Limestone's Accreditation Reaffirmed For Another 10 Years

Charles Wyatt
Limestone's Accreditation Reaffirmed For Another 10 Years

Limestone College officials have announced that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the governing body that helps to uphold the educational quality of degree-granting institutions throughout the South, has reaffirmed Limestone’s accreditation for an additional 10 years.

The announcement comes at the completion of a regularly scheduled, detail-intensive study that takes place once every ten years and covers all of the College’s academic and administrative programs. The SACSCOC accreditation standards review institutional integrity, effective governance, financial sustainability, and appropriate student support services.

“This is wonderful news for Limestone because maintaining accreditation is extraordinarily important,” said the College’s President Dr. Darrell Parker. “This serves as testament to Limestone’s commitment to excellence and the collaborative spirit of our faculty and staff. This decade-long reaffirmation validates that students at Limestone are experiencing high-quality academic programs. These results clearly show that Limestone continues to move in the right direction.

“In addition, this is also a significant accomplishment for our faculty and staff who worked tirelessly to ensure this outcome,” he continued. “At the same time, on a daily basis, they continued to work with our students to provide a foundation of excellence that secured this decennial reaffirmation. We appreciate their dedication to this institution.”

The SACSCOC multi-year process begin two years ago with a thorough internal review, followed by an external team review of the College’s report, an on-campus visit by a group of evaluators from other SACSCOC institutions, and was completed by a final review by the organization’s executive committee.

SACSCOC has more than 90 standards in its Principles of Accreditation with which institutions must comply in order to gain or maintain accreditation. Limestone officials submitted a compliance certification report following an extensive self-study of all aspects of the College. Representatives from the accrediting body visited Limestone earlier this year. The College then submitted a response to the site visit. A SACSCOC board reviewed the response and voted for reaffirmation with zero recommendations.

“We are fortunate to have considerable faculty and staff expertise in accreditation matters, including our Dean of Accreditation, Dr. Shelly Meyers,” Parker noted. “That was critical as we addressed all of the accreditation standards and requirements. We will continue to work with the SACSCOC to ensure that we remain academically and financially strong as we fulfill our mission to educate students from diverse backgrounds in the liberal arts and selected professional disciplines.”

SACSCOC accreditation also determines an institution’s eligibility to receive federal funding for student financial aid.

The accreditation assessment also required the College to submit a quality enhancement plan (QEP) that makes a positive impact on student learning. Limestone presented its newly developed QEP entitled “Saints GPS” (Growth, Professionalism, and Strategy), which was formed with input from a variety of faculty, staff, students, and administrators. It was co-directed by faculty members Megan Anderson and Dr. Brian Holcomb.

“The SACSCOC reaffirmation process requires the entire campus community to join efforts and tell our story,” Meyers said. “It not only provides a structure for doing business and serving our students well, but it also ensures our students and alumni that their degree is valid and their coursework is appropriately recognized by other institutions.

“Efforts by the Limestone community to be successful in our reaffirmation pursuit are to be commended,” she added. “We want to extend a special thanks to Joyce Phillips, Administrative Assistant for Academic Affairs, for her long hours and hard work to make sure reports were technically accessible and the logistics of the visit went smoothly. We could not have had such success without her and the team she assembled.”

Limestone has been continuously accredited by SACSCOC since 1928 and was last reaffirmed for a 10-year period in 2009. This latest reaffirmation will carry Limestone through its 100th year of SACSCOC accreditation.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, as well as Latin America and other international sites approved by the Commission on Colleges, that award associate, baccalaureate, master's, or doctoral degrees.