Middle States Announces Initial Approval of PennWest Integration

03/15/2022

The accrediting body’s action provides a ‘clear path forward’ for uniting California, Clarion and Edinboro as a single university.

The integration of California, Clarion, and Edinboro universities has received initial approval by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an institutional accrediting agency.

Required by the U.S. Department of Education, accreditation assures students, families and communities that the university has completed a rigorous review process and provides a high-quality education.

In approving the “complex substantive change request” submitted by California, Clarion and Edinboro, Middle States provides a clear path forward for the three institutions to officially unite as Pennsylvania Western University (PennWest) on July 1, 2022. 

PennWest integration leader Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson, president of Clarion and interim president of California and Edinboro universities, expressed her thanks to the hundreds of individuals involved in integration planning and implementation.

“For more than two years we have worked together to lay the foundation for PennWest, a student-focused university that incorporates the best of our three campuses,” Pehrsson said. “The commission’s action validates the extraordinary work of the many students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and community members who contributed to this groundbreaking project.

“I cannot thank them enough for bringing us to this moment,” she added. “Together, they demonstrate the true power of PennWest – an unwavering commitment to excellence in higher education and service to the students and communities of Western Pennsylvania.”

Chancellor Daniel Greenstein, of Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education, said integration is a key element of PASSHE's System Redesign.

“The commission’s action is another positive step toward building a powerhouse institution that will provide more opportunities for students than any one of the universities could do on its own,” Greenstein said.

“It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Dr. Dale-Elizabeth Pehrsson and the students, faculty, staff and trustees at California, Clarion and Edinboro. We will continue moving forward in partnership with Middle States and our owners, the General Assembly, to create PennWest – the second largest university in western Pennsylvania. Together, we will harness the rich heritage of partner campuses and combine their strengths in meeting the high standards required for accreditation while delivering affordable, high-quality, career-relevant education to all.”