SACSCOC committee concludes on-site visit at RCC

ASHEBORO (Nov. 15, 2019)

Randolph Community College faculty, staff, and Trustees heard the results of a review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ (SACSCOC) Reaffirmation On-Site Committee on Thursday, Nov. 14. The committee found five areas of recommendation. RCC has until April 15 to complete its response to the committee’s report before the final review and accreditation decision by the SACSCOC Board of Trustees in June.

The reaffirmation process consists of orientation, an advisory visit, an off-site review, an on-site review, and a SACSCOC Board of Trustees evaluation and decision.

Dr. Alissa Young, Chair of the Reaffirmation On-site Committee for Randolph Community College, gave the opening remarks and then revealed the three areas of recommendation not related to the College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

“We are excited to be here,” Young said. “Great things are happening at Randolph Community College. You all are doing some great work here and each of you is to be commended for the great work you are doing. Your hospitality has been second-to-none. If we even thought it, it was there.

“Accreditation is something that is so very important. It is a voluntary and self-regulatory process among colleges and universities. The thing I like about it the most is it’s a peer-review process. We understand a little bit about what you do. One of the beautiful things about community colleges is we wear many hats. We understand that.”

Young said that accreditation fosters public confidence in higher education, maintains educational standards, enhances institutional effectiveness and quality improvement, and ensures compliance with the common set of standards. Upon reviewing all of the documentation, the on-site committee found five areas of recommendation.
The three not pertaining to the QEP were:
• The committee recommends that, for each of its educational programs, the institution justifies and documents the qualifications of its faculty members.
• The committee recommends the institution provides evidence that each of the college’s educational programs identify expected outcomes, assess the extent to which they achieve outcomes, and provide evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results.
• The committee recommends that the institution ensures that the student who registers in a distance or correspondent education course or program is the same student who participates in and completes this course or program and receives the credit.

Dr. Leann Allison, the QEP evaluator, then presented the two recommendations for the QEP, which is Career Confidence:
• The committee found the baseline data target for improvement is included, however outcome measurements are stated in general terms and they shift the focus from improving student learning and/or success. Awareness is not a good indicator of student success and/or retention, so revising the learning outcomes will result in a revised assessment process. The committee recommends that the institution revises its plan focus upon improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success.
• As the learning outcomes are revised and the assessment will follow in the development, [the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System] may not be a good method for your data needs with a delay due to the number of years to completion. You may not have data for two to three years. In addition, it will not give you the reason these students are impacted. So, consider using other quantitative resources, as well as qualitative sources to help fill in the gaps and the student voice. The committee recommends that the institution develop an appropriate plan to assess the achievement of expected outcomes.

SACSCOC Vice President Dr. Linda Thomas-Glover followed the presentation of the recommendations, letting the audience know what happens next and lauding RCC.

“It is an honor and pleasure to be here,” she said. “Thank you and your staff so very much for the wonderful hospitality, for the tremendous response rate that you had on requests that came from the committee — either before we came to campus to while we were here on campus. It is a delight to see Board members who take the time to come forward and be a part of this process of reaffirmation and accreditation for an institution. It speaks very highly to how much you value the role of this institution in your community and impact that it has on the lives of students and support that you have from your president. Bottom line, we’re here for in higher education and working with students, helping them find ways to build their dreams to they might be able to grow and expand.”

RCC President Dr. Robert S. Shackleford Jr. closed the presentation, putting the SACS report in perspective.

“We had five recommendations, only three from the SACS 14 SACSCOC standards, 85 sub-standards, and 24 Core Requirements,” he said. “Those recommendations are very fixable.

“It’s been great to have a committee on our campus this week who have been engaging and delightful to work with. You've done your job, you've been professional. It's often said throughout the community college system that your SACS experience depends a lot on the committee you get. This is the finest committee I've ever worked with. The whole purpose of the SACS visit is having fresh eyes come in and saying, ‘Have you thought about doing this?’ This is an opportunity for us to grow."