David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   

September 10, 2021

Next week, Southwestern Michigan College goes through its third Accreditation Review Visit in 5 months. The previous two have been related to our regional accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC); this next one is for ACEN, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.  HLC recently modernized much of its process, allowing for electronic submission of an Assurance Argument versus a lengthy hard-copy self-study as the repository for all evidence.

The nurses still do it the old-fashioned way, with resource rooms full of files of evidence, and with the college providing a lengthy self-study submitted in hard copy. Luckily, my dean and nursing faculty did a great job putting the self-study together. I merely have to review in preparation for the site visit team's sessions with our executive team.

However, it has made me appreciate the phrase "self-study," something perhaps all of us should do as individuals. Our families, communities, overall society, would benefit from a comprehensive self-evaluation of ourselves as people. Not surprising, the idea leads me to verse:


Here I go, reflection and introspection,

My overwhelming documentation

Of what I am, not who I am,

A distinction I frequently dismiss

In my emotional self-absorption,

Because who I am is identity

Infused by ego and pride,

While what I am is the configuration

Of the braces, bridges, and girders.

This is peer review at a most primary scale,

Communal acceptance of standards

Necessary to be a credit to the human race.

After all, why shouldn't commitment to continuous

Quality improvement apply to individuals, too?

Setting our standards will be the hardest part,

As we weigh our personal missions,

Capacities, responsibilities, plans,

Overall structural integrity.

Measuring our psychological depths,

Our interpersonal finesse,

Financial intellect, or even

Our consistency in interactions,

Will chafe, vex and flummox us.

Welcome to the assessment abyss:

Don't worry, we all fear we are the dumbest.

More than all else, self-study may succeed

Where scripture has been lost at sea:

"Judge not, lest ye be judged."