The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the accrediting body for higher education institutions in the Southeast Region of the U.S. Dr. Belle Wheelan is President of SACSCOC. Commissioners who serve on this Commission include representatives from two and four year universities. Their responsibility is to define the standards by which institutions are evaluated, and to ensure that all accredited institutions provide effective programs and services based upon agreed upon requirements. Being accredited and in good standing with SACSCOC assures the public that the university’s programs are effective, enables UNCG students to qualify for federal financial aid, and ensures transfer of credits to and from other accredited institutions. Application for re-accreditation, or “reaffirmation of accreditation,” occurs every ten years. An “abbreviated review, called a 5th Year Interim report“, occurs every 5 years. UNCG must demonstrate compliance with standards, policies, and procedures of the Commission on Colleges. Preparation for reaffirmation typically takes at least two years, as an institution gathers and organizes materials, writes reports, and prepares for an on-campus visit. UNCG is currently undergoing the reaffirmation of accreditation process for 2024 reaffirmation.
Compliance entails conducting a thorough self-evaluation to review our compliance with each of the standards set forward the in Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement. For the 5th Year report, there are about 20 standards that require response. For the full reaffirmation, there are more than 70. For each standard, the relevant body of evidence must be compiled and evaluated to determine whether the university is in full compliance or non-compliance. Reaffirmation is granted only when compliance is demonstrated for each standard.
For the 5th Year Interim Report, an Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee reviews the university’s responses to each standard required. If they determine that compliance is demonstrated for each standard, there are no further actions. If they are not able to determine compliance with any one of the standards, a monitoring report will be required.
For the 10-year reaffirmation, an Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee will then review the entire Compliance Certification and the university’s responses to each of the standards. If, as a result of this “paper review,” the Committee cannot determine that the institution is meeting certain standards, these will be referred to the On-Site Reaffirmation Team for further investigation when the team makes its visit to campus. Prior to the on-site visit, UNCG will have an opportunity to prepare a Focused Report addressing concerns identified by the Off-Site Committee.
The requisite Quality Enhancement Plan is critical to the reaffirmation process. The Commission is committed to the improvement of student learning, and the QEP must describe a carefully researched, thoughtful, and well-designed course of action intended to have a demonstrable, assessable impact on student learning outcomes and on the accomplishment of the institution’s mission. An institution may choose to focus on any aspect of its educational program, so long as the institution can demonstrate that the institution is capable of completing the QEP, that there is widespread involvement of faculty and other constituencies in its development and implementation, and that there are clearly articulated goals and plans for assessment. The 2024 QEP is “Spartans Thrive.” The vision is “to provide students with an understanding of holistic wellness and campus-based support to help students achieve healthy balances across multiple wellness dimensions of their lives.”
During the spring, the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee, comprised of individuals from similar SACSCOC institutions in the region, will visit the campus. Prior to this visit, Committee members will have reviewed the advice of the off-site reviewers, the Focused Report prepared to respond to those concerns, and UNCG’s proposed QEP plan. While a primary focus of this visit is to provide UNCG with feedback on the QEP and its acceptability, the On-Site Committee also addresses any remaining questions and investigates any issues related to the Compliance Certification and the institution’s compliance with standards. A report from the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee is sent to the SACSCOC Commission on Colleges and to the Chancellor of UNCG. The University then has an opportunity to provide a written response to the Commission.
The Board of Trustees of the SACSCOC Commission on Colleges will review the report from the On-site Reaffirmation Committee and the response from the University. A decision will be made and announced concerning UNCG’s continuing accreditation at the SACSCOC Annual Meeting in December.
|Confirmation of reaccreditation by SACSCOC
|Fifth-Year Compliance Review and QEP Impact Report for 2014 QEP submitted to SACSCOC
|Appoint Leadership Team
|Assign compliance reports and appoint QEP team
|Draft QEP and compliance reports
|Submit Compliance Certification to SACSCOC
|Submit QEP and Focused Reports to SACSCOC
|On-Site Reaffirmation Committee’s visit
|Decision by SACSCOC about UNCG’s accreditation