SHSU begins accreditation review

A committee of 16 faculty and staff members at Sam Houston State University has initiated research and data collection for the university’s 5th Year Interim Report of accreditation.

Currently, the committee is in the data gathering process and will provide narratives regarding diverse subjects ranging from the history of the university to the effectiveness of student services and activities.

SHSU is accredited with The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) – a regional body of accreditation of degree-granting higher education – and was reaccredited in 2009. Somer Franklin, assistant vice president for Academic Planning and Assessment and the SACSCOC Liaison at SHSU, said accreditation reaffirms the quality of education students receive.

“It’s beneficial to our students to know the quality of their education and it is looked upon by employers and graduate schools,” Franklin said. “Most importantly, the U.S. Department of Education links federal aid with an institution being accredited.”

According to the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, students attending accredited schools will also benefit from a networking perspective with employers and assures employers that “an educational program has met widely accepted educational standards.”

Franklin said the SHSU committee has been “working behind the scenes” since February. The committee met for the first time in the summer and is currently compiling data and reports to submit to SACSCOC in March 2015.

Each committee member represents the different divisions and academic areas at SHSU. Franklin said it is her job to compile each report into a single narrative to submit to SACSCOC. SHSU has been accredited since 1925 and has not had its accreditation threatened in the past, Franklin said.

According to Franklin, citations that colleges and universities usually see from the accrediting body during the process includes insufficient justification for the amount of professors on staff and documentation of learning outcomes from educational programs. However, SHSU has not received a citation for either, Franklin said.

“We have no reason to believe that [accreditation] won’t continue,” Franklin said. “We have a strong campus and can easily demonstrate the quality of our programs and services.”

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