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SACSCOC FAQs: Faculty

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Q: What is SACS?

A: The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

SACS is the acronym for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (founded 1895), whose Commission on Colleges is the accrediting body for Texas A&M University. Its accurate, full abbreviation is SACSCOC. There are 8 accrediting bodies in 6 U.S. regions. Each is approved by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit institutions in their regions. Approximately 80 institutions undergo review each year by SACSCOC.

SACSCOC’s written philosophy is that the most effective institutional reviews are conducted by peers; that institutional integrity should be a given; that the enhancement of quality and the commitment to constant improvement are institutional responsibilities; and that student learning is paramount. See http://www.sacscoc.org/ for more information.

Q: What should faculty members know about SACSCOC and the reaffirmation process?

A: That SACSCOC is committed to the centrality of faculty; that accreditation is necessary for federal funding; that student learning is a primary consideration; and that faculty involvement is essential to our success.

Many of the Core Requirements (C.R.), Comprehensive Standards (C.S.), and even Federal Requirements (F.R.) addressed in our Compliance Certification revolve around the faculty’s central role in institutions of higher education. For example, C.R. 2.8 asks us to demonstrate that the number of full-time faculty members is sufficient to support our mission and maintain academic program quality.  C.S. 3.4.12 asks us to demonstrate that the “primary responsibility” for curriculum content, quality, and effectiveness lies with the faculty. And C.S. 3.7 asks for extensive documentation of faculty qualifications.   

Q: How often do we participate and why do we participate?

A: Continually, with formal application for reaffirmation every ten years, because of required approvals for substantive change, eligibility for federal funds, and assessment of institutional quality. 

Q: What is a QEP?

A: An institutional Quality Enhancement Plan focused on improving student learning.

The QEP as described by SACSCOC is a “carefully designed course of action that addresses a well-defined and focused topic or issue related to enhancing student learning.”  It should be integral to the institution’s character and mission.