TTU earns accreditation reaffirmation from Southern Assoc. of Colleges and Schools

Tennessee Tech University received reaffirmation of its accreditation with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools this week, marking the culmination of several years of planning and hard work on the Cookeville campus.

SACS is the recognized regional accrediting agency of more than 800 institutions in the 11 U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and Latin America for schools that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees.

TTU earned its first SACS accreditation in 1939 (as Tennessee Polytechnic Institute) and has been reaffirmed every 10 years since.

"We can all be proud of this achievement," said TTU President Bob Bell. "Almost everyone on campus played a role in our success in one way or another. The SACS teams that reviewed our materials and visited our campus recognized the enthusiasm and commitment of our campus community. They complimented our culture of cooperation. They noted our quality, and their impressions came through in the final recommendation.

"I want to thank everyone for this success," Bell continued. "It reflects on each of us, but most importantly, it will reflect on those whose lives we impact each day. I appreciate the efforts of everyone who participated in the process and everyone who represents TTU each day."

The most recent TTU re-accreditation process began in 2004 and required extensive research, information gathering and planning to document written compliance reports and a campus-wide quality enhancement plan, or QEP.

Several committees were created on campus to prepare for the reaffirmation process, but the key individuals involved in coordinating the effort were Leo McGee, associate vice president of Academic Affairs and SACS liaison; Glenn James, director of Institutional Research and chair of the compliance and technical assistance efforts; and Barry Stein, director of Planning and leader of the QEP project.

The compliance certification process involved a review by an off-site committee, which then advised an on-site review team to visit and observe the institution to determine how well it complies with the required standards.

When the on-site review team visited the TTU campus in April, members examined data and conducted interviews in order to evaluate the soundness of the university's Quality Enhancement Plan and ascertain whether it was in compliance with accreditation requirements.

"The on-site review team members were so impressed with their experiences, observations and interviews that the team left a full day earlier than planned," said McGee. "The majority of their time was planned to be spent on an in-depth review of the QEP. After a few meetings, however they made it very clear that they were very pleased with what they found."

TTU's QEP, which has been in the works for more than two years, is an integral component of the university's new strategic plan. It also relates directly to the university's vision statement by contributing to the life-long success of its students.

The university's accreditation will now stand effective until 2016, when it will be reviewed again for reaffirmation.

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