• Donald Tetto

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has reaffirmed Southwestern University’s accreditation for another 10 years.

Southwestern received the news in June, culminating a reaccreditation process that took several years and literally hundreds of pages of documentation.

“Southwestern should be rightfully pleased with ourselves,” said John McCann, associate dean for faculty development and academic assessment. “Many people helped get us here.”

In order to be reaffirmed, an institution must document that it meets more than 90 principles of accreditation that fall into categories such as institutional mission and governance, educational programs, faculty qualifications, library resources, student services, financial resources and physical resources.

McCann particularly praised faculty members and department chairs for their diligence in assessing student learning outcomes − an area that commonly presents problems to institutions seeking reaffirmation. 

One required component of the reaffirmation process was a Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP. Southwestern selected the topic of interdisciplinary teaching and learning and is re-envisioning its signature Paideia program to focus on this topic.

Former president Jake B. Schrum had listed Southwestern’s successful reaccreditation from SACSCOC as one of the goals he wanted to accomplish before retiring from Southwestern at the end of June.

“Reaffirmation of our accreditation was one of the most important gifts I wanted to leave for our new president,” Schrum said. “I am confident that under President Ed Burger’s leadership, Southwestern will maintain its commitment to the strong academic standards and administrative accountability required by the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation.”

Accreditation from the appropriate regional accrediting body − which in Southwestern’s case is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools − is required if institutions are going to participate in federal programs such as federal student loans.