SUNY System Liaisons

SUNY System Liaisons

State University of New York
Statement on the Nature and Responsibility
of the
System Liaison Role in the Accreditation Review Process

{The purpose of this document is to reaffirm to the accrediting body, the campus undergoing review, and the System Administration staff member the role of the System liaison in the accreditation review process. It may also serve to introduce this function to the accreditation review team who may not be familiar with the process in a multicampus system.}

The institutional academic accreditation of campuses in the State University of New York System is conducted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. While the accreditation review is essentially and appropriately based upon a direct relationship between the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and the individual campus, it has been the practice for the Commission and the campus to accept within the review process a SUNY System Administration staff member who serves in a System liaison role.

The System liaison role can serve a number of useful functions for all parties involved. To the external review team and the campus, the liaison provides a source of knowledge and perspective about the System and State context in which the campus operates. To the Chancellor and Provost of SUNY, the liaison provides a confidential insight into the review process and a view of the campus as seen by the accreditation review team.

However, the role of the System liaison is strictly limited and should in no way interfere with the primary direct relationship between the campus and the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The liaison person is neither a member of the visiting review team, which is appointed by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, nor a spokesperson or advocate for the campus. Rather, the guiding principles for the liaison should be those of “working with” the review team as an observer and resource person. Accordingly, the liaison person should be well informed about the campus and about University policies and procedures, as well as recent academic and budgetary developments. As most, if not all, team members will be drawn from outside New York State, the liaison person should also be well informed about other aspects of State government that affect the operation of the University and of this particular campus.

The value of the System liaison increases the more closely the individual can work with the external review team. The extent of this interaction is, of course, at the discretion of the chair of the review team, but typically the liaison will be invited to sit in as an observer at most, if not all, of the visiting team discussions including the exit presentation by the team to the campus leadership. The liaison should abide by any operating principles that the team adopts for its conduct during the campus visit. Tact, diplomacy, good sense, and an ability to maintain a neutral position in discussions of sensitive issues about the campus under review are the characteristics expected of the System liaison.


Academic Planning, Policy and Evaluation
University of New York

Revised: February 28, 2011