Dr. Janet Bland to lead College through reaccreditation process

Janet Bland headshot

It didn’t take much prodding to get Adam Stonier ’13 (Tunkhannock, Pa.) to open up about the professor who taught his literature course.

“She asked us questions and then never revealed the answers; and when we came to the conclusions she wanted us to, I will never forget the deserved smile of satisfaction that graced her face,” Stonier says.

During her seven years of teaching English and Creative Writing at Marietta, Dr. Janet Bland’s students and peers have recognized her passionate teaching style. Recently, she was tapped to be the Assistant Dean for Accreditation, a role that will help the College continue a 99-year tradition of being accredited.

In this role, which will start this fall and last for four years, Bland will help direct Marietta’s effort to gather data, work on a quality improvement project and prepare a self study. The Higher Learning Commission, an accreditation firm, will conduct Marietta’s re-accreditation process during the 2015-16 academic year. However, preparations begin almost immediately.

“Accreditation is about the entire institution, and so this is not something I will pursue in isolation,” says Bland, who is a McCoy Associate Professor of English. “Many people—faculty, staff, and administration—will be working with me over the next several years. I am looking forward to collaborating with many members of our campus community in this process.”

Stonier, a graphic design major and a McDonough Scholar, says Bland is a one of a kind professor.

“She made me a better writer and made me do the critical thinking that was never before required of me,” he says.

Her ability to inspire that type of self-review will be beneficial in her new role.

"Dr. Bland will bring strong organizational skills and a deep understanding of the academic mission of the College,” says Dr. Gama Perruci, Interim Provost of the College. “This position requires a leader who will work well with diverse constituencies, and Dr. Bland is highly respected by her peers.”

Completed every 10 years, the accreditation process looks at all aspects of the campus. There are nine criteria that will be evaluated ranging from helping students learn, to valuing people, to supporting institutional operations. Marietta College has received continued accreditation since 1913. In order to maintain accreditation, Marietta must maintain the quality of its programs, its campus and of its people. This is something that will require a campus wide effort.

The goal now is to go beyond what is required and be recognized for its significant achievements.

“The goal is to produce a clear, accurate, and complete self-study for the accreditation process, work with the accrediting body and (of course) retain our accreditation,” Bland said.

Because this is a challenging and important process for the future of the College, President Jean Scott and Perruci believe Bland is a great choice to lead this charge. Though Bland is excited about her new role on campus, she has no plans to abandon her first passion.

“I am not giving up teaching,” she said. “I think of it as something interesting and new to be involved in over the next few years, and afterward I will return full time to the faculty.”