St. Petersburg College President Bill Law was notified this week by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges’ regional Vice President that the college has successfully completed the Fifth Year Interim Report.
The college’s accreditation is in effect through 2018. However, SACS-COC now requires an extensive review at the midpoint to ensure that colleges remain committed to their standards of excellence throughout the 10-year accreditation cycle.
SPC successfully fulfilled all the accrediting organization’s expectations in the report. No further action is required.
“The decision from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges was not a surprise, but it was definitely well-received,” Dr. Law said. “Everyone at St. Petersburg College knows how important the focus on quality in instruction and in services is to the success of our students.”
Dr. Cynthia Grey, Veterinary Technology faculty member and faculty chair for the Fifth Year Interim Report, and six others from the college got the good news at the SACS-COC annual meeting in Atlanta this week.
“We received the words we were waiting to hear . . . No further action required,” Grey said. “Those words – No further action required – are, in essence, the seal of approval. I am certainly pleased with SACS’ response to our report. I’m also excited about the changes that have come about as a result of SPC’s continual commitment to improvement and the accreditation process.
“This commitment from leadership, faculty, and administration was evident throughout SPC,” she said.
The report, submitted in September, consisted of five parts, including an abridged compliance certification of 17 standards.
The SACS-COC Working Group and Core Writing Team, led by QEP Director/SACS-COC Accreditation Liaison, Dr. Janice Thiel, and Dr. Grey have worked together over the past several years to study the standards, document compliance, and advocate for improved college-wide practices that foster success for SPC students.
“The accreditation process is rigorous, and the team that pulled together the extensive accreditation self-study deserves our special thanks,” Dr. Law said. “We are proud that our students and community can continue to feel secure that the educational experience at the college has been judged to be first-rate. When excellence such as ours is recognized, we all feel good.”
The Impact Report of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on critical thinking was Part V of the Fifth-Year Interim Report.
Dr. Thiel, who headed the QEP initiative, commented on SPC’s project. “Faculty were key to our successful QEP Impact Report. The report showed that our QEP wasn’t just a five-year project. We were able to demonstrate sustained support for the critical thinking initiative through events like Saturday’s ‘Making Thinking Visible’, hosted by the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus and our Center of Excellence for Teaching and Learning (CETL).”
Dr. Tom Furlong, Policy Consultant for SPC, congratulated the SACS-COC Working Group for its great work and acknowledged the positive result.
“Reviewing and responding to accreditation standards is a long and difficult process,” he said. “This is a well-deserved outcome earned by the entire college. The leadership and support of the president was a must to achieve these results. His encouragement was critical to the process.”
Look for more activity of the SACS-COC Working Group in the coming year. Though we are celebrating the success of the Fifth-Year Interim Report, as part of our continuous improvement cycle, we will be transitioning our momentum toward completion of SPC’s full accreditation compliance document due in 2018.
The narratives and associated artifacts that were prepared for submission to SACS-COC can be viewed at www.spcollege.edu/sacs_coc.