Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The on-site visit

You can tell by the hustle and bustle on campus, the somewhat frenzied administrators and faculty, the feel of energy around the campus. Yes, it is that time again: Institutional re-accreditation and the on-site visit. I mentioned QEP and we all know the larger auspice of re-accreditation comes with the QEP endeavor. This is my first time as a core part of the re-accreditation and QEP process at an institution and I would like to report a few thoughts from the perspective of this junior faculty member:
1) Involvement in re-accreditation is a GREAT way to learn about your institution! I feel so much more knowledgeable and aware of the institution after serving on these committees and being a part of this process.
2) Not only do you learn a lot about your institution, but you also learn about your fellow faculty members, administrators, and students. You can see buy-in to the institution, commitments, and work ethics at this pivotal point.
3) There is a lot of stressful work that must be accomplished before, during and after an on-site visit but the process itself is beneficial for the institution and its members. You can see the inner-workings, the processes, and the overall flow of work.
4) It is incredibly interesting to watch the communication from the students up to the faculty and administrators and from the administrators to faculty then to students. I am curious each day to see how the communication unfolds institutionally as the pressure of the re-accreditation process is felt by institutional members (there's the organizational communication scholar coming out again).
5) There are powerful opportunities which emerge in this process which allow us to identify areas for positive change and growth within the institution.
6) Every faculty member should be a part of this process at some EARLY point in their career. It is endlessly informative.

As we welcome our on-site review team to the Big Easy, I find myself reflecting on the years of committee work and efforts that have either directly or indirectly tie in to what I hope is a successful re-accreditation process.

To read more about SACSCOC accreditation click here. To follow our institution's process, click here.

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