I want to remind everyone that this fall is an important time in our reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Southeastern has been accredited by SACS since 1946, and reaffirmation is required every ten years.
SACS accreditation through coordinated peer reviews of campus practices ensures the educational quality of institutions of higher education and is essential to the University's operation. Without accreditation, Southeastern would lose federal funding that benefits both faculty and students, including financial aid and research award opportunities.
In preparation for reaffirmation in 2015, the University will prepare a Compliance Certification Report and a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). SACS standards are very exacting and cover every aspect of the University. Reaffirmation requires detailed documentation of our processes and procedures related to governance, financial and physical resources, institutional effectiveness, student services, faculty qualifications, athletics, quality education programs, and library resources. As our year of record (2012-2013) progresses, we will spend an enormous amount of time and effort to produce this documentation.
The SACS Leadership Team and supporting committees have been appointed and have begun to work on our self-study. A Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Organizational Team worked through the summer and established the groundwork for choosing the next QEP topic. The QEP must address student learning outcomes and/or the environment that supports student learning and accomplishes the mission of the institution. Focus groups and surveys across all stakeholder groups have provided valuable input for possible topics that would demonstrate our commitment to the improvement of student learning.
A SACS Compliance Certification Team has begun gathering information to address the 93 standards required for SACS reaffirmation. As we embark on this mission, faculty and staff will be asked to provide information and documentation that will be included in our Compliance Certification report.
There will be opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to ask questions, learn more about what SACSCOC expects of Southeastern, and offer suggestions to improve our effectiveness. A website is being developed that will provide resources and update the campus community on the progress of our reaffirmation and the URL will be shared in the near future.
I am confident that with your help the University will have another positive accreditation experience. Our faculty and staff continue to provide high quality programs and services to our students. Our self-study should ensure that our accomplishments are recognized.