ETSU receives reaffirmation of accreditation from SACS

From Staff Reports

   The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has reaffirmed East Tennessee State University's (ETSU) accreditation. The university was approved for the maximum term of 10 years.
   The association is changing its approach to institutional accreditation, and ETSU was one of only eight institutions selected by SACS to test the new criteria.
   After completing a comprehensive compliance audit that evaluated the effectiveness of the university's teaching, research, and service missions, ETSU faculty and staff created a quality enhancement plan that became the centerpiece for its reaffirmation of accreditation.
   According to school administrators, the plan seeks to enhance the success of three student populations. First year freshmen pursuing college careers, transfer students, and those who study at ETSU's extended campuses stand to benefit from the program.
   "Preparing the compliance audit and creating the quality enhancement plan were deeply rewarding experiences for the East Tennessee State community," said ETSU President Dr. Paul Stanton. "Despite the challenges and the uncertainty that typically come with such a new and ambitious venture, this is an experiment that worked, and our students are the ultimate beneficiaries."
   SACS officials and evaluators from peer institutions conducted a site visit on the ETSU campus last February.
   "This new process encourages continuous improvement and challenges institutions to look forward strategically rather than simply checking performance once every decade," the ETSU Vice President for academic affairs said. "The evaluation process is streamlined and efficient, and the new model emphasizes problem solving rather than problem finding."
   ETSU broke new ground in the use of the Internet as part of the SACS pilot program. A University Profile System was developed, listing faculty credentials, profiles of each department, and information about all courses offered by ETSU, including what students are expected to learn upon completion of those courses. Even though the reaffirmation is complete, that information will continue to be available through the university's website.
   SACS is the recognized regional accrediting body in 11 U.S. southern states and in baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degrees.