University of Vermont

UVM Self-Study | NEASC Accreditation

UVM SELF-STUDY | NEASC Accreditation

Steering Committee Meeting Minutes

August 2, 2007

President' Conference Room

A meeting of the Accreditation Steering Committee was held on Thursday, Aug. 2 from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

PRESENT: Jill Tarule, Mara Saule, Nancy Bercaw, Rocki DeWitt, Eleanor Miller, Justin Joffe, Dale Jaffe, Chris Landry, Cynthia Forehand, Kathy Marmor, Robyn Warhol, Fred Curran, Jane Knodell, Fran Carr

  1. General Remarks

    Tarule said the invitation letter for standards committee members has been completed by President Fogel and is ready to be sent. A launch letter and open invitation to the university community will be readyand sent shortly after Aug. 20, the day faculty members are due back.

  2. Timelime Review

    Saule reviewed the draft timeline for the Self-Study, Aug. 2007 through May 1, 2008 (attached). Completing templates from standards co-chairs was determined to be an iterative process with Aug. 10 being the first due date for a draft in that process.

    Dates that require Steering Committee Members attendance are as follows: Sept. 17 for the All-Committee Orientation and Training; Sept. 27 for the Steering Committee to review the Standards Committees’ Workplans; and, Oct. 8 for a Steering Committee meeting.

  3. Template Review

    The committee determined that plans for acquiring data will vary by standards and some data needs/findings will crossover multiple standards. DeWitt suggested using the "Notes" column in the Template to identify other coordinating standards. Steering Committee members may also use their own versions of the template to accumulate data. Drafts of templates or template info should be sent directly to Nancy Bercaw at (

  4. Focus Groups

    Four open fora and multiple focus groups will be scheduled for September and October. Their purpose is to have a conversation with a wide-range of UVM stakeholders and community members. The process, explained Tarule, has worked well for other institutions, like Miami, University of Ohio and helps generate over-arching themes for the Self-Study and provide coherence for the Report. It’s also a strategy for engaging the university in the fact that UVM is undergoing the process of accreditation.

    A draft list of focus groups was reviewed and discussed by the committee. The point was made that there should be extra effort to identify groups that are marginal and/or not "the usual suspects" such as the President’s Commissions, student sub groups, etc. At issue for successful focus groups: not creating "vision fatigue" for the institution; using "appreciative inquiry theory" to frame the questions; providing feedback to each group about what "we heard" from them; ensuring that all voices at UVM have an opportunity to comment; the importance of building awareness about the Self-Study; the need for guidelines and consistency in guiding the discussions and gathering responses; and, clarity of goals prior to the process.

    Tarule, Saule, Jaffe and Bercaw will generate a revised version of focus groups and questions.

Last modified April 29 2008 11:14 PM