If you haven't already heard, we are gearing up for a very important event at Georgia Southern -- our reaffirmation of accreditation with SACSCOC in 2025. Preparing for this event will require participation and collaboration from everyone on our campuses. As part of this process, we will submit an extensive Compliance Document that will be reviewed by a group of trained peer-reviewers from other institutions. This will be followed by an on-site visit during which peer-reviewers get to see for themselves everything we have to offer and verify the evidence presented in our Compliance Document.

This means over the next three years as we initiate integration of evidence into the Compliance Document, we will continue to emphasize reviewing academic assessment processes and documents with an external audience in mind. Starting next year, assessment documents for academic programs and core courses will be made publicly available in the interest of transparency and collaboration.

In addition to positioning us for a successful reaffirmation process, making these documents available will benefit our faculty and academic leadership. We truly have a rich and diverse selection of academic programs and core courses, each taking an approach to assessment tailored to the needs of their program and students. Sharing this information openly will allow us all to benefit from the examples and experience of others engaged in academic assessment at the institution and signal the genuine value and priority we place on students and their learning.

As you think ahead about your assessment documentation, I wanted to offer a few tips for preparing for your "close up:"

  • Format correctly - Use the current template for academic program or core course assessment. Any documents that are not in the current template will be returned for reformatting.
  • Explain fully - Think about what you are writing as if you are someone with no knowledge of your course or program. It may feel like you are over-explaining, but be as detailed and specific as possible.
  • Label generously - Be sure to include labels, keys, and explanations for any graphs or charts so that a reviewer knows exactly what data is reflected -- which students? what timeframe? what kinds of comparisons are made?
  • Proofread carefully - Resist the temptation to finish your draft at midnight on September 30th and hit "submit" without re-reading the document as a whole. Something as simple as an omitted word or sentence can confuse your reader.
  • Share strategically - Invite someone from outside your discipline to do a pre-review of your document and point out areas where clarification is needed. It's easy to have blind spots when you are writing about something you are closely familiar with, and having that external perspective can help to clear that up.

And don't forget that the IAA team is here to help! We are happy to answer questions or make suggestions throughout the process.

See you soon!