The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees reaffirmed the accreditation of The University of Southern Mississippi (USM), during its annual meeting in Atlanta, Dec. 3-6, 2016.
SACSCOC is the acknowledged accrediting body for degree-granting institutions (public, private for-profit and private not-for-profit) in the southeastern United States and is recognized by the United States Department of Education to conduct accreditation activities. SACSCOC, through a peer review process, conducts a comprehensive review of its nearly 800 member institutions every 10 years.
USM is in compliance with the accreditation standards outlined by the Commission, including overall University mission; institutional effectiveness; academic programs and curriculum; faculty qualifications; student support services; learning resources and programs; Quality Enhancement Plan; financial resources and stability; and physical facilities, among others.
“I am grateful to our faculty and staff whose dedication, hard work, and commitment to quality have led to the reaffirmation of our institutional accreditation by the SACSCOC Board,” said University President Rodney D. Bennett. “Our continued focus on excellence will lead us in achieving our vision of becoming a model student-centered public research university that prepares students to thrive in a global society.”
Quality enhancement is a central component of SACSCOC’s accreditation process. Each institution seeking reaffirmation of accreditation is required to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which addresses a specific topic related to enhancing student learning. In Oct. 2015, University leaders announced Eagles Engaged, a QEP focused on improving the academic performance of students in select historically difficult gateway courses. Eagles Engaged also creates more pathways for internships, research and career-related opportunities for students as they progress towards graduation.
In addition to the creation of the QEP, the University submitted a Compliance Certification Report, underwent an off-site review by SACSCOC evaluators, hosted a SACSCOC committee of peer reviewers for an on-site reaffirmation visit, and provided more than 7,500 supporting documents to SACSCOC, all of which were a part of the reaffirmation process.
“Accreditation by SACSCOC affirms USM’s ongoing commitment to integrity as well as our ability to provide effective academic programs and services based on the SACSCOC standards,” said Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Steven R. Moser. “I applaud the diligent work of our faculty, staff, administrators, University Assessment Committee, and Academic and Graduate Councils in helping us achieve this important reaffirmation of good status from the Commission.”
On an ongoing basis, USM maintains a strong commitment to compliance with the SACSCOC standards in its academic programs and administrative units.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges was founded in 1912 and serves as the accrediting body in the 11 U.S. southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia), in Latin America and other international sites approved by the Commission for institutions that award associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees.
For more information about SACSCOC and its accreditation policies, visit www.sacscoc.org.