Troy takes steps for SACS

Published 7:57 pm Tuesday, September 1, 2009

After campus visits from an accreditation team, Troy University has been charged with several steps for improvement.

And, by the end of the month, the institution will have to present another report showing the response it has taken since the on-site visits.

Troy University has been working since last year to meet approval once again from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) for its university accreditation.

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It will be December before the school officially receives word on meeting approval, a process that is vital to a public institution being able to provide financial aid to its students. But in the meantime, Troy University officials said they are hard at work responding to four key issues — assessment of research, need for more faculty, compliance with global campuses and cutting down work on its Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

“We’ve been doing a lot over the last several months to hopefully meet our expectations,” said John Dew, vice president of Research, Planning and Effectiveness. “We think they’ll be pleased.”

The first area on-site visitors, who traveled to campuses across the globe and ended their visit with a 3-day stay at the Troy campus, had a problem with was assessment of programs dealing with research and community service, Dew said.

“We do a lot, and they noted we do a lot, but they raised the expectations just before our review,” Dew said.

Another key area for the university was a need for more full-time faculty.

With vacancies and new positions, Troy University is in the process of filling about 70 positions, that span across different departments.

Dew said concern initially arose with the school having more part-time faculty than full-time.

“Initially they had concerns we didn’t have enough to do advising for all students,” Dew said. “But Troy University, in several national surveys, is significantly better than many of our peer institutions. The data is pretty clear on what we’re doing.”

Since the initial review, Dew said the school has steadily increased its employment, with about 20 more employed than this time last year.

“We’re going to be able to show them a very healthy trend line,” Dew said. “We have more (employees) this year than last year and 524 full-time at Troy University.”

One of the biggest areas the university is working to correct is in compliance reports with the school’s global campus.

“Reports did not get submitted in a timely manner,” Dew said. “We’re in the process of getting all those submitted.”

Dew said this is the area the school has been working on the longest, with teams in place to review compliance issues since January.

The final of Troy’s steps is what Dew said would be the easiest to accomplish.

Troy’s QEP, which is an initiative to promote reading in the classroom, has to be simplified.

“We are required to prepare and submit a QEP. Ours is creating a culture of reading,” Dew said. “They liked the plan. They just felt like we were trying to do too much.”

The new plan will focus on the common reading initiative, in which all freshmen are required to read a book and each college is going to have a book, as well.

Dew said even though the university received these recommendations, its not necessarily negative.

“It is normal for institutions to receive a set of recommendations,” Dew said. “It’s the recommendations that make us a stronger institutions.”

Dew said he is confident Troy will be reaccredited.

“When you look at so many of the outcomes here, we will certainly get reaffirmed,” Dew said.