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TROY prepares for SACS

Troy University has begun preparation for its 10-year accreditation to take place this spring.

“It’s a way we provide quality assurance for the degrees we offer,” said John Dew, associate vice chancellor for institutional research and planning effectiveness. “It’s an approval from our peer institutions that validates the way we manage the institution. It gives us approval to manage financial aid, and for the students, it ensures the quality of their degree.”

Dew said the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation takes a lot of preparation, but it is an important tool for the university.

Right now, Dew said a team is busy preparing a report to describe how the university is managed, and in April, SACS will visit the campus to make final approval.

The university’s focus for SACS this year, includes a description of the school’s Quality Enhancement Plan, where they will work to implement more reading into the curriculum.

“The one Troy University is working on, deals with creating a culture of reading,” Dew said.

A reading program for first-year students, which was started two years ago, falls under the QEP, but Dew said the university is working to expand even beyond that.

“We are looking to expand out that program to our first-year students around the world,” Dew said. “We are looking for other opportunities to increase reading assignments in all our classes, and we hope to include as part of the QEP service learning.”

Examples of service learning include reading to elementary school students or spreading the importance of reading to local middle and high school students, Dew said.

Dew said creditors will examine all areas of Troy University before the school receives accreditation.

“There is no aspect of the operation of the university they won’t request at least some basic information,” Dew said.

Faculty qualifications, academic resources, student services, finances, strategic planning, admissions and buildings are some of the areas he said SACS will review.

Come April, Dew said the university will receive around five to 10 recommendations for improvements, but final approval will not be voted on officially until September 2009.

Apart from the accreditation, Dew said the university is working on a level change with SACS to provide a doctorate in nursing program at Troy.

“We’ve received approval from the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, but they will come and review the program in January 2010,” Dew said.

The nursing program is set to begin before SACS final approval.

“Moving to the doctorate level is a milestone for any university,” Dew said.