- What is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)?
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Latin America and other international sites approved by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral degrees.
- What is accreditation?
Accreditation seeks to ensure constituents and the public that the quality and integrity of higher educational institutions meet acceptable levels of quality. These outcomes are achieved through rigorous internal and external peer review processes during which the institution is evaluated against a common set of standards. Accreditation by SACSCOC is a statement of the institution’s continuing commitment to quality and integrity as well as its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards.
When accreditation is awarded to an institution of higher education by the SACSCOC, an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education (USDE), it means that the institution has:
1) a mission appropriate to higher education,
2) resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain its mission,
3) clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that it is
4) successful in assessing its achievement of these objectives and demonstrating improvements.
- What standards must an institution meet in order to gain and maintain SACSCOC accreditation?
Institutions accredited by SACSCOC must demonstrate compliance with the 74 standards for accreditation as contained in The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, and with the policies and procedures of the Commission. (For additional information about policies and procedures, please see either “Accrediting Standards“, or “Institutional Resources.” Also, the Index of SACSCOC Documents is a list of policies and procedures that are listed in alphabetical order by title.)
- What happens if an institution does not meet or is not compliant with SACSCOC accreditation standards?
Institutions that do not demonstrate that they meet accreditation standards may be asked for monitoring reports, placed on the public sanctions of “Warning”, “Probation” or “Probation Good Cause,” or dropped from status as a candidate or an accredited institution. (For additional information, please see Sanctions, Denial of Reaffirmation, and Removal from Membership.)
- Is there a list of accredited institutions?
For a listing of institutions accredited by SACSCOC, please see Accredited and Candidate List, or search for the institution here.
- What will the upcoming accreditation Reaffirmation process include?
As part of the reaffirmation process, UTC will complete the following:
1. Compliance Certification The Compliance Certification, submitted fifteen (15) months in advance of an institution’s scheduled reaffirmation, is a document completed by the institution that demonstrates its judgment of the extent of its compliance with each of the Core Requirements and Standards. The signatures of the institution’s chief executive officer and accreditation liaison are required. By signing the document, these individuals certify that the process of institutional self-assessment has been thorough, honest, and forthright, and that the information contained in the document is truthful, accurate, and complete. (View Compliance Certification document)
2. Quality Enhancement Plan The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Standard 7.2, submitted six (6)weeks in advance of the On-Site Reaffirmation Review, is:
· a topic identified through ongoing, comprehensive and evaluation processes,
· has a broad-based support of institutional constituencies,
· focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student successes,
· commits resources to initiate, implement The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement 9 and complete the QEP, and
· includes a plan to assess achievement.
· The QEP plan should be focused and succinct (no more than 75 pages of narrative text and no more than 25 pages of support documentation or charts, graphs, and tables). (View Quality Enhancement Plan document)
- As part of the reaffirmation process, SACSCOC will complete the following:
1. The Off-Site Reaffirmation Review The Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee, composed of a chair and normally eight to ten peer evaluators, serves as an evaluative committee in the reaffirmation process. The committee meets in Atlanta, Georgia, and reviews Compliance Certifications of a group of institutions to determine whether each institution is in compliance with all Core Requirements and Standards (except 7.2). The group of institutions, called “a cluster,” normally will consist of no more than three institutions similar in governance and degrees offered. At the conclusion of the review, the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee will prepare a separate report for each institution, recording and explaining its preliminary findings about compliance. The report is forwarded to the respective institution’s On-Site Reaffirmation Committee.
2. The On-Site Reaffirmation Review The On-Site Reaffirmation Committee consists of peers and serves as an evaluative committee in the reaffirmation process. Following review by the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee, an On-Site Reaffirmation Committee will conduct a focused evaluation at the campus to finalize issues of compliance with the Core Requirements and Standards, evaluate the QEP, and provide consultation regarding the issues addressed in the QEP. At the conclusion of its visit, the On-Site Committee will finalize the Report of the Reaffirmation Committee, a written report of its findings noting areas of noncompliance. The Report of the Reaffirmation Committee, along with the institution’s response to areas of noncompliance, is forwarded to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees for review and action on reaffirmation of accreditation.
3. Review by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees The Committees on Compliance and Reports (C&R), standing committees of the SACSCOC Board of Trustees, review reports prepared by evaluation committees and the institutional responses to those reports. A C&R Committee’s recommendation regarding an institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation is forwarded to the Executive Council for review. The Executive Council recommends action to the full Board of Trustees, which makes the final decision on reaffirmation and any monitoring activities that it may require of an institution. The full Board of Trustees convenes twice a year.
- Can you tell me more about what to expect as it relates to UTC’s new quality enhancement plan (QEP)?
The QEP committee will:
· Educate members of UTC community about the QEP development process
· Solicit feedback and facilitate input and discussion on potential QEP topics
· Select and recommend QEP topic to the Reaffirmation Leadership Team
· Upon topic confirmation, solicit pre-proposals ideas from UTC community
· Select and recommend focused QEP topics from pre-proposal ideas submitted
· Add a QEP Director and possible other members to the QEP Committee
· Research topic-related best practices
· Develop student learning outcomes and objectives
· Identify needed action items
· Determine who is responsible for implementing
· Determine how it will be assessed
· Determine who is responsible for assessing
· Estimate the needed costs
· Determine a timeline for implementation
· Submit nominations for QEP lead evaluator
· Prepare and submit a full Quality Enhancement Plan
· A SACSCOC accreditation requirement
· An institutional process
· Topics emerge from institutional assessment through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes
· Topic has broad-based support of University community
· Topic focus is on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success
· University commitment to provide the resources needed to implement and complete the QEP
· Includes a plan to assess outcomes and achievement
· The QEP proposal will be evaluated as part of the institution's reaffirmation of accreditation process
· The QEP must be fully implemented within five years of reaccreditation
- How does the QEP help students?
The whole idea of the QEP is to prioritize one area where UTC can do better to help students learn, and then focus on making it a success.
- What are the criteria SACSCOC has provided that guides our QEP process?
SACSCOC reviewers expect that in developing our QEP, we are engaging the campus community and addressing one or more issues that contribute to institutional improvement focused on student learning and specific student learning outcomes (SLO).
Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) are statements that describe what students should be able to demonstrate, know (knowledge), think (attitudes, values), and/or do (skill) by the end of the program/course. Our QEP plan will identify curricular and extracurricular strategies to achieve these SLO goals. The SLO goals structure the QEP plan, including a comprehensive assessment plan to measure progress towards the SLOs.
The QEP final plan will include a detailed five-year strategy, that contains answers to all the “who, what, why, where, and how” questions.
SACSCOC does not expect the QEP to touch the life of every student at UTC. They expect us to create a project that will enhance learning for a meaningful number of students and to explain why the size of our chosen QEP population is “meaningful” or significant, given the context of our institution and our topic.
- Who are the people at UTC proposing and implementing our QEP?
Provost Hale established a QEP Committee in early in 2021 in order to guide the creation of UTC’s new QEP and to engage individuals and groups across campus in the development process. The co-chairs of the QEP are Theresa Liedtka, SACSCOC Reaffirmation Coordinator and Dean of the UTC Library and Cindy Williamson, Director of Assessment and SACSCOC Liaison. The members of the QEP Committee, and which units they represent can be found here.
All members of the UTC community are welcome to follow the progress of the QEP Committee and provide feedback to the QEP Committee through their website, found here.
- How will our institution pay for the cost of implementing this QEP?
SACSCOC expects that institutions will set designate appropriate financial, physical and human resources to implement, sustain and complete the QEP. They expect institutions will create a specific QEP budget that comes from a realistic assessment of what is possible and desirable and possible. An itemized budget for our new QEP will be created as part of the full proposal to SACSCOC.
- What are topics that other schools have chosen for their QEP?
By design, QEPs are unique to each institution. However, there are QEP topics that are commonly identified by schools, such as critical thinking; skills for college success; written and oral communication skills; integrative and applied learning and reading skills. For a complete list of QEP topics adopted by SACSCOC institutions, click here.
- What is QEP Committee timeline?
UTC’s QEP Committee proposed timeline is found here.
- What was UTC’s previous QEP?
Here is a link to UTC’s previous QEP:
- What does every UTC employee need to know about SACSCOC and UTC’s Reaffirmation efforts?
- Reaffirmation efforts include 1) a compliance certification report and 2) a new quality enhancement plan proposal.
- Reaffirmation efforts are critical to UTC’s future, if we are unsuccessful UTC will publicly sanctioned and/or put on probation, which has the potential to significantly impact current and future enrollment, state-support, alumni support and ultimately our viability as a higher education institution.