Texas A&M University undergoes a rigorous review of its continuous improvement and quality assurance processes every 10 years. This review, which is scheduled to begin next week on campus, is a reaffirmation of accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC, as it is commonly known.
Over the past two years, faculty, staff and students have provided feedback on Texas A&M’s compliance standards and requirements, which helps to highlight the university’s progress.
“The reaffirmation process allows us to look closely at our processes, shore up any deficiencies we see and gain insight from outside reviewers who bring a different perspective,” said Dr. Pamela R. Matthews, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and SACSCOC Liaison for Texas A&M. “It is a difficult task, but well worth our effort if we are able to improve ourselves and, in turn, the future of our institution.”
One of the most visible examples of these efforts has been the development of Texas A&M’s campus Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP): Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime. The 10- year commitment to enhancing student learning has been formed from the foundations of Vision 2020 (the long-term vision of Texas A&M), Action 2015: Education First (the near-term strategic plan) and the Teaching & Learning Roadmap (the 2009 articulation of student-learning outcomes).
Reaffirmation of accreditation also ensures Texas A&M’s compliance with U.S. Department of Education standards, thereby ensuring that students who attend the university are eligible for federal financial aid and faculty are eligible for federal research funding.
“Accreditation essentially says two very important things: First, that what we say we are doing in our mission statement, strategic plan and programs is in fact what we are doing; and second, that we are abiding by the regulations of quality set forth by the Department of Education,” said President R. Bowen Loftin. “What accreditation means is that Texas A&M is worthy of investment, that our faculty are qualified to receive grants from agencies such as the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health and others for their work, and that our students merit federal assistance.”
Combined with a 10-year funding commitment by each Texas A&M college, general academic programs, student affairs and university administration, Aggies Commit to Learning for a Lifetime should demonstrate an impact for students when the next reaffirmation process begins in 2021.
Accreditation reviewers will be on campus next week for the site visit portion of the reaffirmation process. The reviewers will interview university administration, faculty, staff and students to discuss compliance standards.
You can learn more about the accreditation process and Texas A&M’s QEP here.