Excitement was in the air as members of the visiting team for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), applauded the work of the Florida A&M University (FAMU) campus in its efforts to reaffirm its accreditation.
“In terms of the report, you should be very, very proud,” said Carol Z. Garrison, Ph.D., chair of the visiting team and president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “You knew what this process was all about — creating a stronger and better university.”
“I am very proud of your QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan),” she went on to say. “Overall the plan was well thought out and developed. I could feel all of the excitement around campus about it, even from the students. The biggest challenge will be channeling all of this excitement and making sure you remain focused.”
While the visiting team had two recommendations — one regarding the standards and one regarding QEP — the decision regarding whether FAMU’s accreditation will be reaffirmed will be made at the Commission’s December meeting in Atlanta, Ga., noted Joseph H. Silver, Sr., Ph.D., vice president of SACS-COC. Silver also pointed out that one out of a possible 77 compliance standards was not bad.
“I am proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said FAMU President James H. Ammons. “To be here with two recommendations is truly phenomenal.”
The recommendations were related to Comprehensive Standard 3.7.1 and the QEP. Standard 3.7.1 deals with the “employment of competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution.”
The visiting committee found a relatively small number of faculty not in compliance with Standard 3.7.1.
“You will have from now until December to address this,” Garrison said. “It may be a case of providing more information or evaluating the teaching assignments of a few individuals. I’m sure you will have your arms around it soon.”
Regarding the QEP, J. Patrick O’Brien, Ph.D., president of West Texas A&M University, said that the university needed to develop an annual program of assessment to measure the outcomes. O’Brien said this would provide the university with a mechanism to determine if changes need to be made and the overall impact of the QEP. He noted that the findings of the assessment should be communicated with the campus.
The QEP grew out of a broad-based institutional process that identified key issues emerging from the campus assessment of the institution. FAMU’s five-year QEP is titled “Enhancing Performance in Critical Thinking.”
“We were able to work as a team and complete this process,” said Ammons. “We are here with only two recommendations because of a lot of sleepless nights and the dedication of faculty and staff. I am proud of this campus.”