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Middle States Accreditation records

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArc-0076

Scope and Contents

Middle States Accreditation records contain documents related to preparation of self-evaluations by the entire university and by individual departments, including committee notes, correspondence and final reports; records of visits and evaluations by the Middle States Association of College and Secondary Schools; assessments after the accreditation process; as well as progress reports and interim reports. The bulk of the collection relates to the first accreditation undertaken by the Middle States Association from 1957 to 1958.

Other reporting years in the collection include: 1969, 1978, 1986, 1997 and 2007.


  • Creation: 1957-2007
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1957 - 1958


Restrictions on Access

This collection is not open to researchers.

Historical Information

The Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) can trace its origins to the founding of the Rochester Athenaeum in 1829. After joining with several different Rochester institutions during the 19th century, the Athenaeum finally merged with the Mechanics Institute (founded in 1885) in 1891 to form the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI). RAMI changed its name to the Rochester Institute of Technology in 1944 to better reflect the Institute's role in the field of technical education.

During the early 1950s, the university started to discuss becoming accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Middle States (as it is often called) is a regional accreditating organization for the following states and territories: Delaware; Florida; Maryland; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Washington, DC; Puerto Rico; and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In January 1957, Dr. Leo F. Smith, Dean of Instruction at RIT, announced that the school was about to undertake a self-evaluation process. A large portion of this evaluation was to be the final report required by Middle States as part of the accreditation process.

This self-assessment was not the first evaluation performed by the Institute. Starting in 1928, the university continually sought to find ways to improve its educational program. Then, in 1944 a planning committee was formed to evaluate the school's programs and facilities in preparation for enrollment increases following World War II. Still, the self-evaluation planned for 1958 was the largest formal assessment ever conducted at the university.

The university had several reasons to seek accreditation. Being accredited would increase the prestige of the university in the educational community. Additionally, if Middle States granted the accreditation, credits from RIT would more easily transfer to other accredited institutions and the university would be eligible for more grants and awards for educational research. With rising enrollment figures and increasing pressure to admit more students, a university-wide self-evaluation made sense.

Dr. James W. Wilson, Coordinator of Educational Research at RIT, was named the chairman of the steering committee for the evaluation. Over 100 people including faculty, staff, and administrators, were divided into 20 committees to assess RIT's current situation and identify the university's future needs. The school's administration hoped to address three questions during the evaluation:

  • How can we, in light of the obvious national need for more and better educated people, make our educational programs most effective?
  • How can we effectively utilize our faculty resources in light of a potential teacher shortage?
  • How can we most effectively expand our physical plant to accommodate an increased student population?
  • Extent

    5 Linear Feet (1 carton and 7 document boxes)




    Records related to the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools accreditation process.


    This collection is currently unprocessed.

    Materials related to the 2007 self-study and report are digital files and reside on the archives server.

    Contact the archives staff for access.

    Other Finding Aids

    In addition to this finding aid, an inventory is available below. For more information, please contact the RIT Archive Collections.

    Middle States Accreditation records

    Source of Acquisition

    Accession number: 98:04

    Portions of the collection were given to the RIT Archive Collections by the Office of the Provost in March 1998.

    Processing Information

    Finding aid created by Lara Nicosia in January 2011.

    Middle States Accreditation records
    RIT Archives
    Lara Nicosia
    28 January 2011
    Description rules
    Describing Archives: A Content Standard
    Language of description
    Script of description
    Code for undetermined script
    Language of description note

    Repository Details

    Part of the RIT Archives Repository

    Rochester NY 14623 USA