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Harrisburg University Self Study Program

Middle States Self Study Process

Also known as Middle States Commission on Higher Education, MSCHE is Harrisburg University’s regional accreditor. Each member institution, approximately 525, completes a comprehensive self-study every eight years. The self-study process guides the HU Community through the research-design, the development of the self-study report, and hosting a 2.5-day site-visit by peer educators and administrators over two years.

The official kick-off for the self-study occurred on October 28, 2019, with the 2019 Self-Study Institute hosted by MSCHE in Philadelphia. Harrisburg University’s team of Self-Study Co-Chairs attended a variety of sessions over 2.5 days to learn about the processes, revised standards, and content expectations for the comprehensive self-study initiative.

One Middle States expectation is broad-based community involvement in the self-study process. The HU Community uniquely excels in community commitment, as demonstrated through recent accounts of serving the HU students and colleagues over the past few months.

Members of the self-study working groups pledge continuous information sharing and engaged participation through this Self-Study site as the HU Community conducts an exciting, reflective institutional examination driven by continuous success and innovation.

How Can I Help?

The Self-Study officially launches July 1, 2020, with a Self-Study Design approved by the University’s MSCHE Liaison, Dr. Christy Faison. Below are just a few ways to participate in examining HU and telling the HU Story. 

Helpful Information and Links

Self Study Leadership

Eric D. Darr, Ph.D.

Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer
Duane F. Maun, CPA

Provost and Chief Academic Officer
Bili S. Mattes, Ed.D

Associate VP & Chief Information Officer
Alexander C. Pitzner

Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness
Glenn Mitchell, MD, MPH, CPE, FACEP

University Registrar
Sandra Nelson, Ed.D

Director of Assessment
Penny L. Weidner

Assistant Professor of Geospatial Technology & Director HU Geospatial Technology Center
Albert Sarvis, PMP, GISP

Working Groups’ Structure

Overall Self-Study Committee Stucture

Communication Updates


Self Study Volunteer

Are you interested in volunteering to be part of the Middle States self-study process?  The full self-study process will take about two and a half years, and volunteer commitments can be short-term or long-term.  It’s important to have people from across campus, including faculty, students, staff and administrators, to take active roles in the process – we need everyone’s voice!

Please contact Penny Weidner, Director of Assessment, at to volunteer.

Self Study Priorities and Outcomes

With the inputs from hosted student events, discussions with faculty and staff, and alignment with the institution’s mission, vision, and strategic goals, Harrisburg University identified five institutional priorities and outcomes to focus the self-study. The institutional priorities and intended outcomes framing the study were defined then shared with University leadership for final approval.

Defined Priorities

Student Success includes the myriad planned educational and social experiences orchestrated to provide social, emotional, and academic development of Harrisburg University students.  Civic engagement, research initiatives, and continuous individualized support combined with academic course work lay the foundation for successful STEM students at HU while bolstering the university’s continuous growth in retention, persistence, and completion rates. 

Continuous Improvement remains the central pillar for the university’s academic and operational units.  Recognizing the synergy between improvement and self-evaluation, the entire HU community strives for improvements in student and employee services, operational and tactical planning, and evidence-based decision-making associated with student success. institutional growth and positive local, regional, and global impact.

Growth and Sustainability are closely connected for a relatively young university since endowment support is minimal and operational income provides sustainability for both stable staff employment and programmatic expansion.

Innovation has been a central theme at HU since its inception with required experiential learning as part of the undergraduate curriculum; rigorous applied project or thesis work as part of the master’s degree programs; and  innovation and original work as integral to the new PhD programs. The entrepreneurial spirit, enhanced by corporate faculty from the broad science and technology industries, is a dominant force in the ethos of HU’s faculty as it develops graduates capable of immediate contributions to the regional, national, and global economy.

Infrastructure supports student life and classroom environments, staff professionalism, and even the well-being of the surrounding downtown economy. The growing university is expanding its structural presence in Harrisburg as well as developing the ability to support distributed educational settings elsewhere to provide a consistent educational product to more students interested in the HU approach.

Intended Outcomes of Self Study

Operating from principles of continuous improvement and managing growth, the HU community structured an inclusive, standing Institutional Effectiveness Committee for advancing student success, ensuring institutional planning, and meeting the University’s mission as the University grows. Recognizing the self-study process denotes one mechanism of demonstrating responsibility, the HU community structured the following five intended outcomes. Additionally, the proposed outcomes and self-study process contributes to framing the appropriate action plans following the self-study.    

Intended outcomes include to:

  1. Provide a concise, accurate analysis of findings, recognizing strengths and gaps, and proposing actionable recommendations across the five identified priorities and the University mission.
  2. Engage the entire Harrisburg University community in a thoughtful and transparent self-assessment process.
  3. Identify opportunities to enhance and sustain the rigor and extent of the University’s Institutional Effectiveness Committee’s on-going contributions to serving students and staff.
  4. Identify the elements necessary to design an effective internal and external communication plan to support the needs of a growing institution.
  5. Demonstrate how Harrisburg University consistently meets MSCHE standards, Requirements of Affiliation, and all federal compliance mandates.

Self Study Accreditation


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