Accreditation is intended to assure constituents and the public of the quality and integrity of higher education institutions and programs, and to help those institutions and programs improve. These outcomes are achieved through rigorous internal and external review processes during which the institution is evaluated against a common set of standards.
When accreditation is awarded to an institution of higher education by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a regional accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education, 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.
Accreditation by SACSCOC is a statement of the institution’s continuing commitment to integrity and its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards.
SACSCOC is the commonly-used acronym for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges’ Board of Trustees is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process.
To gain or maintain accreditation with the Commission on Colleges, an institution must comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement and with the policies and procedures of the Commission on Colleges. The Commission on Colleges applies the requirements of its Principles to all applicant, candidate, and member institutions, regardless of type of institution (public, private for-profit, private not-for-profit).
Accreditation is important for the university to be able to receive state and federal funds, including grants and loans for students to pursue their education. It also engenders confidence in the quality of the education offered at the institution. Proper accreditation is important for the acceptance and transfer of college credits, and receipt of a degree from an accredited undergraduate institution is a standard prerequisite for most graduate programs. Accreditation also encourages innovation and quality improvements.
The process for initial and continued accreditation involves a collective analysis and judgment by the institution’s internal constituencies, an informed review by peers external to the institution, and a reasoned decision by the elected members of the Commission on Colleges Board of Trustees. Accredited institutions periodically conduct internal reviews involving their administrative officers, staffs, faculties, students, trustees, and others appropriate to the process. The internal review allows an institution to consider its effectiveness in achieving its stated mission, its compliance with the Commission’s accreditation requirements, its efforts in enhancing the quality of student learning and the quality of programs and services offered to its constituencies, and its success in accomplishing its mission. At the culmination of the internal review, peer evaluators representing the Commission apply their professional judgment through a preliminary assessment of the institution; elected Board Members make the final determination of an institution’s compliance with the accreditation requirements.
All institutions accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) are required to undergo a review for reaffirmation of accreditation every ten years. The reaffirmation review will be conducted in accordance with procedures outlined in pertinent Commission documents including handbooks and other policies. (See, for example, the Principles of Accreditation and the Handbook for Institutions Seeking Reaffirmation of Accreditation.) The process will include compiling and submitting a Compliance Certification documenting compliance with the Principles of Accreditation and submitting a Quality Enhancement Plan for review by evaluation committees.
JSU’s reaffirmation effort officially begins December 2018 and will culminate in December 2021. For our complete timeline, please visit 2021 Reaffirmation Timeline.
An important component of the reaffirmation process involves the development of a new Quality Enhancement Plan. The QEP document developed by the institution
(1) includes a process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment,
(2) focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution,
(3) demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP,
(4) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP, and
(5) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement.
Jackson State University’s previous QEP was the successful Critical Thinking through Writing Program. For additional information regarding the development of JSU’s new QEP proposal, please visit the 2019 Quality Enhancement Plan website.
The Provost has identified a leadership team to lead our reaffirmation effort. The leadership team oversees the work of committees charged with certifying JSU’s compliance with SACSCOC requirements and standards and the development of the new QEP. While the leadership team spearheads this effort, the entire JSU community is indirectly involved as reaffirmation requires institution-wide participation. More information is available at 2019 Reaffirmation Committee Structure.
Please contact Dr. Shemeka McClung, Director of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment, who serves as the SACSCOC accreditation liaison for the university. She oversees compliance with accreditation requirements that are incorporated into planning and evaluation processes of the institution, and notifies SACSCOC in advance of substantive changes.
Quality Enhancement Plan – Dr. Preselphanie McDaniels
Technology Support – Dr. Deborah Dent