Union College’s accreditation reaffirmed

Union_Gateway_SignThe Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges announced this week that Union College has earned its 10-year accreditation reaffirmation. The reaffirmation is a strong vote of confidence by one of the nation’s leading accrediting bodies in the quality of education Union provides.

The reaffirmation was announced to the Union College campus yesterday by President Marcia Hawkins and Dr. David Johns, Vice-President for Academic Affairs. The pair attended the SACSCOC annual conference this week in Houston, where they learned of the accreditation reaffirmation from the SACSCOC Board of Trustees.

“This is a noteworthy accomplishment and the result of the hard work and dedication of our entire campus community,” President Hawkins said. “The impact of Union on the lives of students and the future of our region is significant and the SACSCOC reaffirmation is one of several indicators that other institutions find value in our work.”

Federal regulations require all institutions of higher education to meet accreditation standards and to undergo a thorough review every 10 years. Union was last reaffirmed by SACSCOC in 2005. Dr. Johns says SACSCOC operates as an independent accrediting body comprised of members from peer institutions, which creates a high level of scrutiny and expectation during the reaffirmation process. Union did an exceptional job meeting the expectations the organization set forth, he said.

“The board’s decision to reaffirm Union comes after a lengthy and very thorough evaluation of the entire college and it expresses confidence in the direction we are moving,” Dr. Johns said.

Both President Hawkins and Dr. Johns congratulated the Union College family for the accomplishment and thanked them for their work. Dr. Johns said the reaffirmation process came after two years of internal review, policy updates and meeting benchmarks for student achievements.

“The good news we are celebrating follows a number of other affirmations of our work,” he said. “In the past few months, Union has received a $1.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen academic support for students and over $400,000 in Title III funding to assist with innovation in educational delivery. In addition, this semester our Education Studies Unit received both state and national accreditation, an important achievement for the college and a great benefit to our students.”

President Hawkins said Union excelled in the reaffirmation process and the institution is dedicated to a “continuous assessment of programming to maintain high quality and to ensure the educational needs of students are met.”

“As an institution we are focused on student success and moving in a direction that will have great impact our students for years to come,” she said.

“The SACSCOC decision affirms Union’s efforts and allows the institution to focus attention on several crucial areas: increasing access to quality education, encouraging student learning and success, preparing students for meaningful work and a fulfilling life, and building a community that impacts the future,” Dr. Johns said. “In the months ahead, we will use what we have learned throughout this process to strengthen what we do and to fulfill our mission more effectively.”

SACSCOC is the largest of the nation’s regional accreditors and works to ensure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of 800 colleges and universities across eleven states. The organization is headquartered in Atlanta. Official notification of Union’s reaffirmation will be posted on December 15 on the SACSCOC website, www.sacscoc.org.