Welcome to theTCU SACS Reaffirmation 2013 Project website!
Here you will find material developed to support TCU's reaffirmation of accreditation with the Southern Association of Colleges and School - Commission on Colleges.
As a truly collaborative effort, our Reaffirmation Project will involve faculty, staff, students, and members of the community. Teams of interested university members will review everything from policy and procedures to program and course assessment.
A Letter from Chancellor Boschini
Texas Christian University is committed to becoming better each year, ever evolving and improving the exceptional TCU experience. One recent and welcome measure of our success has been recognition by U.S. News & World Report as a Top 20 “Up-and-Coming National University.”
But the most meaningful kind of assessment is that which we conduct ourselves. Simply put, assessment is the yardstick by which we measure our progress and the map that keeps us on our course.
An important milestone for any institution is renewal of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). The SACS accreditation process provides an ideal opportunity for focused self-assessment.
As we become more involved in this process, I wish to emphasize a few key points concerning the University’s participation:
- This is a terrific chance to share the great things we are doing at TCU with SACS and the greater community.
- SACS assessment and accreditation are voluntary. We choose to participate.
- We and our students will be the true beneficiaries of what we learn though this process.
- For the many faculty and staff members who were involved in the last SACS accreditation in 2003, I would like to emphasize that this is an entirely different process. And we are a better institution, in part because of your efforts then.
Thanks to everyone who has already taken part in this important endeavor and to those who will do so. This is an exceptional chance to tell the TCU story!
Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr.
What is SACS?
SACS is an acronym for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Commission on Colleges of SACS is the regional body for the accreditation of higher education institutions in 11 southern states and Latin America that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees. Texas Christian University is accredited by SACS to award bachelor's, master's, specialist and doctor's degrees.
What does accreditation mean?
Accreditation by the Commission on Colleges means that a university has:
- a purpose appropriate to higher education
- the resources, programs and services to accomplish that purpose
- clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and that are appropriate to the degrees it offers
- success in achieving its stated objectives.
According to the SACS Commission on Colleges, accreditation is:
Both a process and a product, accreditation relies on integrity, thoughtful
and principled judgment, rigorous application of requirements, and a context
of trust. The process provides an assessment of an institution’s effectiveness
in the fulfillment of its mission, its compliance with the requirements
of its accrediting association, and its continuing efforts to enhance the quality
of student learning and its programs and services. Based upon reasoned
judgment, the process stimulates evaluation and improvement, while providing
a means of continuing accountability to constituents and the public.
- The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, 2010,p. 2.
What is the process for reaccrediation? (from The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement, 2010)
Preparation by the Institution
As part of the reaffirmation process, the institution will provide two separate documents.
1. Compliance Certification
The Compliance Certification is a document completed by the institution that demonstrates its judgment of the extent of its compliance with each of the Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements. Signatures by the institution’s chief executive officer and accreditation liaison are required to certify compliance. By signing the document, the individuals certify that the process of institutional selfassessment has been thorough, honest, and forthright, and that the information contained in the document is truthful, accurate, and complete.
2. Quality Enhancement Plan
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), submitted four to six weeks in advance of the on-site review by the Commission, is a document developed by the institution that (1) includes a process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment, (2) focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution, (3) demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion
of the QEP, (4) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP, and (5) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement. The QEP should be focused and succinct.
Review by the Commission on Colleges
1. The Off-Site Review
The Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee, composed of a chair and normally eight to ten evaluators, meets in Atlanta, Georgia, and reviews Compliance Certifications of a group of institutions to determine whether each institution is in compliance with all Core Requirements (except Core Requirement 2.12), Comprehensive Standards (except Comprehensive Standard 3.3.2), and Federal Requirements. The group of institutions evaluated, called a cluster, will consist of no more than three institutions similar in governance and degrees offered. At the conclusion of the review, the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee will prepare a separate report for each institution, recording and explaining its decisions regarding compliance. The report is forwarded to the respective institution’s On-Site Reaffirmation Committee which makes its final determination on compliance.
2. The On-Site Review
Following review by the Off-Site Committee, an On-Site Reaffirmation Committee will conduct a focused evaluation at the
campus to finalize issues of compliance with the Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements; provide consultation regarding the issues addressed in the QEP; and evaluate the acceptability of the QEP. At the conclusion of its visit, the On-Site Committee will finalize the Report of the Reaffirmation Committee,a written report of its findings noting areas of non-compliance, including the acceptability of the QEP. The Report of the Reaffirmation Committee, along with the institution’s response to areas of non-compliance, will be forwarded to the Commission’s Board of Trustees for
review and action on reaffirmation.
3. Review by the Commission’s Board of Trustees
The Committees on Compliance and Reports (C & R), standing committees of the Board, review reports prepared by evaluation committees and the institutional responses to those reports. A C & R Committee’s recommendation regarding an institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation is forwarded to the Executive Council for review. The Executive Council recommends action to the full Board of Trustees which makes the final decision on reaffirmation and any monitoring activities that it requires of an institution. The full Board convenes twice a year.