LSU Begins Process of Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2014
BATON ROUGE – LSU has begun the process for reaffirmation of accreditation, which will take place in 2014 with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC. The reaffirmation process involves two components that the university must fulfill: compliance certification and quality enhancement plan, or QEP. LSU last completed reaffirmation of accreditation in 2004.
SACSCOC provides accreditation to higher education institutions to 11 states in the South and Southeastern U.S. Accreditation allows students to be “graduates of an accredited institution” and permits students to receive federal funding for their education and faculty to be supported by federal grants and contracts. Additionally, SACSCOC accreditation provides assurances to all other accrediting organizations, which in turn, accredit individual degree programs. Without SACSCOC accreditation, discipline-specific accreditations would not be possible.
“This is one of the most important processes a university goes through,” said LSU Chancellor Michael Martin. “It is imperative that everyone on campus be involved and be knowledgeable of our reaffirmation of accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges ensures that institutions meet standards established by the higher education community that address the needs of society and students, so we look forward to displaying exactly how LSU is meeting those standards.”
The two components of accreditation – compliance certification and QEP – represent how SACSCOC views the university. The compliance certification is a “backward looking” document that demonstrates that the university is now and has been over the past several years in compliance with the SACSCOC “Principles of Accreditation.” The QEP is a “forward looking” document that proposes a program to improve student learning or the learning environment on campus over the five years following reaffirmation of accreditation.
Darrell Henry, the Campanile Charities Professor of Geology and Geophysics at LSU, serves as director of reaffirmation of accreditation. To complete the two components of reaffirmation, LSU has formed a SACSCOC Reaffirmation of Accreditation Steering Committee, also chaired by Henry, and a SACSCOC QEP Team, chaired by Carol O’Neil, Class of 1941 Alumni Professor in the LSU School of School of Human Ecology.
The SACSCOC Reaffirmation of Accreditation Steering Committee will:
- Provide oversight and coordination of the compliance certification process;
- Identify areas of concern relative to the “Principles of Accreditation” that should be addressed by the university prior to reaffirmation;
- Facilitate the compilation of materials required for the compliance certification;
- Help draft and review selected sections of the compliance report;
- Provide feedback, as requested, for the compliance report and for the QEP report;
- Ensure that the compliance certificate is completed on time;
- Ensure the integrity of the process and the university’s responses.
The SACSCOC QEP Team will:
- Provide leadership in the identification and preparation of the QEP;
- Conduct the necessary surveys and literature to prepare the QEP;
- Help draft and review the QEP;
- Seek input and feedback from university-wide stakeholders;
- Ensure that the QEP is completed on time;
- Ensure the integrity of the process.
In 2004, LSU participated in an expanded pilot group for SACSCOC, which involved the development and implementation of a QEP. LSU’s QEP involved two programs: Communication across the Curriculum and residential colleges. These programs continue today, but for the 2014 reaffirmation of accreditation, a new QEP must be developed.
The QEP Team has invited the university community to participate in identifying potential topics for the new QEP at LSU by submitting concept papers. The QEP is a multi-year plan that “describes a course of action for enhancing educational quality.” Specifically, LSU must develop an acceptable QEP that focuses on student-learning outcomes or the environment supporting student learning. Moreover, the university must ensure that a broad base of stakeholders was involved in the process, that the QEP identifies goals and has an assessment plan and it has the capacity to implement and sustain the QEP for up to five years.
A concept paper is an opportunity for the university community to contribute to the campus-wide planning of projects and initiatives that could be included in the QEP. Specifically, the QEP Team is looking for preliminary descriptions of activities that will have a measurable positive impact on student learning at LSU. The current call for concept papers is meant to elicit brief proposals (2-3 pages), which will help the QEP Team gauge the range and types of activities the university community would like to see implemented.
The deadline to submit a concept paper is March 23. For more information about the QEP process, instructions for submitting a QEP concept paper, or for the timeline for QEP proposals, please visit the QEP web page, http://www.lsu.edu/faculty_staff/sacscoc_reaffirmation_qep.shtml, or contact O’Neil at QEP@lsu.edu.