The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) will conduct an assessment of the university in 2013 to determine whether the university will be accredited again, or reaffirmed.
Edward McNertney, Ph.D., serves as the faculty representative for the leadership committee, which includes the chancellor, the provost, and Catherine Wehlburg, Ph.D.
McNertney said this year the university must work on a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and a Compliance Certification document to ensure reaffirmation.
According to the TCU SACS website, the QEP-just introduced for SACS schools this year-requires a “signature program” to improve TCU.McNertney said pre-proposals, due Nov. 1, could touch on issues involving the entire university body.
“For example, if the topic is undergraduate research, it could involve all of the departments in the university,” McNertney said. “It’s supposed to be a very broad-ranging topic that will include a lot of people across the campus, even if they’re not on the team writing the proposal.”
McNertney said the university will choose four or five finalists by Feb. 1 to further develop their plans.
The second part of reaffirmation, the Compliance Certification document, would involve reports from university departments. McNertney said the first drafts of preliminary reports, organized by 10 teams of faculty and staff, would be due Nov. 1.
The responsibilities of the reaffirmation process trickle down to individual departments as well.
Janice Elliott, the director of Neeley Assessment and Accreditation Services, works year-round to ensure the Neeley Schoolof Business meets its standards.
“We have to stay on top,” she said. “We can’t just catch up at the end once the SACS accreditors come to campus.”
According to the TCU SACS website, the university’s Compliance Certification must demonstrate how the university meets the core requirements, comprehensive standards, and federal requirements.
“We have that continued assessment in place,” Elliott said. “Every school has equal weight in their part of the reaffirmation.”
Molly Jordan, a junior nursing major, said she has heard about the reaffirmation process from her professors and recognizes the importance of the university’s accreditation.
“It shows companies [you are qualified],” Jordan said. “It validates your degree once you graduate.”
McNertney and his colleagues will continue to work on the QEP and Compliance Certification document until the final reaffirmation announcement in December 2013.
“It’s a very exciting time,” McNertney said. “We learn a lot about the university and find out if we need to make some changes in some areas.”