After several years of internal study, reporting, and external review, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) recently reaffirmed accreditation for Alvin Community College.
Accreditation reaffirmation helps provide colleges and their programs standardization and proof of academic integrity. The decision was made by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees following a virtual site visit in October 2020. The SACSCOC reaffirmation chair will still physically visit the campus sometime in the Fall to obtain follow-up information.
“Reaffirmation is a huge undertaking, involving many of our faculty and staff who spent countless hours researching, documenting and writing, above and beyond their regular work responsibilities,” ACC President Dr. Christal M. Albrecht said. “It feels amazing to be reaffirmed, but to be reaffirmed without a single recommendation or missed criteria is remarkable. The whole college and our board is overjoyed and relieved to have met this milestone.”
The nine-member SACSCOC on-site committee lauded ACC staff members assigned to the accreditation reaffirmation effort for their hard work during the October virtual site visit. The college was found in compliance of all standards and no formal recommendations were made.
Non-accredited institutions' academic credits rarely transfer to accredited colleges and universities, and accreditation is required before institutions can participate in financial aid programs such as Pell Grants. ACC has been accredited by SACSCOC since 1959.
“Obtaining and maintaining accreditation makes a statement to the public and to our current and future students,” Albrecht said. “It says that the institution is a quality one. Accreditation represents that we monitor ourselves and that we assess and evaluate ourselves against measures and standards. It says, if you attend this college, you can be assured that you are attending an institution that operates with integrity and excellence.”
Reaffirmation occurs every 10 years. It includes the reporting of all major changes to the college (such as the offering of new programs or degrees); the submission of a Compliance Report that covers all aspects of the college's instructional and support functions; a Focused Report addressing concerns raised by the Compliance Report; a site visit and finally the submission of a Response Report in which the college outlines any final adjustments suggested by the visiting committee.
ACC surpassed the benchmarks for all of the criteria evaluated by the SACSCOC committee. Those criteria required extensive evidence and documentation to demonstrate ACC meets accreditation standards.
SACSCOC is one of the major accrediting bodies in the United States and is responsible for 11 states in the South and Southeast.
Reaffirmation began with faculty committees researching and drafting sections of the Compliance Report. The college also solicited input from the community and staff regarding the focus of an institution-wide project to improve learning at the college—the Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP.
The QEP is Success Through Engaged Advising which is designed to improve the quality of students’ advising experiences. It will aid students in choosing a career path, continuing successfully, and completing the path by obtaining a degree or certificate.
ACC must issue a report in the next five years demonstrating whether the college has successfully implemented the QEP.