By Dr. Boyd Rist, Provost and VP Academic Affairs
The entire Liberty University community received an early Christmas present this week when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) accepted the university’s monitoring report addressing ongoing concerns with respect to the accreditation standard involving the identification of college-level competencies and the extent to which graduates have attained them (c.s. 3.5.1). This report resolved the final monitoring issue associated with the university’s 2006 reaffirmation of accreditation.
Beginning in March 2008, a leadership team of faculty and administrators charted a course to accelerate the assessment and evaluation of seven university core competencies (written communication; oral communication; technology/information literacy; quantitative reasoning; scientific reasoning; critical thinking; biblical worldview). The work of administering these assessments involved dozens of faculty and staff members along with the participation of approximately 1,500 members of the student body. Over the summer, a small group analyzed the results of the data collected, prepared the report, and submitted it to SACS-COC in August. Members of that writing and editing team were: Dr. Barbara Boothe, Dr. Emily Heady, Dr. Ron Hawkins, Dr. Fred Milacci, Dr. Boyd Rist, and Dr. Garth Runion.
Provost Boyd C. Rist met with Dr. Joseph Silver, the SACS staff member assigned to Liberty, at the commission meeting in San Antonio earlier this week. Dr. Silver informed him that the university’s report was both thorough and excellent. He was pleased to present it to the commission. That body approved the report in executive session on Monday, December 8. In communicating the commission’s decision to the chancellor, Dr. Rist stated that this action ranks among the most important accomplishments for the university academically in 2008.
LU’s accreditation is affirmed through 2016. SACS-COC is the accrediting agency for the 11-state southern region of the United States. It operates on the principle of self regulation accomplished through a voluntary association of educational institutions.
Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. said, “I was ecstatic when Dr. Rist called me from San Antonio Monday night with this wonderful news. We are so proud of the faculty, staff and students who worked tirelessly over the last year to attain this result.”