A committee representing the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges wrapped up its on-site visit to Vance-Granville Community College on Sept. 26, marking an end to a crucial step in the process by which the college receives reaffirmation of its accreditation. The ten-member On-Site Committee consisted of administrators and faculty members from colleges in Southern states outside of North Carolina, and was chaired by Dr. Carl Hite, the president of Cleveland State Community College in Tennessee. Committee members reported their preliminary findings in person before leaving VGCC. Dr. Stelfanie Williams, the president of VGCC, said that the officials responded favorably to what they had learned about the college during three days of meetings and interviews with faculty, staff and students. The committee will send its formal report to VGCC in the coming months.
“The visit was a great success for VGCC,” President Williams said. “We are going to address one question raised by the on-site review team related to faculty credentialing, and we will be strengthening our Quality Enhancement Plan on academic advising and career planning based on suggestions from the committee. VGCC is in an excellent position as we move forward through this very important reaffirmation process.” President Williams applauded the dedication of all VGCC faculty and staff members who helped successfully host the on-site review committee: “For all of the effort that went into the visit, I thank you. We demonstrated our commitment to student success and continuous improvement, and though we have hard work ahead to support our plan and move the college forward, we all should be proud today to be a part of such an exemplary institution.”
More than two years of preparations by VGCC preceded the SACS committee visit. Every ten years, colleges and universities that, like VGCC, have already been accredited must seek reaffirmation to maintain their status. Continued accreditation indicates that Vance-Granville is recognized as an institution of quality. Students attending accredited institutions commonly find it easier to transfer from one institution to another or to continue their studies upon graduation. Financially, accreditation means that specific types of federal and state financial aid are available to the college and its students. VGCC has already submitted extensive reports and a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) required by the Atlanta-based agency as part of the reaffirmation process. A QEP is a long-term course of action that addresses a topic or issue related to improving student learning and/or students’ learning environment.
After VGCC receives the official report of the On-Site Committee, the college will have until April 2013 to submit a response. The SACS Commission on Colleges is set to make its decision on VGCC’s reaffirmation in June 2013. Then, a fifth-year interim report will be due to SACS in March 2018.