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2012 August SACS Facts Newsletter

SEPTEMBER 17, 2012

Greetings PCC Family and Friends,

Please take out your boarding passes as our journey is nearing its final destination. Tomorrow, PCC welcomes the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (COC) On-Site Visitation Team to campus. Team members will be here Tuesday through Thursday.

The COC team will examine data and conduct interviews with various faculty and staff throughout campus to ensure the soundness of our Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which is “Career and Academic Planning (CAP).” Team members will also examine whether our institution is in compliance with the “Principles of Accreditation.”

The team will provide written advice to PCC, develop a consensus on its findings and complete a draft report. The committee will also present an oral summary as part of an exit report to President G. Dennis Massey and invited institutional officials on Thursday.

Please Welcome the COC On-Site Visitation Team as They Board the USS PCC Campus…

The COC On-Site Visitation Team is comprised of a group of peers and members of the public who volunteer their time to ensure higher education is meeting quality standards.

COC On-Site Visitation Team Roster ...

• Dr. Linda K. Thomas-Glover (Chair)
President, Eastern Shore Community College
Melfa, VA

• Dr. Ivan H. Allen
President, Middle Georgia Technical College
Warner Robins, GA

• Dr. Loretta R. Beavers
Professor, Business Management Technology
Southwest Virginia Community College
Richlands, VA

• Dr. Susan E. Graybeal
Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness
Northeast State Community College
Blountville, TN

• Dr. Barbara C. Howard
Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs
Lake-Sumter Community College
Leesburg, FL

• Mr. John W. McIntosh
Associate Dean of IE, Distance Education, and Development
Northwest-Shoals Community College
Muscle Shoals, AL

• Dr. Beth Wuest (QEP Evaluator)
Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness
Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas

• Dr. Twila Johnson (SACS Observer)
Coastal Bend College
Kingsville, TX

• Dr. Barry D. Goldstein (COC Staff Representative)
Vice President, Commission on Colleges
Decatur, GA

Visiting team members will be greeted and escorted during their visit by the PCC On-Site Visitation Team: Andre Gregory (Chair), Jody Venters, Rusty Sugg, Tony Gallardo, Ernis Lee, Lisa Elmore, Kathy Carnes, Kathryn Minnick and Rick Owens.

Team Visitation Schedule ...

Sept. 17 – Team arrives at the Greenville Hilton and is greeted by the PCC Onsite-Committee Visitation Team and other institutional officials.

Sept. 18-20 – Team members will visit the PCC main campus, conduct interviews with students, staff and faculty, and review the college's QEP in order to assess compliance. Some team members will visit PCC off-site campuses, including the Greenville Center and Mitchell’s Academy.

Workrooms will be set up in the Craig F. Goess Student Center and at the Hilton as a base of operations/resource room for the On-site Team while on campus. These workrooms, including the Goess mulitpurpose room, SGA room, and several Goess conference rooms, will be off limits to PCC students, staff and faculty during the On-Site Team Visitation, unless otherwise specified. Please do not disturb these areas unless given official authorization.

The On-site Committee’s Goals …

The On-Site committee has four primary goals:

Goal 1: Exceptional Quality Enhancement Plan

Core Requirement 2.1 states the institution has developed an acceptable Quality Enhancement Plan that includes an institutional process for identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment and focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting students learning and accomplishing the mission of the institutional QEP. The evaluation and weight of the issues when arriving at a judgment about the institution’s compliance with the requirement are:

—An institutional process: Plan is directly related to institutional planning efforts.

—Key issues identified: A direct and strong relationship of QEP topic to institutional need.

—Focus on learning outcomes: Student learning outcomes tied directly to institutional need.

—Focus on the environment supporting student learning: Clear relationship between activities of QEP and the improvement of student learning.

Comprehensive Standard 3.3.2 further states “the institution has developed a Quality Enhancement Plan that (1) demonstrates institutional capabilities for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP: (2) includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP; and (3) identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement (Quality Enhancement Plan).”

—Capability to initiate the plan: Detailed budget information, institutional commitment of funds clearly indicated.

—Capability to implement and complete the plan: Detailed timetable is provided for year by year activities.

—Broad-based involvement in developing the plan: Input from all relevant constituencies.

—Identified goals: Goals are clearly stated.

—Plan to assess the achievement of goals of the QEP: Clear outcomes assessment methods related to outcomes and are direct measures of those outcomes.

Dr. Beth Wuest will evaluate PCC’s Quality Enhancement Plan and provide feedback to help the college improve the plan and, more importantly, student learning and eventual student success.

Dr. Wuest holds a doctorate from the University of Minnesota, a master's from Michigan State University and a bachelor's from North Dakota State University.

She joined the faculty at Texas State University-San Marcos in 1994 and is currently an Associate Professor in Family and Consumer Sciences and the Director of Academic Development and Assessment. In this capacity, Dr. Wuest coordinates faculty development and oversees academic assessment at Texas State.

During the 2010 reaffirmation of regional university accreditation, Dr. Wuest led the development of the learning and research outcomes assessment processes and was a co-chair on the development of the Quality Enhancement Plan focusing on Personalized Academic and Career Exploration for entering freshmen. She previously held faculty appointments at the University of North Texas and the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

With 30 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Wuest has published extensively in her field and is an active member of several state and national professional organizations. 

Goal 2: Assessment of Compliance – The On-Site Reaffirmation Committee will conduct a focused evaluation at the campus to finalize issues of compliance with the core requirements, comprehensive standards and federal requirements.

Core Requirements - Core Requirements are basic, broad-based, foundational requirements that an institution must meet to be accredited with the Commission on Colleges. An applicant institution seeking candidacy is required to document compliance with Core Requirements 2.1–2.11 to be authorized a Candidacy Committee or to be awarded candidacy or candidacy renewal. An accredited institution is required to document compliance with all Core Requirements, including Core Requirement 2.12, before it can be reaffirmed. Core Requirement 2.12 requires an institution to develop an acceptable Quality Enhancement Plan.

Comprehensive Standards - The Comprehensive Standards set forth requirements in the following four areas: (1) institutional mission, governance, and effectiveness; (2) programs; (3) resources; and (4) institutional responsibility for Commission policies. The Comprehensive Standards are more specific to the operations of the institution, represent good practice in higher education, and establish a level of accomplishment expected of all member institutions. A candidate institution is required to document compliance with Comprehensive Standards 3.3.1 - Institutional Effectiveness, 3.5.1 - Student Achievement, and 3.7.1. - Faculty Development in order to be authorized a Candidacy Committee or to be awarded candidacy or candidacy renewal. These standards will constitute the three main areas of focus for the On-Site Visitation Team.

Federal Requirements - The federal statute includes mandates that the Commission review an institution in accordance with criteria outlined in the federal regulations developed by the U.S. Department of Education. As part of the review process, institutions are required to document compliance with those criteria, and the Commission is obligated to consider such compliance when the institution is reviewed for initial membership or continued accreditation. A candidate institution is required to document compliance with Federal Requirements 4.1–4.9 to be authorized a Candidacy Committee or to be awarded candidacy or candidacy renewal.

Goal 3: Present conclusions in an exit report

Goal 4: Recommendation of reaffirmation

Please visit the "2012 Edition of the Principles of Accreditation: For Quality Enhancement" for more details about the specific requirements and standards that will be assessed.

How You Can Prepare and What You Need to Know for the On-Site Visit …

All PCC Employees should be able to answer the following five basic questions if asked by an On-site Visitation Team member:

1. What is PCC's mission?
Answer: Educate and Empower People for Success.

2. What is PCC’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)?
Answer: CAP – Career & Academic Planning.

3. What are PCC’s Strategic Goals?
Answer: Student & Community Access, Student Success and Program Excellence.

4. What is the name of PCC’s Accrediting Agency?
Answer: Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

5. What are the Key Components of the Accreditation Process?
Answer: Compliance Certification and Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

6. How Can I Remember All of That Information?
Answer: Print and keep a copy of your SACS Boarding Pass on you or at your workstation from Sept. 18-20. The SACS Boarding Pass lists the answers to the five basic questions above for your convenience and quick, easy access.

Tips and Codes of Conduct when interacting with On-site Visitation Team Members:

—Wear your PCC nametag Sept. 18-20.
—Always be courteous.
—Answer only the question that is asked.
—If you do not know the answer to a question, refer the team member to Dr. Massey for further insight. Do not guess or make assumptions.
—Be helpful at all times.

Parting words of wisdom…

As we conclude this month's SACS Facts newsletter, we leave you with a video interview of what to expect during the on-site visitation.

Dr. Donald Spell has had the unique opportunity of serving as a SACS On-Site Team member during the accreditation process at several other colleges. He shares his unique perspective about his experience and what PCC employees need to know. Andre Gregory, PCC On-Site Visitation Committee Chair, serves as the interviewer.