Officials preparing for five-year interim progress report

News Reporter

University officials are preparing the first Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) fifth-year interim report and addressing issues other colleges have had in the past.

The fifth-year interim report, to be submitted in March 2016, will include an evaluation of how the university has achieved its goals as outlined in a 10-year report submitted in 2010. The report will determine if the university has met specific standards set by the SACSCOC, said Beth Wuest, associate vice president for Institutional Effectiveness.

According to its website, nine colleges were determined by the board of trustees as not being compliant with core requirements on matters such as financial resources and faculty evaluation.

Seven colleges were given warnings, one college was placed on probation and another was denied candidacy into the committee, according to the website.

Universities must meet requirements concerning program coordination within degrees and have an adequate amount of full-time faculty on campus as well as qualified administrative and academic officers, according to the website.

The university expects to be in compliance and meet the SACSCOC accreditation standards, Wuest said.
The difficult part of the process is providing documented paperwork that is clear and shows the progress the university has made to achieve its goals, Wuest said.

“We just send them paperwork, and we have to make a very convincing argument that we are doing everything we should be doing as best as we possibly can and that we’ve covered all of our bases,” Wuest said. “If they don’t understand something then we just run into a little bit of a snag.”

The impact report will address progress the university has made toward achieving the two goals outlined in the 2010 report, Wuest said.

“Specifically the goals are to help students clarify their career goals, and the second goal was to assist students in developing and implementing an educational plan to meet their goals,” Wuest said.

The university established the Personalized Academic and Career Exploration (PACE) Center to meet the two goals, Wuest said.

“We have another two years of data to capture as we prepare to submit our fifth-year report,” said Daniel Brown, director of the PACE Center.

The center is using an electronic portfolio to collect data, Brown said. The data for the report will show student learning outcomes as well as students’ majors or career interests.

“(Students are) getting systematic advising, and they are also getting opportunities at career advising,” said Cynthia Opheim, associate provost of Academic Affairs. “So we think this initiative has been very successful.”

Wuest said she is working with Information Technology to compile all the data that will be used in the fifth-year report.