University Receives SACS Reaffirmation
UT Dallas President David E. Daniel Salutes Lasting Role of GEMS Program
Dec. 17, 2008
The Commission on Colleges for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) reaffirmed the accreditation of UT Dallas during the organization’s 113th annual meeting held recently in San Antonio.
The reaffirmation is through 2018 with a five-year review in 2013.
Accreditation signals a college or university’s fundamental soundness in areas of faculty qualifications, curriculum, student services, libraries and financial stability. Eligibility for federal support for scholarship and other programs also depends on accreditation.
During UT Dallas’ SACS reaffirmation of accreditation process, a team of faculty and administrators from other colleges and universities across the country visited the campus in March to interact with students, faculty, staff and administrators. The group evaluated institutional effectiveness and student learning outcomes.
Accreditation is required for universities to have access to federal funds, such as student aid and other federal programs. Federal student aid is only available to students if the institution or program they are attending is accredited by a recognized accrediting organization.
“Many people across campus took part in the preparations for this examination. I’m particularly grateful to our former vice provost, Dr. Robert Nelsen,” said UT Dallas President David E. Daniel. “Dr. Nelsen and the staff of the Provost’s Office were instrumental in bringing us to this successful result.”
The accreditation criteria require that the number of full-time faculty members in an institution is adequate to support its mission and that the institution has sufficient faculty resources to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic programs.
It also requires that the institution employ competent faculty members qualified to accomplish the mission and goals of the institution. The institution must demonstrate that its faculty — tenured and tenure-track faculty, as well as non-tenure track faculty — have the credentials to teach what they are asked to teach.
A key aspect of UT Dallas’ reaffirmation process called for identifying an area within the University that needed improvement to enhance the student learning experience. In response, the University designed Gateways to Excellence in Math and Science, or GEMS, to give students new resources to master crucial math and science education course material.
“The GEMS program was an integral part of our presentation to the SACS representatives and will serve our students well in the years to come,” Daniel said.
Accreditation in the United States is built upon a core set of traditional academic values and beliefs. It is a voluntary and self-regulatory mechanism of the higher education community that plays a significant role in fostering public confidence in the educational enterprise, in maintaining standards, in enhancing institutional effectiveness and in improving higher education.
The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the recognized regional accrediting body for institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degrees in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and in Latin America.
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