Shelby Hall

SACSCOC and Accreditation

Southern Association of Colleges and SChools Commission on Colleges

The University of South Alabama is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degrees. Questions about the accreditation of the University of South Alabama may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website.

 

 

▼   University of South Alabama SACSCOC 2023 Reaffirmation

The University of South Alabama is accredited by SACSCOC and was last reaffirmed in 2013. The University is currently in the process of conducting a Comprehensive Compliance Audit as part of the institution’s decennial reaffirmation of accreditation.

What is 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.  This includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America.

Why is SACSCOC accreditation important?

Accreditors provide oversight of institutions on behalf of the federal government. In order to be eligible to accept federal financial aid, federal grants, and most other extramural funding, institutions of higher education must be accredited by a USDOE approved accrediting body.

What is reaffirmation of accreditation?

Reaffirmation of accreditation is required every 10 years and involves off-site and on-site reviews based on a set of core requirements, comprehensive standards and federal requirements as laid out in SACSCOC's Principles of Accreditation. The review also requires the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) targeted at improving student learning and supporting the mission of the University.

The reaffirmation of accreditation is the culmination of more than two years of work by faculty, staff and administrators.

In between these decennial reviews, the University prepares a Fifth-Year Interim Report (FYIR) to demonstrate compliance with the Principles of Accreditation and the efficacy of the Quality Enhancement Plan.

Reaffirmation Components

Compliance Certification

In order to be accredited by SACSCOC, the University is required to conduct a comprehensive compliance audit prior to the filing of the Compliance Certification. The comprehensive compliance audit includes an assessment of all programs and courses offered by the institution on-campus and off-campus, and those offered through distance learning. The Compliance Certification, signed by the institution’s chief executive officer and accreditation liaison, attests to the institution’s honest assessment of compliance with the accreditation requirements of the Commission on Colleges (including all Standards in the Principles of Accreditation) as applied to all aspects of the institution. 

Quality Enhancement Plan 

"The Quality Enhancement Plan is an integral component of the reaffirmation of accreditation process and is derived from an institution’s ongoing comprehensive planning and evaluation processes. It reflects and affirms a commitment to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness by focusing on an issue that the institution considers important to improving student learning outcomes and/or student success. The document submitted by the institution demonstrates that its QEP (a) has a topic identified through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes; (b) has broad-based support of institutional constituencies; (c) focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success; (d) commits resources to initiate, implement and complete the QEP; and (e) includes a plan to assess achievement.” (from SACSCOC QEP)

Timeline

September 8, 2022 - Compliance Certification report submitted to SACSCOC
December 2022 - Receive feedback from Off-Site Committee
January 31, 2023 - Focused Report due to Off-Site Committee
March 21-23, 2023 - On-Site Committee
December 2023 - Receive Reaffirmation Status

Leadership Team

The leadership team includes: Mr. Jo Bonner, Dr. Angela Coleman, Dr. Andrea Moore Kent, Dr. Michael Mitchell, Ms. Polly Stokey, and Dr. Julie Estis.

Who can answer my questions about SACSCOC?

For general questions or comments, please contact the Institutional Effectiveness Office at 251-460-6447 or effectiveness@southalabama.edu.

▼   Quality Enhancement Plan

Project Overview

The Student Success Team is well-informed of the data associated with student achievement and the factors that impact a variety of student outcome metrics at our institution. The Student Success Team represents a broad array of institutional constituencies and actively initiates and updates programs, policies, and practices focused on improving specific student learning outcomes and student success.

A subset of the Student Success Team serves as the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Development Team. The following members represent a variety of institutional constituencies:

  • Julie Estis (Executive Director, Academic Enhancement; Chair)
  • Grace Sekaya (Student Government Association)
  • Drew Lewis (Faculty Senate; Faculty, Arts and Sciences)
  • Jeff Landry (Faculty, Computing)
  • Doug Marshall (Honors College; Faculty, Arts and Sciences)
  • Catherine Preston (Academic Advising and Transfer Services)
  • Broderick Morrisette (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)
  • Chris Cleveland (Student Affairs)
  • Brittney Day (Advisor, Allied Health Professions)

The QEP Development Team serves as a working group to carry out the following activities in collaboration with the Student Success Team: 

  • Review broad QEP stakeholder input (surveys, focus groups, town hall meetings)
  • Develop a set of guiding principles for QEP topic selection based on stakeholder input
  • Establish a process for QEP topic selection
  • Identify a narrow set of areas focused on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success
  • Finalize QEP topic selection process with broad-based input

As the project evolves, additional working groups will be created to address specific components of the QEP. Examples include an Assessment Team, Budget Team, Writing Team, and Implementation Team. 

To learn more, please visit the Quality Enhancement Plan website or contact Dr. Julie Estis, Executive Director of Academic Enhancement.

▼   Substantive Change

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires all accredited institutions to have a written substantive change policy and procedure that is approved through institutional processes. The approved policy will be accessible to those within the university and to those in the general public.

According to the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy, “Substantive Change is defined by SACSCOC as a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. Substantive change includes high-impact, high-risk changes, and changes that can impact the quality of educational programs and services.”

The SACSCOC Liaison is responsible for monitoring and reporting compliance with the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy. The Liaison is also tasked with providing education and training about substantive change across the University so that key personnel recognize when to consult the University’s substantive change policy and when to contact the SACSCOC Liaison about a potential substantive change. When the SACSCOC Liaison is unable to determine definitively whether a change falls within the scope of the SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy, the SACSCOC Liaison or the University President will confer with the University’s assigned SACSCOC staff member.

Just as the entire University is responsible for helping the University maintain its accreditation, the entire University is also responsible for communicating with the SACSCOC Liaison about potential substantive changes as they arise.

The University's Substantive Change Procedure is available on the Academic Affairs website.