Mississippi College Welcomes Reaffirmation Visit April 17-19
April 6, 2012
Mississippi College first gained its accreditation in 1922, and every ten years goes through a complex and time-consuming process to keep its noteworthy academic standard.
As a key part of that lengthy process, a team of national higher education administrators and professors will visit the MC campus April 17-19 to take a close look at the Christian university’s operations and meet with campus leaders.
It’s a big step with Mississippi College leaders hoping to gain accreditation reaffirmation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in December 2012.
“Every ten years, a group of visitors comes to Mississippi College to review what we are doing and evaluate what we are doing based on standards,” says MC Graduate School Dean Debbie Norris. “MC was first accredited in 1922. Since that time, MC has been reaffirmed every decade.”
The guests arriving on the Clinton campus are from peer institutions. They do not work for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, but serve as unpaid volunteers.
Based in Decatur, Georgia, SACS is one of six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The agency accredits more than 13,000 public and private educational institutions, from preschool to the college level, in the South.
A successful reaffirmation is important to the Baptist-affiliated university for a number of reason, says Norris, who also serves as vice president for planning and assessment.
It allows Mississippi College students to continue to receive federal financial aid and permits their transcripts to offer transferrable coursework, Norris said. It also serves to give Mississippi College diplomas “legitimacy among employers,” she added.
The ultimate goal of receiving the December 2012 reaffirmation of the regional accreditation agency “makes the university accountable for giving its students the best education possible,” says Ron Howard, vice president for academic affairs. “MC and every other school in SACS benefits immensely from this process.”
Mississippi College is “very grateful to all the professionals who are coming to assess, and advise us on how to do better tomorrow than what we are doing today,” Howard said.
One featured component of the Christian university’s effort is the Quality Enhancement Plan, with the proposal focusing on strengthening the research done by students.
The Quality Enhancement Plan, according to SACS leaders, is the component of the accreditation process that affirms the commitment of the Commission on Colleges to the enhancement of higher education. It also speaks to the proposition that “student learning is at the heart of institutions of higher learning.”