Middle States Commission on Higher Education: Support for CUNY Colleges

CUNY colleges, as well as the Graduate School and University Center, receive their institutional accreditation from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE or Middle States). MSCHE examines each institution as a whole, rather than specific programs within institutions.



In May 2018 a CUNY-wide MSCHE Council was formed to share expertise and experience among colleges and provide workshops. Upcoming events are:

March 1, 2019 – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Institutional Effectiveness Workshop

April 12, 2019 – 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – MSCHE Symposium at CUNY

Previous events include:

Oct 23, 2018 – Direct Assessment of AES Units Workshop  Dr. Michael C. Martinez-Sachs’ presentation is available here: Direct Assessment of AES

Oct 12, 2018 – CUNY Panel Discussion about Hosting Self-Study Evaluation Visits

May 11, 2018 – Administrative and Educational Support Unit Assessment Workshop  Dr. Christopher Shults’ presentation is available here: AES Workshop

Please contact Tammie Cumming for more details on the MSCHE Council and its events.


CUNY Assessment Council

The CUNY-wide Assessment Council fosters a culture of assessment and evidence-based decision-making within CUNY and among its colleges by identifying, developing, and communicating best practices in assessment.

Please contact Abigail Morrison, Erika Carlson, or Michael Anderson for more details on the Assessment Council, or visit its website.


Central Office Support Team

The Central Office of Academic Affairs created an internal support team to provide guidance on and pre-review of colleges’ required Middle States documents, including Self-Studies and Follow-up Reports.

The support team is composed of OAA senior staff members with experience on both sides of the process (on college campuses and as Middle States reviewers). OAA has deep knowledge of academic programs and New York State requirements, especially important for Substantive Change Requests. We also work with consultants as needed.

In addition, OAA is responsible for collecting all reports submitted to Middle States and all official correspondence between CUNY colleges and Middle States, for the official records of CUNY.


Voluntary Document Review

Central OAA’s Middle States support team is available for guidance on and pre-review of your required Middle States documents, including Self-Studies and Follow-up Reports. Submitting your draft documents to the support team is optional; it is not a CUNY policy.

To take advantage of voluntary review, please email your draft document to academicaffairs@cuny.edu or Karen Kapp. For Follow-up Reports, including Monitoring Reports, submit at least 6 weeks before your document is due to MSCHE. For Self-Studies, please contact Karen Kapp directly to discuss a timeline. You are welcome to submit drafts earlier or reach out to us to discuss planning at any time during your process.

Although CUNY colleges are not required to participate in pre-review of Middle States documents, colleges are required to send Central OAA a full and final copy (including appendices) of all reports once submitted, for CUNY records.


Need advice? Want to know how other CUNY colleges have handled certain issues?

A CUNY-wide listserv is available to connect you with your colleagues across CUNY to ask questions, share advice, and make suggestions about anything Middle States. To join the listserv, please email Zhanna Kushmakova.

We ask that every college’s Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO) remain an active member of the listserv. Others from your college are encouraged to join too.


Official Correspondence to/from Middle States

It is OAA policy that colleges send copies of all official communication to academicaffairs@cuny.edu, including all final documents (with appendices), all letters to and from Middle States, and all reviewers’ reports.

Substantive Change Requests

In order to ensure that changes are recorded with New York State and the CUNY Board of Trustees, all Substantive Change Requests must be submitted for Central OAA approval before submission to Middle States.

Please email Substantive Change Requests to Ekaterina Sukhanova at least 3 weeks before you plan to submit them to MSCHE.

Information on Substantive Change is found on the MSCHE site: https://www.msche.org/substantive-change/

Advance Notice of Potential Issues

By providing your official correspondence with MSCHE, OAA should be made aware of any potential problems. However, we also rely on you to be forthcoming so that we can provide support to you well in advance.


The OAA support team does not offer pre-review of documents for accreditation agencies other than Middle States.

However, please let us know in advance of any potential issues with your accreditation through other agencies as well.

Questions about information on this page? Please email Karen Kapp.