Middle States Commission visits Hood for reaccreditation

A couple weeks ago, Hood students might have noticed quite a few less parking spaces available in the Whitaker lot for a few days.


While some students who tend to run late may have experienced some early morning panic, it was all for a good cause. Beginning March 26, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) visited Hood in an effort to keep Hood an accredited college. The team visited from Sunday until Wednesday at noon.


Hood College, like other private and public universities and colleges in the Mid-Atlantic region, is accredited by the MSCHE.


“It’s important to be accredited for a variety of reasons,” said Donna Bertazzoni, director of the Communications Arts program at Hood and co-chair of the committee who oversaw the reaccreditation process. “It certifies to employers and to graduate schools that our institution meets certain well-defined standards.”


She continued to stress the importance of this reaccreditation by saying that without it, Hood wouldn’t be able to give its students federal financial aid. Also, the college wouldn’t be eligible for the outside accreditation that it has for programs like education, nursing, computer science, business administration and social work.


“In other words, it’s a big deal,” Bertazzoni said.


Middle States is changing its accreditation cycle, and beginning this fall, all institutions will be reviewed on an 8-year cycle instead of the previous 10-year cycle, which Hood College just completed.


A couple years ago, Cindy Emory, the director of the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment, and Bertazzoni attended the “Self-Study Institute,” a workshop for colleges and universities that were entering the self-study review process. Emory and Bertazzoni were named the co-chairs of the Self-Study steering committee, which consists of a group of faculty, staff and administrators who oversaw the reaccreditation process.


“For the next 18 months, we undertook an extensive and intensive self-examination, looking at all areas of the College to ensure that it met the 14 standards outlined in the guidebook we were expected to follow,” Bertazzoni said.


Each of the standards was assigned to a group that included faculty, staff, students and administrators. Each group put together a detailed report that was reviewed by the entire steering committee.


Last summer, once the group reports were completed, Bertazzoni compiled them into a singular report that went through extensive editing and revisions by many across Hood’s campus.


“Their help was invaluable in crafting the final version of the report that was sent to Middle States and the peer review team in February,” Bertazzoni commented.


“In essence, a (MSCHE) team visit is a fact-finding mission,” she said. “The team spends the bulk of its time on campus meeting with various campus constituencies and getting any questions they may have answered.”


They interviewed members of the senior team and had open meetings with students and staff. They also reviewed the documentation that Hood provided to back up what was said in the report.


“I’ve been an evaluator and it is a very intensive process,” said Bertazzoni.


The team allowed students to meet with them in order for their compliments and concerns with Hood and its operations to be heard. The meetings were held on campus for approximately an hour, and the team members listened as students described their experience at Hood.


Overall, the team prepares a report that outlining whether the college meets certain standards and whether they have any recommendations or suggestions.


The team provided a feedback session for any faculty or staff member who could attend during the week.


“They cannot tell us whether they will recommend us for reaccreditation,” said Bertazzoni. “That information is shared only with Middle States. However, they do send us a report that outlines their broad findings and whether they had any commendations, suggestions or recommendations.”


The report has not gone to Middle States yet, but according to Bertazzoni, the team chair indicated the team felt Hood met all of the standards. They provided some suggestions and recommendations for the college as well.


The commission reviews all of the material from each of the colleges they visit at its meeting in June. Hood should know about its reaccreditation status in July.


Colleges Against Cancer comes to Hood

A recently formed club at Hood College is making a difference for cancer patients and survivors, both locally and across the nation.
Emily Zimmerman, a Hood sophomore founded the Hood College chapter of Colleges Against Cancer. This organization is a collaboration between college students and staff in support of the American Cancer Society (ACS.) While there are many chapters across the country, this is the first time that Hood has gotten its own chapter here in Frederick.
The club was approved at Hood in October. Since then, they have had three meetings, but plan to meet twice a month on Sunday nights.
So far, there are fifteen student members in the club and Zimmerman hopes that the club’s size will expand as more people find out about it. One Hood professor and two advisors from the Frederick chapter of the ACS are also involved with the club.
“It’s a nationwide club so we’re just a chapter of it,” Zimmerman explained. “The club is run by the American Cancer Society.”
Any money the club gets goes to the American Cancer Society, she added. Since the formation of the club, Hood’s CAC has devised multiple ways of raising money for the ACS.

Initial flyer for CAC

Initial flyer for CAC

One of the club’s first endeavors included selling T-shirts to raise money. The shirts will be available until April. They also sold paper cupcakes for $1 so that students and staff could write their names on them and display them in Whitaker.
The club is also in the process of making “lily pads” for the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Oncology ward. These lily pads, shaped like their namesake, are hard platforms that fit around a child’s IV pole and allow the kids to be more mobile; they can sit or stand on the pad. The pads are painted with cheerful designs and colors.
“We had a rough start trying to figure out how to start [the club],” Zimmerman admitted. “Some things happened and we didn’t get approved until October. I was getting frustrated but in the end we ended up getting approved.”
The club recently held a 50/50 raffle at the High School Championship Basketball Tournament and was able to donate approximately $450 to the ACS.
“Our goal is to raise as much money as possible for the ACS because it goes to anybody who has cancer within the United States,” Zimmerman said.
Zimmerman has high hopes that the club will carry on at Hood after she graduates. So far, there are three freshmen in the group who can continue the club’s legacy.
Anyone wishing to donate, can mail donations to Zimmerman’s Hood mailbox at 401 Rosemont Ave, 1137, Frederick, MD 21701-8524. Checks are payable to Hood College, but the memo line should state that it is for Colleges Against Cancer.

Students talk about main issues about their political party

The election process can be a confusing time for students looking to form an opinion and cast their vote. This is one of the reasons why a 2016 Election Event was held for Hood students on Feb. 23. From 1:00 until 2:30, approximately thirty-five students sat in the Hodson Auditorium, listening to four of their classmates examine the main issues surrounding their political parties during this election period.

Carin Robinson, assistant professor of political science, facilitated the discussion. According to Robinson, the inspiration for the event came from a student who was unsure about her political opinions and wanted a chance to discuss and learn about her options.

Claire Kondig and Margaret Hindman sat outside the auditorium, representing the League of Women Voters of Frederick County. The purpose of this organization is to register voters and educate voters about elections.

“Encouraging people to vote is what the league is about,” said Hindman.

Students were able to register to vote at their table from 1-2:30 during the election event.

The two students representing the Hood College Democrats were Dan Cramer and Sam Kebede. On the Republican side were Brice McAndrew and Allen Paxton.

“The Republican Party is the party for the individual,” said Paxton.

“We are the party of freedom,” McAndrews said. “I am a proud Republican. I am a proud individual.”

Dan Cramer spoke first for the Democratic Party. He stated that the Democratic Party is “a foremost fighter on social issues”, and reminded the audience that unemployment has been on a steady decline during President Obama’s two terms.

“You have to vote, and you have to vote Democrat,” concluded Cramer.

The first issue the students discussed was illegal immigration. Democrat Sam Kebide spoke first.

“We are a nation of immigrants,” Kebide said. “These are still people. People who are fleeing violence.”

On the Republican side, Paxton called for securing the border so “we know who’s coming in.”

After that topic, foreign policy was the next issue to be discussed, followed by the economy.

“It’s a job killer, it doesn’t work,” said Paxton about raising minimum wage. “We need to create more higher paying jobs instead of higher paying minimum wage jobs,”

The last issue covered was the rising dissatisfaction about the government.

“We need people who can work together to express their strong beliefs equally,” said McAndrew. “I believe that our system works best when you have people with strong opinions who don’t necessarily agree but can compromise.”

“We must learn we only see issues from our unique side,” said Cramer. “We need to keep our ears open to know what issues plague other groups.”

After the discussion came to an end, there was a chance for students to direct questions at the representatives on stage.

The Maryland primary election will be held on April 26. Those who have not yet registered can register in person at their local Board of Elections, or online or by mail. More information can be found on the Maryland.gov website.