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SACS team gives APSU clean report

Thanks to a preliminary report during an exit conference with the visiting team of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)–the accrediting body for Austin Peay–Peay Pride is rampant on campus.
Thanks to a preliminary report during an exit conference with the visiting team of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)—the accrediting body for Austin Peay—Peay Pride is rampant on campus.

During a final meeting with APSU officials, the visiting SACS committee reported its preliminary findings that it will forward to the full Commission on Colleges that APSU is in compliance with all core requirements and standards. Additionally, the group signaled its positive view of APSU's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a five-year, University-determined initiative for improving APSU's student retention.

APSU President Sherry Hoppe said, “The visiting committee's report goes to the Commission for final approval.”

To maintain national accreditation, every SACS accredited institution must undergo an intensive two-year evaluation every 10 years, which concludes with an on-site study by the SACS visiting committee entrusted with examining all aspects of the University, interviewing key personnel and making recommendations for any needed improvements.

After today's exit conference with the committee, Hoppe said, “I have no doubt such an outstanding report has occurred in the history of SACS, but it is rare indeed.

“In my own 25-plus years in Tennessee higher education and in my service on the SACS Commission on Colleges, as well as during my 15 years on SACS visiting committees, I never have heard of an institution that received no recommendations for improvements in the preliminary exit report.”

Because APSU is one of the first institutions to go through the newly restructured re-accreditation process, it is impossible to know how unusual such a “no recommendations” finding will be in the future. But Hoppe suspects it will be comparable to SACS's findings in the past.

In an e-mail to faculty, staff and students, Hoppe expressed appreciation to those who “worked hard over the past two years to ensure we were in compliance or who helped develop our QEP.”

The first person Hoppe thanked is Dr. Houston Davis, assistant vice president for academic affairs and the APSU liaison with SACS. “Houston was bulldoggish about our compliance auditworking untold hours to check and recheck details, compile documentation and create electronic access to the report.”

Hoppe also thanked Dr. Bruce Speck, vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Susan Calovini, professor of English and chair of the department of languages and literature, who worked as co-chairs of the on-campus SACS reaffirmation team. Besides commending their leadership in directing the extensive process, Hoppe said, “Their efforts were most evident in our QEP, which received very high marks from our visiting committee.”

Although reaffirmation of accreditation is not complete until the report by the visiting committee is approved by the full Commission on Colleges, Hoppe anticipates approval, possibly as early as June since APSU “had such a clean report,” meaning no follow-up report should be required.

Hoppe said, “The visiting committee members were generous in their commendation of all faculty, staff and students with whom they met. They were uniformly impressed by the commitment to the QEP across our campus community.”
—Dennie Burke