SACS reaffirms for ECSU

Kesha Williams
January 09, 2012


Elizabeth City State University is proud to announce that the university's accreditation was reaffirmed at the annual meeting of SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) in Orlando, Florida on December 6, 2001.  SACS requires that all schools are reaffirmed every 10 years. This reaffirmation of accreditation declares that the degrees ECSU awards are coming from an institution that is financially stable, has academically qualified faculty and administrators and approved academic programs. Thus, the academic programs are sound-- are thorough and provide a solid education for ECSU graduates. It total, the university is carrying out its mission.

"The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states.  The Commission's mission is the enhancement of educational quality throughout the region and it strives to improve the effectiveness of institutions by ensuring that institutions meet standards established by the higher education community that address the needs of society and students.  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. The Commission also accepts applications from other international institutions of higher education." SACS's headquarters is in Decatur, GA.

The reaffirmation of the university's accreditation is the culmination of two years of work by the university administration, faculty, and staff. This work was completed by approximately 125 employees working on 13 different committees addressing educational programs, institutional effectiveness, library resources, administration, facilities and financial resources, student services, graduate programs, faculty qualifications. One additional committee prepared A Quality Enhancement Plan. An editing committee reviewed all documents prior to submission. The Accreditation Leadership Team (university administrators, and a representative from the Faculty Senate) oversaw the process.

The university was required to produce a Compliance Report that included a response to 84 standards that document the quality of all academic programs, the administrative structure, the library resources, the university facilities and the university's financial status. Those 84 standards are set benchmarks for all institutions of higher education in the 11 southern states accredited by SACS. In addition, the Compliance Report includes documentation on faculty credentials and the credentials of administrators.

A Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) was also submitted to the SACS team as a part of the reaffirmation process. The QEP is a project developed from a review of existing campus data and input from the wider academic community that identifies a topical theme designed to improve the academic performance of ECSU students. The QEP will run for five years beginning in January 2012. The topic selected is academic writing.

In order to meet the approval of SACS, ECSU welcomed review committee members to the campus on April 11-14, 2011. The visitors reviewed the above two documents, toured the campus, interviewed administrators, faculty and students.

"The visiting committee report and the response of the institution to the findings of the committee are reviewed by the Committee on Compliance and Reports, a standing committee of the Commission. The Committee on Compliance and Reports recommends action on reaffirmation to the Executive Council of the Commission. The Executive Council in turn recommends action to the Commission on Colleges, which makes the final decision. These decisions are announced to the College Delegate Assembly during its annual business session." This announcement was made at the annual  meeting December 3-6. The Commission on Colleges voted and reaffirmed ECSU for the next 10 years.

Dr. Flora Brown, special assistant to the Chancellor for Assessment, coordinated the reaffirmation process. Brown has been employed by ECSU since August of 1990 and served as a professor of History, chair of the Department of History and Political Science. She said the entire process took over two years but was a clear victory for the university. "We are elated at this great news.  All segments of the university were involved in making this reaffirmation process a success:  From the Chancellor and his office, to administrators, faculty, and staff.  This process has made the university better and stronger and through our work together forged even greater cooperation."