It’s official. Western Carolina University has received notice of reaffirmation of accreditation from the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the recognized regional accrediting body for institutions of higher education in 11 states in the Southeast.
The notice comes after the commission voted in December to reaffirm Western’s accreditation for a 10-year period, bringing to a successful close a two-year process of self-study of the university programs by faculty and staff, followed by a stringent evaluation conducted by a team of peer reviewers from other institutions.
Reaffirmation means Western is approved to continue offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and has met standards set by the agency to ensure that institutions are providing high-quality programs for students. Accreditation is necessary for institutions to maintain eligibility to receive and distribute federal financial aid funds.
As part of the reaffirmation notice, SACS has requested that WCU provide a monitoring report, due in September, to address recommendations in two areas of the compliance certification section of the review process, which calls for thorough analysis of university compliance with more than 70 core requirements, comprehensive standards and federal requirements. The two areas receiving recommendations are related to institutional effectiveness and college-level competencies.
Also as part of the SACS process, the university was required to develop a Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, a comprehensive plan for institutional improvement. SACS reviewers previously found Western’s QEP to be acceptable, with no formal recommendations for changes. The plan is designed to link diverse elements of the entire university experience so that students can connect their academic and co-curricular experiences in order to better reach their goals after graduation.
Western has been accredited by SACS since 1946; the last accreditation review took place in 1996.
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Last modified: Monday, Feb. 4, 2008