SACS-COC Accreditation Resources
Accrediting agencies are private, nongovernmental organizations created for the specific purpose of reviewing higher education institutions and programs for quality. SACS is the regional accreditor for colleges and universities (http://www.sacscoc.org/). It is recognized by both the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the U.S. Department of Education. Its Commission on Colleges is responsible for the accreditation of universities, senior colleges, and two-year colleges. As of 2012, the Commission on Colleges of SACS has updated their set of standards, known as the Principles of Accreditation that serve to guide an institution to demonstrate how well it fulfills its mission, the quality and effectiveness of its programs and services, and how it is engaged in an ongoing program of improvement.
Accreditation is important for the university to be able to receive state and federal funds, including grants and loans for students to pursue their education. It also engenders confidence in the quality of the education offered at the institution. Proper accreditation is important for the acceptance and transfer of college credits, and receipt of a degree from an accredited undergraduate institution is a standard prerequisite for most graduate programs. Accreditation also encourages innovation and quality improvements.
For example, the university’s Critical thinking through Writing Initiative http://cii.gsu.edu/critical-thinking-through-writing/, fostered by SACS accreditation, is a creative and forward-thinking approach to student learning and demonstrates how the university community works together to improve educational outcomes.
The associate provost for institutional effectiveness serves as the accreditation liaison for the university and is responsible for assuring that compliance with accreditation requirements is incorporated into planning and evaluation processes of the institution; notifying the Commission in advance of substantive changes; serving as the contact person for the Commission; and maintaining all records related to the institution’s accreditation.