 7: Assessment of Student Learning

Penn believes strongly in assessing student learning and achievement. The School of Arts and Sciences, whose College of Arts and Sciences is central to undergraduate education at Penn, has pioneered assessments of student learning that can serve as a model for other undergraduate colleges. Our other three undergraduate schools also continue to lead the assessment of student learning in alignment with the expectations of their fields of study and the relevant external accrediting bodies. Continue to read the full chapter ... 

Chapter 8: Finance and Administration

An outstanding undergraduate education requires outstanding services, resources, and facilities to support it. Over the past decade, Penn has worked hard to enhance coordination and integration across schools and programs as the most effective means of improving undergraduate academic experiences. This work has included expanding opportunities for dual degrees, inter-school minors, and other cross-school and cross-disciplinary programs; advancing innovative technologies for teaching and learning; enhancing state-of-the-art student support services; and sustaining the critical housing and other infrastructure that supports student learning both in and out of the classroom. Continue to read the full chapter ... 

Chapter 9: Conclusion

The purpose of this Self-Study was to explore and evaluate undergraduate education through the prism of the Penn Compact and propose directions that could improve the educational experiences of Penn undergraduates. The Compact provides a vision for the University, a foundation for looking beyond the daily activities of teaching, research and service to examine longer term goals and aspirations. The Self-Study examined Penn’s priorities and asked: are our aspirations being met? The answer to that question is unequivocally “yes.” Continue to read the full chapter ...