Mississippi College

Mississippi College Programs Reaffirmed by Accreditation Agency

December 11, 2012

Mississippi College’s academic programs today received the approval of one of the nation’s premier accreditation agencies.

At a conference in Dallas this morning, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmed MC programs as part of a lengthy review occurring on campuses in the 11-state region every ten years.

“We are obviously happy to see SACS reaffirm Mississippi College’s accreditation today,” President Lee Royce said. “Getting SACS approval speaks to the strong quality of MC’s academic programs.”

Mississippi College “faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and other supporters of the Christian university deserve to be commended for their hard work during this complex, time-consuming process,” Royce added. “In the end, it will strengthen Mississippi College for years to come.”

Graduate School Dean Debbie Norris attended the meeting at a Dallas hotel when the SACS Commission on Colleges made the announcement and she quickly relayed the news to President Royce on the Clinton campus.

MC’s vice president for assessment and planning, Norris has spearheaded the university’s efforts to gain the agency’s approval the past couple of years.

“This review included all areas of the university,” Norris said. “First and foremost were the academic units,’’ she said. But the review also looked at administrative support, plus academic and student support services. “Regional accreditation is vital to today’s universities.”

It’s also an important measuring stick for employers nationwide when sizing up job applicants, MC leaders say. Successful reaffirmation means that university students will continue to receive federal financial aid.

Earlier this year, SACS representatives from peer institutions conducted a three-day site visit and interviewed Mississippi College faculty, staff and students during their stay.

Based in Georgia, SACS accredits more than 13,000 public and private educational institutions in the South, and others in Latin America. Mississippi College first earned the agency’s accreditation in 1922.

As a result of the SACS effort, Mississippi College established a Quality Enhancement Plan that will focus on upgrading student university research and critical writing skills over the next five years.

Susan Newman, a Leland Speed Library reference librarian and Vice President For Academic Affairs Ron Howard were among the leaders of the QEP project.

They believe the hard work by Mississippi College constituents is already paying off.

“Even though the preparation for the SACS onsite visit was labor-intensive and challenging, improvements in teaching and student learning have already been demonstrated,” Newman said. English Department faculty have incorporated the plan dubbed U Research into the curriculum this fall.

“The resulting student research has been significant and thought-provoking,” Newman said as students on Tuesday were wrapping up final exams on the Clinton campus before the Christmas holidays. “I know that U Research will have a positive effect on our entire curriculum.”

Photo: MC President Lee Royce

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