SACSCOC site visit begins assessing USF’s accreditation compliance

To solidify USF’s consolidation, SACSCOC is conducting a virtual site visit this week at all campuses to ensure that the university is following its Principles of Accreditation. ORACLE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

Six months into consolidation, the site visit from USF’s accrediting body will take place during a week filled with meetings, interviews and discussions regarding its consolidation status. 

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is conducting a virtual site visitation through Microsoft Teams across all three campuses from Jan. 26-28 to assess USF’s compliance with SACSCOC’s Principles of Accreditation. The university consolidated its campuses into one university July 1, and to officialize its status, it needs to meet certain standards adopted by SACSCOC.

Prior to the site visitation, the university submitted documentation Dec. 11 for the Substantive Change Committee outlining USF’s compliance with SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation, including the employment of “an adequate number of full-time faculty,” measuring student achievement, the completion of a general education component at the undergraduate level and others.

The document, containing a self-study detailing USF’s compliance with each principle, will then be used by the committee during the site visit for questioning.

The site visit team consists of eight members from different accredited institutions across the country as well as SACSCOC Vice President Denise Young. The SACSCOC Substantive Change Committee will then evaluate USF’s performance and whether the university has been in compliance with all of its policies regarding consolidation.

The SACSCOC virtual site visit began Tuesday with an agenda fully booked with meetings. The committee met with President Steven Currall’s executive leadership to discuss USF’s organizational structure and interviewed university administrators, faculty senators, Student Government leaders and trustees to discuss USF’s compliance with the standards of accreditation.

Students, faculty and staff from the Tampa and Sarasota-Manatee campuses also were interviewed Tuesday. The committee will meet with leaders from the St. Pete campus Wednesday.

At the end of each day, the committee will host an executive session to reflect on the interviews as well as write observations about the discussions.

The second day of visitation will feature interviews with additional members of the USF community as well as SACSCOC Committee Chair Ann Kenimer’s brief with Currall and Young.

The visitation will then end Thursday with a final brief with Currall and an exit conference summarizing the preliminary findings that will later be submitted to the Committee on Compliance and Reports (C&R). The committee will provide an oral overview of its observations during the conference, which is expected to last 15-30 minutes.

The C&R Committee report will then be submitted for review to the Executive Council, which will then recommend actions to the full SACSCOC Board of Trustees (BOT) to make a final decision regarding USF’s accreditation. The final decision of USF’s singular accreditation status will be announced during a SACSCOC BOT meeting either June 21 or Dec. 21.