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What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is an annual assessment process implemented in 2004-2005.  It is a comprehensive review and assessment of all facets of chapter operations and is a key process in the development and maintenance of chapter standards. Chapters are required to submit an annual report and conduct a presentation to a panel of faculty, staff, students and alumni.  Throughout the academic year, undergraduate chapters receive significant training and coaching related to the Accreditation process. Chapters are rated and given feedback through reports and chapter development questions that they are encouraged to consider in their planning for the following year. 

Accreditation History

The Accreditation process is designed to review and assess all facets of chapter operations and is a key process in the development and maintenance of chapter standards.  Accreditation evaluates the contributions that each chapter makes to the campus and local communities.  

During the 2002-03 academic year, the decision was made to undertake a comprehensive plan to recommit and strengthen the fraternity and sorority community at Lehigh University. This plan, known as the Strengthening Greek Life Initiative, was the result of a task force commissioned by University President Gregory Farrington.  The original Accreditation process commenced during the 2004-2005 academic year.  In 2010, the “Next Steps for the Fraternity & Sorority Community” report was released.  One sub-committee was tasked with developing what is now known as the Lehigh University Accreditation process for fraternities and sororities.  

In 2014, a re-visioning committee of staff, students, and alumni was charged with evaluating the Accreditation process and identifying areas of change including metrics, requirements, ratings and timing.  At the conclusion of the re-visioning process, the committee identified common themes derived from focus group data, student assessment results, and committee discussion which led to the changes outlined below.  Many thanks to the individuals who served on the re-visioning committee as well as the numerous students who provided valuable input.

Accreditation Metrics

Chapters will be evaluated on four or five metrics.  The metrics are the following:

  • Leadership & Member Development
  • Organizational Operations
  • Community Service & Engagement
  • Academic & Intellectual Advancement
  • Facilities Management (as applicable)

The metrics largely consider the same criteria as in previous years, but have been reorganized and renamed to create clearer areas of focus.  Additional criteria that has been added at the recommendation of the committee: brotherhood/sisterhood activities, exploration of post-graduate opportunities, and professional/career development activities.  Additionally, there is also an overall rating that considers additional performance indicators.  This rating focuses on the overall performance of the chapter throughout the year.  This is not an average of the ratings received in previous metrics.  Chapters are measured against themselves each year and are encouraged to demonstrate growth and development in each metric.  Full descriptions can be found here. 

Please click here for the Accreditation Metrics.

Chapters are rated annually by a panel of faculty/staff, students, and Greek alumni.  The panel observes the chapter presentation and reviews their accreditation report.  Each Accreditation panel also reviews all relevant statistical documents related to the chapter (ex. grade reports, facility damage reports, conduct reports, etc.). Each panel assigns an initial rating recommendation immediately following a chapter’s presentation. A final rating is assigned after committee deliberations have been finalized, and all statistical information regarding chapters is finalized.

Accreditation Ratings

Chapters will be evaluated and given one of the four possible ratings:

  • Accredited with Excellence (previously Gold)
  • Accredited
  • Unaccredited (previously Poor)
  • Unacceptable (remains the same)

Accredited with Excellence (previously Gold): The chapter exceeds expectations set forth by Lehigh University.  The chapter excels in multiple metrics, making valuable contributions to the Greek and Lehigh communities.  

Accredited: The chapter meets expectations set forth by Lehigh University.  The chapter is fully successful in all metrics and is an active contributor to the Greek and Lehigh communities.  

Unaccredited (previously Poor): The chapter does not meet expectations set forth by Lehigh University.  The chapter is not successful in multiple metrics and does not contribute to the Greek and Lehigh communities.  A chapter that receives an Unaccredited rating for two consecutive academic years loses University recognition and access to group housing.

Unacceptable: The chapter failed to meet minimum expectations set forth by Lehigh University.  The chapter fails in multiple metrics and is negatively impacting the Greek and Lehigh communities.  Characteristics of an unacceptable chapter may include but are not limited to the following: does not attend or participate in meetings, unresponsive to reasonable requests, does not sponsor events or send representatives to events and functions sponsored by the university or other student organizations, has faced significant conduct challenges or exhibited recurrent poor behavior.  The chapter loses University recognition and access to group housing immediately following the review of the decision by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs. 

Please click here for past chapter Accreditation ratings.

Accreditation Rubric

An extensive guiding rubric has been created that all chapters are encouraged to use.  The rubric covers each metric and rating.  The rubric is not meant as an exhaustive “checklist” but should be used for examples and items to consider when preparing reports and presentations.  Chapters are still encouraged to use organizational values, priorities and requirements in crafting their Accreditation submissions.  To view the rubric, click here.  

Report Guidelines

  • Reports should not exceed 50 pages total.  The recommend length is between 25-35 pages. 
  • Appendices should be limited and used only if absolutely necessary as supporting documentation
  • Reports are to be submitted approximately two weeks before your scheduled presentation (see attached schedule with deadlines) 
  • Reports are to be submitted by 4 PM on the due date
  • Reports are to be submitted as one document in PDF format titled “Organization Name_2019 Accreditation” in the following way:
  • Chapters are encouraged to highlight their year in the report, not to summarize everything that occurred in the past 12 months
  • Reports should showcase action and results and not focus on future plans

Presentation Guidelines

  • Presentations are to be no longer than 40 minutes.  Remaining time will be used for panelists questions (up to 60 minutes total)
  • There is no limit on the number of members who may present.  Please note that the entire chapter membership is not required to attend the presentation. 
  • The presentation is open to alumni and advisors
  • Chapters are encouraged to use multi-media (PowerPoint, Prezi, Google slides)
  • Chapters are responsible for setting up any technology needed at least 5 minutes before the start time
    • Projector and screen are provided

Accreditation Rewards and Recognition

Chapters receiving an Accredited with Excellence rating will be recognized in the following ways:

  • A letter from the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs to your national headquarters noting your chapter’s achievement
  • An opportunity to share your accomplishment via the LU Greeks blog
  • An advertisement in the Brown & White highlighting your chapter

Chapters Accredited with Excellence will also receive preference in Accreditation presentation scheduling for the following year.  

Additionally, chapters Accredited with Excellence may select from one of the following options:

Option 1: An Accreditation presentation “bye” year

  • A chapter may choose to opt-out of presenting the year following their Accredited with Excellence rating.  A report submission is still required.
  • Chapters receiving Accredited with Excellence ratings in consecutive years may not opt-out of presenting back-to-back years (i.e. if a chapter receives Accredited with Excellence in 3 consecutive years, they may only choose to opt-out every other year)
  • Should a chapter encounter significant challenges or have notable conduct issues in a “bye” year, the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs reserves the right to require a presentation

Option 2: $250 towards a chapter need  

  • Programs/Events: Any type of program or event (social, educational, service, philanthropic).  The money will be issued at the time of the event to cover specific costs (i.e. food, security, event-related expenses).  The money may not be used to purchase alcohol.   
  • Sponsorship: Scholarship or travel funds for individual students.  Travel should be chapter or academic related.  
  • House Improvement: Funds towards a facility-related purchase (subject to approval by Residential Services)
  • Donations to charitable organizations or non-profits are not permitted
  • Use of the $250 outside of these options must be discussed and approved by the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Affairs in advance of any financial transfers 

Accreditation Reports