Following are answers to some frequently asked questions about the Reaffirmation of Accreditation process:
Why is maintaining ACC’s accreditation important?
Simply put, accreditation assures ACC students and the community at large that the college is a trusted provider of the education students need to succeed. Accreditation affirms that the college meets specified standards in faculty credentials, curriculum, institutional mission, governance and effectiveness, student learning outcomes, student services, libraries, and financial stability.
What is SACSCOC?
SACSCOC stands for Southern Association of Colleges and Schools—Commission on Colleges. The U.S. Department of Education recognizes SACSCOC as the authority for accrediting institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, masters, or doctoral degrees throughout the Southeast. It is the largest accrediting agency in the United States, with almost 800 member institutions SACSCOC member institutions vote on policies and agree to adhere to those policies. SACSCOC accredits an entire institution and its programs and services, wherever they are located or however those services are delivered.
What does the commission want to know?
SACSCOC evaluates ACC's adherence to some 100 principles in four categories: Principles of Integrity, Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements. Each category addresses areas such as faculty qualifications, mission, and student support services. SACSCOC also evaluates specific programs such as distance learning programs, student assessment, and planning processes. In all areas, SACSCOC looks for quality programs that are supported by measurable strategies and goals.
When will this work happen?
The reaffirmation process will be ongoing through fall 2012. Documentation certifying ACC's compliance with SACSCOC standards is due to the commission by March 15, 2012. The offsite peer review will be conducted in early May. During the first half of 2012, the Quality Enhancement Plan Committee will solicit feedback, revise, and finalize the QEP, which will be submitted to the commission by mid-2012 in advance of the onsite review in October 2012. The commission will issue its review and report on its findings in 2013.
Who is responsible for this work?
Generally, the reaffirmation process is a three-pronged effort driven by ACC' s leadership team, a compliance certification team, and a QEP implementation team. These committees will collect information from virtually every department at the college.
What will the SACSCOC Onsite Committee do when it visits ACC?
Like the offsite committee, the onsite review committee comprises a group of professional peers who examine the school's mission, policies, procedures, programs, resources, and services against SACSCOC standards. The onsite committee will visit with members of ACC's staff, faculty, leadership team, and Board of Trustees, typically over a three-day period. The onsite committee reports its findings, including its assessment of the QEP. This report provides the basis on which the commission decides to reaffirm or withdraw accreditation, while helping ACC improve its programs and refine its QEP.