Accreditation can be a complex, confusing process if you aren’t prepared for it. By making a few adjustments to your year-round data collection and reporting processes, you’ll be ready for reaffirmation when the time comes.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is focused on confirming educational quality and improving the effectiveness of its member institutions, and its accreditation process is rigorous. Here are a few tips for creating an assessment process that will allow you to effortlessly demonstrate compliance with SACSCOC standards.
Keep Mission Top-of-Mind
Your institution’s mission statement isn’t just a rallying cry – it’s the foundation of everything you do for students, faculty, and the community at large. Beyond inspirational platitudes, your mission statement should clearly state what your institution is working to achieve over the next three, five, or even ten years.
Achieving accreditation is easier with a clearly defined mission statement in place. By keeping your school’s mission top-of-mind, you can clearly document how outcomes assessments relate to the mission and ensure campus-wide goals are aligned.
Document Faculty Accomplishments
Faculty activity reporting supports multiple purposes – from annual review to promotion and tenure decisions – but the qualifications and accomplishments you’re tracking can also be used to demonstrate how your institution’s faculty are working to support the mission. For example, alternative qualifications can be used to reinforce a faculty member’s experience level with a specific topic.
By creating a consistent data set for all faculty at your institution, you’ll be ready to report on and justify faculty accomplishments in support of SACSCOC requirements.
Focus on Continuous Improvement
The Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness carries a lot of responsibility to define and measure outcomes for student learning and operational success. The data coming from this office not only helps drive informed decision making on campus, but can be used in accreditation reporting to support assertions and reinforce your school’s commitment to continuous improvement.
When it comes time to furnish detailed reports that support ongoing improvement efforts for accreditation, having a complete set of data that aligns with your school’s overarching strategic plan is essential.
Expand Your Measurement Strategy
A combination of direct and indirect measurements are the backbone of a well-rounded academic assessment strategy. Successful accreditation reporting requires demonstrating both tangible proof of student learning (such as exam scores) and subjective measures (like survey and evaluation responses). Together, these measurements provide the full picture of your institution’s performance.
By collecting a broad range of data for assessment and accreditation reporting, you’ll not only be able to address SACSCOC requirements but also provide actionable insights to internal and external stakeholders.
Simplify the Process with the Right Solution
Watermark’s solutions are designed to make the accreditation process easier, offering pre-built templates and strategic integrations that pull together direct and indirect measurements for easy analysis.
For more advice on how to prepare for your next accreditation review, download The Essential Guide to SACSCOC Accreditation.
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