South Texas College’s accrediting agency, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), has reaffirmed the college’s institutional accreditation for the next 10 years. The reaffirmation was essential for the college so it can continue to award certificate, associate, and baccalaureate degrees to students.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has reaffirmed South Texas College’s institutional accreditation for the next 10 years.
Following a thorough review of the college’s policies and operations, examining everything from front-line staff, students, faculty, facilities, as well as administration, finances, and Board governance, the agency reaffirmed STC for continued accreditation.
The reaffirmation was essential for the college so it can continue to award certificate, associate, and baccalaureate degrees to students that are recognized by employers and other institutions of higher education. Accreditation is also required for institutions to offer students state and federal financial aid funds and allow academic credit to transfer to other higher education institutions.
“SACSCOC accreditation is the single most vital external guarantee of South Texas College’s quality, rigor, and integrity to our stakeholders,” STC interim president Dr. David Plummer said. “It is essential to our ability to educate and credential our students on higher education and workforce pathways, and to ensure that those credentials are recognized and valued throughout the nation.”
STC recently earned its reaccreditation through SACSCOC, its accrediting agency, according to representatives at the college who made a formal announcement July 7.
To maintain accreditation, a higher education institution like STC is required to conduct a comprehensive compliance review that attests that programs and services provided to students meet quality and integrity standards set forth by the SACSCOC’s Principles of Accreditation.
While maintaining compliance with the Principles of Accreditation is ongoing and neverending for STC, completing this extensive review was a two-year process. There are many parts to the review, including submitting a lengthy Compliance Certification document, developing a Quality Enhancement Plan, and undergoing an onsite review.
The college began early preparations for the review and submitted countless documents that provided evidence of compliance with all standards.
“This was a large group effort by the College, hundreds of individuals were directly involved in successfully completing our reaffirmation, and everyone at the College was somehow involved, including our students and our Dual Education High School partners,” said Dr. Fernando Chapa, Dean of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Strategic Planning.
Chapa serves as the institutional accreditation liaison and oversees the institutional effectiveness processes as well as all accreditation agency compliance reporting and activities.
STC hosted the onsite virtual visit with the SACSCOC Reaffirmation Visiting Committee in September 2020. During that time, the committee conducted a comprehensive review of the college’s compliance, verified that all standards were being met, and interviewed multiple individuals at the college.
The visiting committee was able to verify that STC met or exceeded all standards, meaning that STC was not required to submit any additional reports or documents to receive reaffirmation.
The process culminated in a three-day onsite virtual visit and concluded with the official decision to reaffirm STC on June 17.
“The virtual visit was unique in that it was conducted in the midst of the pandemic, but the College and SACSCOC were able to adapt to successfully complete a thorough review of the institution,” Chapa said. “The visiting committee was comprised of 10 individuals from the southern United States. For three full days, the committee thoroughly examined all aspects of the college. This included conducting onsite inspections of our facilities and campuses, and interviews with many individuals at the college that included Board members, administration, faculty, staff, students, and our Dual Education partners.”
In addition to finding STC in compliance with all standards, the visiting committee gave STC many kudos that included praise for STC students and the level of collaboration and collegiality among faculty, staff, students, administration, and the STC Board of Trustees.
“It is a testament to the commitment the College has in serving our community with integrity, rigor, and dedication,” Chapa said.
For more STC news, visit https://news.southtexascollege.edu/.