Auburn Prepares for SASCSCOC Visit: Focus on Faculty

There are just days left until Auburn University’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), arrives for their on-site visit on February 27. Last week we covered how students focus on the accreditation process in Auburn, but now it’s time to bring the focus to our faculty. As the accreditation team prepares for the onsite phase of the endorsement process, we want to highlight the way faculty is so deeply involved in the process and make this all possible.

Almost all SACSCOC reaffirmation standards focus on how an institution serves its students, meaning that the faculty providing that education is at the heart of that service. Therefore, their contribution to the confirmation process was crucial. In addition, the on-site SACSCOC Examination Committee is itself composed of faculty and administrators from other SACSCOC member institutions, so they understand the value and importance of faculty in the accreditation process.

Faculty is at the heart of Section 6 of SACSCOC’s Accreditation Principles, which requires both that there be adequately qualified faculty to support the university’s mission and that faculty be adequately protected as scholars and employees. The standards of ยง 6 underline the importance of the faculty on behalf of the university. Faculty is the driving force behind the three pillars of Auburn’s mission “through forward-thinking education, life-enhancing research and scholarship, and selfless service.” Auburn University faculty is directly involved in all three, an important factor in our adherence to SACSCOC principles.

Given the importance of the faculty to the University’s mission and to our accreditation, the faculties have also assisted in all phases of the accreditation process. Faculty members were directly involved in the preparation and writing of portions of the Compliance Certification Report (CCR). These contributions included descriptions of exemplary degree programs and their requirements, college-level student support programs, and student performance data. Insights and evidence were also provided by representatives from the university senate, university libraries and the AAUP. In addition to participating in the accreditation process prior to the on-site visit, faculty across the university will also participate in meetings with the committee to share expertise on the structure of the academic program, Auburn’s online degree programs, and academic assessment.

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A key focus area for the onsite endorsement committee will also be the review of Auburn’s Quality Improvement Plan (QEP). Under the auspices of the Office of Academic Insight, the development and implementation of Auburn Achieve involved representatives from all of Auburn’s academic colleges, including an advisory board with representatives from all twelve of them. Auburn Achieve focuses on using data to improve student outcomes after graduation through the Insight Lab and Seed Grants project Auburn Achieve Bright Idea. The Bright Idea Project is designed to provide analytical support and seed funding to units at all levels of the institution to implement an intervention that improves the Auburn student experience and better prepares students for post-Auburn careers. As the major student stakeholders on campus, faculty are an integral part of the Bright Ideas program.

For more information on Auburn’s accreditation efforts, visit this website.