Message to EGSC Students

Message to EGSC Students

by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | June 22, 2020
Last Edited: June 22, 2020 by Katelyn Moore

   Dear East Georgia State College Students,
   Accreditation Update
 As you return to campus in fall, one of the major initiatives underway will be the college’s accreditation process. This is a process which is important to each and every student because it has a direct impact on the value of the degree you are pursuing. EGSC is now accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).  This accreditation must be “reaffirmed” every 10 years. As explained below, a committee of experts will visit all of EGSC’s locations this fall to make a report about that “reaffirmation” of accreditation.
   That is why I am focusing my weekly letter on this accreditation process. It is important that all of you understand why this group is visiting our campuses and how you can contribute to a successful visit.
   Successful completion of this accreditation process is one of the college’s top priorities during the coming 2020-2021 academic year. It is critical to our reputation as a high-quality institution of higher education. It is a condition precedent to our ability to offer federal student financial aid to our deserving students.
   This rigorous process takes over 2 ½ years from start to finish. The process culminates with a visit to the college by a SACSCOC reaffirmation committee composed of approximately 8 experts from peer institutions in the southern United States. The committee is chaired by a college president. The reaffirmation committee will be here in the first week of October 2020. During that visit, members of the committee will visit Swainsboro, Statesboro and Augusta. During the visit, the committee members will want to meet with students. We, of course, do not know who they will chose to interview until their arrival so it is critical that all of you understand the process. The following presents a brief overview.
   A high percentage of the college’s faculty and staff are now actively engaged in completing one of the two major components of the process:

  • Demonstration of the college’s compliance with the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation.
  • Completion of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) which will focus the college’s attention over the next five years on achieving the goals of the plan. This requirement of a QEP is an element of the accreditation process which makes the process in the southern United States unique and rigorous. This element is not commonly found in other regions of the U.S.

   Demonstrating compliance with the Principles of Accreditation, is a multi-step process. The first step in this process was completed in March of this year: Our compliance certification was filed. This document, hundreds of pages in length, was filed with SACSCOC. As required, it addressed each SACSCOC Principle in depth and provided documentary evidence of compliance with each Principle. For example, official transcripts of all faculty who taught courses in each of two semesters were provided to document their qualification to teach the courses assigned to them.
   The next step in the compliance process is review of the compliance certification (called the off-site review) by a group of our colleagues at an off-site location. This review occurred later than originally scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Accordingly, we received the report of the off-site committee only a couple of weeks ago – later than originally planned. We must file a response to this report in the first week of August. This means that many faculty and staff will be intensely engaged in preparing our focused report over the next few weeks.
   Preparation of the QEP is the other key step in the process. This QEP must be filed with SACSCOC at the same time as our focused report. This is critical for two reasons. First, it focuses our college on a critical aspect of student learning for a 5-year period. In EGSC’s plan, this will focus our efforts on creation of learning communities. Second, it is critical because the completion of a QEP meeting the standards set by SACSCOC is a condition precedent to reaffirmation of the college’s accreditation.
   All of this is to say that many of our faculty and staff have been and will continue over the next several months to pour many hours of time and extraordinary effort into this SACSCOC reaffirmation effort. This final stage of preparation for a SACSCOC reaffirmation committee visit is always an intense and stressful period. We will need your support when you return to campus in fall. We will get it done together.
   Stay healthy. Stay safe.
   Bob Boehmer
   East Georgia State College