What is SACS? SACS is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Through its Commission on Colleges it functions as the regional accrediting agency for colleges and universities in the southeastern United States and some overseas institutions.
What is Brescia’s accreditation status with SACS? Brescia remains fully accredited by SACS. As a result of its most recent decennial review, Brescia received a warning in December 2009 that it was not in full compliance with some of the requirements and standards. The warning lasts for one year and may be renewed.
How does a warning affect our students? Brescia University remains a fully accredited institution by SACS; the warning does not affect our students in any way. Our students will continue to receive the outstanding education that is part of Brescia’s mission and heritage.
Why was Brescia given a warning? One area of concern is institutional effectiveness, which relates to the University’s procedures for measuring the outcomes of its programs.
One other area of concern is Brescia’s recent financial downturn which was primarily due to decreasing enrollment in the years 2003 to 2007 and aggravated by the recession. Plans have been in place for some time to address these issues. The reviewers noted the positive developments that have occurred as a result of these plans, but SACS is interested that we demonstrate compliance over a course of time, which is why the warning is for twelve months.
What is Brescia doing in response to the warning? The warning was anticipated. Since assuming office in 2007, President Hostetter, in collaboration with the faculty and staff of Brescia University, initiated several aggressive plans to deal with the challenges facing the institution. These include a financial stabilization plan, enrollment management plan, retention plan, institutional effectiveness plan and institutional advancement plan. These multi-year plans are already bearing fruit.
Some of the successes include:
- since 2007, an increase in full time equivalent enrollment of 22%.
- the largest freshman class in 20 years in fall of 2009, which represents an 11% increase over the previous year. This helped increase our total undergraduate student population by 21%.
- graduate population growth of 32% since 2007, because of our new graduate programs.
- an increased donor base with increases in giving in all categories.
These successes are due in part to:
- the inauguration of the STARS program for non-traditional students.
- three new online degree completion programs in social work, psychology, and theology.
- increased emphasis on student-centered support and programs, which has led to increased student engagement and retention.
While we are very thankful for these successes, we recognize that we must continue to work tirelessly to advance the University and demonstrate our viability and strength. Needless to say, we would be doing this with or without a SACS warning.
For more information, go to the website: www.sacscoc.org.