Volume 3 | Issue 1 | October 2023
Your Roadmap to Successfully Navigating SACSCOC Reaffirmation of Accreditation
Falling into Phase 4

On September 14, 2023, Compliance Certification team members, which include representatives from nearly every division and unit, came together once again to discuss the next phase in our reaffirmation towards accreditation: Phase 4: External Review & Revisions. Phase 4 is the last phase with an opportunity for Compliance Certification team members to refine their narratives before submission to SACSCOC for the off-site review. Like autumn leaves that must be raked multiple times, there may be multiple rounds of external feedback for each SACSCOC standard, but the sustained effort and hard work will make spring all the more pleasant. 

Remember, autumn leaves change quickly. Phase 4 also will move much more rapidly with team members having 28 days to address feedback from our external reviewer. These concentrated efforts are designed to produce the most outstanding version of the narratives, readying them for submission in the beginning of March, so they are finalized by the time of our SACSCOC Advisory Visit in May. 

Of course, this process is not without support. Throughout the afternoon, Institutional Assessment and Accreditation (IAA) led teams through several reflective and planning activities, providing guidance for reviewing external feedback, identifying gaps in supporting documentation, and collaborating on next steps in refining narratives. IAA will begin monthly meetings with Team Leads in mid-October to further support team progress.

Our All-Compliance Certification Teams meeting concluded with Glenn Gibney, Associate Vice President for Career Readiness, providing QEP Team Updates for the Quality Enhancement Plan, a university-wide plan for improving student learning over a five-year period, that will launch in Fall 2025. Converging topic areas from faculty, students, alumni, and employers included critical thinking, oral/written communication, professionalism, and teamwork.

The teamwork kicks into high gear now. Phase 4 will be over before we know it. Our Compliance Certification narratives must be ready with arguments as crisp and clear as the fall air.
STATUS UPDATE: We are in transition from Phase 3 to Phase 4
Revised Compliance Certification narratives are being shared with our external reviewer, marking the beginning of Phase 4.
Did you Know?
IAA has a Phase 4 Certification Submission Tracking Dashboard on our SACSCOC Accreditation website, so you can see our progression through the external review process. You can also view all previous accreditation newsletters on our website, which detail our journey towards achieving reaffirmation of accreditation.
Section 14:
´╗┐Transparency & Institutional Representation
14.2 The institution has a policy and procedure to ensure that all substantive changes are reported in accordance with SACSCOC policy. (Substantive Change)
Essential Components for Compliance:
Institutional policy, procedure, substantive changes, reported, SACSCOC policy
Excellence in Transparency: Substantive Change
Compliance with institutional accreditation standards is a continuous process - not just every 5-10 years as formal SACSCOC reviews occur. As higher education institutions change, e.g., expanding instructional sites or altering programs offered, they must follow SACSCOC policies related to substantive change to ensure educational quality and remain eligible for federal aid. SACSCOC defines substantive change as a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. These can include institutional changes, program changes, or instructional location changes. IAA has recently released the SACSCOC Substantive Change website that details the various kinds of substantive changes that exist and whether or not notification, approval, or notification and approval are required, as well as the IAA submission deadline to allow for review of documents prior to submission.
Upcoming Events
Fall Monthly Team
Lead Meetings

Wednesday, October 18
Friday, November 17
Wednesday, December 13
2023 SACSCOC Annual Meeting

´╗┐December 2-5, 2023
Orlando, Florida
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As we continue to improve our communication practices, IAA will strive to provide just-in time information regarding our accreditation process, while balancing proper length and email frequency to avoid inbox burnout and information overload.
And Our October newsletter winner is...
Anita Thurson
(Office of the VP for Business and Finance)
Email [email protected] within 30 days to claim your prize.
Institutional Assessment and Accreditation (IAA) works collaboratively with faculty, staff, and administration to ensure the quality of the programs and educational experiences offered by the university, addressing the unique assessment needs of courses, departments, colleges, or units through individual and group consultations, professional development workshops, recommendations for technology implementation, and best practice reference materials.
An opportunity to enhance the accreditation communication experience.