Coastal Carolina University has begun preparation for its 2012 institutional accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Though the site visit won't take place until 2012, the process of accreditation, which occurs every 10 years, is detailed, rigorous and thorough. The University was last accredited in December 2001.
Nine committees have been appointed to work on various areas. The committees and their chairs are: Educational Programs, Mark Mitchell; Faculty, Thomas Hoffman; Governance, Planning and Administration, Dave Evans; Student Affairs, Jennie Cassidy; Library and Learning Resources, Barbara Burd; Institutional Effectiveness, Sharon Gilman; Finance, Stacie Bowie, Quality Enhancement Plan; Michael Ruse; and Leadership Team, Robert Sheehan.
Provost Sheehan is leading the accreditation process, aided by co-coordinators Barbara Buckner, associate provost of Assessment and Accreditation, and Christine Mee, director of Planning & Research, Institutional Research, Assessment & Analysis.
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. The Commission's mission is the enhancement of educational quality throughout the region, and it strives to improve the effectiveness of institutions by ensuring that institutions meet standards established by the higher education community that address the needs of society and students.
The commission serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the Commission on Colleges that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees. The Commission also accepts applications from other international institutions of higher education.
"It takes a great deal of commitment and determination to earn SACS accreditation," said Provost Robert Sheehan, the SACS liaison. "This level of scrutiny assures all our stakeholders that the University's faculty and programs offered are of the highest quality in order to prepare our students for the challenges of the global environment."
Accreditation also determines a school's eligibility for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial aid programs. Proper accreditation is also important for the acceptance and transfer of college credit, and is a prerequisite for many graduate programs.