Months of strenuous, coordinated effort in preparation for the arrival of the on-site Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) review committee were proven successful on Thursday, March 24.
The committee, which visited both the Summerville and Health Sciences campuses from March 22-24, as well as our branch campuses in Savannah and Athens, issued an evaluation of “no recommendations” for Augusta University.
Provost Gretchen Caughman said the evaluation results were a tremendous accomplishment for Augusta University.
“The results of the on-site visit are a wonderful affirmation of all the hard work that has been done by so many people to make this university as strong as it is,” Caughman said. “As universities rarely receive an evaluation of no recommendations, I think this speaks volumes regarding the level of dedication put forward by our faculty and staff in advance of the committee’s visit.”
Committee members described their visit as a “pleasurable learning experience,” and reviewers were complimentary of the university’s dedication to ensuring that students were provide the best programs and services even during periods of great change. Because the university had so few compliance issues to review, the bulk of the reviewers’ time was spent evaluating Augusta University’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Learning by Doing: Discover, Engage, Reflect, Lead.
The university’s evaluator was very complimentary of the plan’s strengths, noting the powerful link between the QEP and the university’s primary mission.
Although the review committee’s evaluation is the best possible positive outcome, Caughman stressed that this was not a final action.
After returning from their visit, the committee report will be provided to the university upon which time the university will be allowed to correct errors of fact. Afterward, the committee report will be finalized and submitted to the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.
In December 2016, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees will review and will officially act on Augusta University’s reaffirmation.
With the SACSCOC short-term deadlines now satisfied, the work remains to implement Learning by Doing and to maintain continuous compliance to enhance our processes to get the most value for the effort. While there isn’t another looming deadline in the university’s near future, the responsibilities, Caughman stressed, never diminish.
That said, Caughman noted that yesterday’s evaluation reaffirms that the university’s faculty and staff are more than capable of living up to the challenge of successfully implementing the QEP.
“This is an exciting time for the university,” she said. “I want to express my deepest appreciation to all of the faculty, staff and administrators who played a role in this amazingly positive outcome. Now, we have external confirmation of what we already knew — that we are doing the right things the right way.”