After three-year effort, University receives flawless report

Haley Hays/The News
Haley Hays/The News

Haley Hays/The News

Murray State received a flawless reaccreditation report by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges during its annual meeting the week of Dec. 12, 2014.

The accreditation process was a three-year campus effort, which started in 2011 and resulted in zero recommendations for improvement and no deficiencies.

Accrediting agencies, which are private education associations, like the SACSCOC, create assessment standards and perform peer evaluations to see if those standards are met and maintained. Peers are the other universities in the association accredited by SACSCOC.

Institutions or programs request evaluation, and if they meet the agency’s standards they are accredited by the agency.

“The SACSCOC review process is regarded throughout the country as being among the most rigorous and in-depth,” President Bob Davies said. “Therefore, receiving a deficiency-free report is very uncommon and something we should be very proud to receive.”

SACSCOC is the local body for the accreditation of higher education institutions which grant degrees in the Southern states. The association works to maintain shared morals and practices among varied institutions in states such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Kentucky.

The SACSCOC website said its mission is to guarantee quality education and better the effectiveness of its member institutions. Its core values are integrity, continuous quality improvement, peer review/self-regulation, accountability, student learning and transparency.

Core Requirement, Comprehensive Standards, Federal Requirements and a Quality Enhancement Plan are needed for recertification. A QEP is required of each institution wanting reaffirmation of its accreditation.

McCutchen

McCutchen

The plan should deal with one or more issues which help to improve the institution and involve the larger academic community.

Murray State’s QEP is titled “Bring Learning to Life.” The plan intends to enrich experimental learning by executing learning experiences in which students apply what they learn in the classroom to the real world. Other issues the plan deals with are application, problem-solving, critical/creative thinking and information literacy.

    “I have always tried to take abstract ideas and classroom information and place it in the context of the real world setting,” said Pat McCutchen, lecturer of sociology.

   Murray State was first accredited in 1928 and since then has created a tradition of merit by improving its programs, services and resources, said Jay Morgan, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, who headed the reaccreditation process.

“Such standards require we live up to certain expectations and it sets the bar high for those of us who work in academia,” McCutchen said.

McCutchen said faculty will remain attentive to the goals expected by such rigorous standards through assessment, and Murray State has been achieving those standards without fail according to the SACS review.

Murray State’s faculty and facilities are some of the greatest provided,  Caleb Perkins, junior from Dixon, Tenn., said students have no excuse not to improve, since Murray State is a near-perfect living and learning institution.

“I feel there is always room for improvement; however, Murray State has one incredible standard,” he said.

Davies credited the University’s successful report to his faculty and staff.

  “This would not have occurred if not for the outstanding faculty and staff who on a daily and consistent basis perform at the highest professional levels and have an unparalleled commitment to continually seek innovative ways to improve and grow,” Davies said.

Story by Sara Gantz, Staff writer