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The Reaffirmation Process

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional accrediting body for degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It 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.

Every 10 years, institutions accredited by SACSCOC undergo an intensive self-study, followed by a thorough review by peers, to determine their compliance with SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation. These standards serve to ensure accountability and quality in all aspects of the institution.

The reaffirmation process, which Panola College is currently undergoing, allows an institution to study itself. Through a variety of broad-based campus committees, the College has documented its compliance with each of the core requirements, comprehensive standards, and federal requirements outlined in the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation. In addition, the College produced a Quality Enhancement Plan that was submitted along with the compliance report.

The resulting reports and documentation have been extensively reviewed by an off-site committee of peer educators. Based on their feedback, Panola College submitted a Focused Report in September 2019, providing additional documentation and details.

What is a QEP?

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is an integral part of the accreditation process, emphasizing SACSCOC’s and the institution’s commitment to continuous improvement. The QEP addresses a single, specific issue that can strengthen and improve student learning and/or student success.

The Panola College QEP is FRAME2 Your Future - Focused Route of Academics to Maximize Education & Employment, a five-year effort that focuses on improving student learning and student success through the Learning Framework course taken by in-coming freshmen. The course introduces students to support systems that help them achieve their education and career goals in the most efficient manner.

The SACSCOC Visit

The SACSCOC on-site committee visited Panola College on October 7-10, 2019. The visiting team consisted of peer educators who examined data and interviewed a variety of individuals on campus to determine if Panola College is in compliance with reaffirmation standards.

Standard 7.2 of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Compliance Report requires the College create and implement a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). The QEP Committee presented its QEP plan to the on-site team on October 8, 2019, and after the presentation the team asked students and the QEP Committee members questions relevant to the development and implementation of the QEP. Members of the on-site team expressed concern that having eight student learning outcomes would be difficult to track, and the results would be too much to communicate in a ten-page Impact Report. The on-site team made several suggestions for strengthening the narrative and process in the Assessment Plan section of the report.

The visit culminated with an exit report by the committee which detailed only three areas of concern for the entire campus. The committee had one recommendation for the QEP.

The Committee recommends the institution demonstrate the QEP assessment plan gathers and analyzes data of student achievement that aligns with institutional goals.

In addition, the on-site team had several suggestions for strengthening the QEP. Since the on-site visit, the QEP Committee has been working hard to incorporate the on-site team’s recommendation and suggestions into the College’s response and the revised QEP Report. The College will submit its response to the three recommendations in March 2020.

Collecting Data

For the next 5 years, the QEP Committee will collect data to prove that the College is gathering and analyzing data on in-coming freshmen through the Learning Framework course. Current student performance and achievement data will be made available to College constituents through links on the right side of this web page for the duration of the study. The QEP Committee and Learning Framework instructors are committed to meeting throughout the study to make necessary adjustments to the QEP process for continued improvement of the learning process and to help future students succeed academically. At the end of 5 years, Panola College will produce a 10-page Impact Report chronicling the study and reporting the results.

 

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