The Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the recognized regional accrediting body in eleven southern U.S. states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America. It offers accreditation to institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's, and/or doctoral degrees.
To maintain accreditation with the COC, an institution must comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement and with the policies and procedures of the COC. The COC applies the requirements of its Principles to all applicant, candidate, and member institutions, regardless of type of institution (public, private for-profit, private not-for-profit). These documents provide consistent guidelines for peer review, representing the collective judgment of the membership on standards appropriate for the assurance of quality in higher education.
SACS reaffirmed the accreditation of Tyler Junior College in June 2011.
Reaffirmation plays a significant role in fostering public confidence in the educational enterprise, in maintaining standards, in enhancing institutional effectiveness, and in improving higher education. It also provides the basis on which colleges and universities can be assured that accredited institutions have complied with a common set of requirements and standards.
The following are the nine steps to reaffirmation described by SACS on pages 12-14 of the Handbook for Institutions Seeking Reaffirmation. They involve interactions between the institution seeking reaffirmation, an Off-Site Review Committee composed of members chosen from the faculty and staff of similar institutions, an additional On-Site Review Committee composed of different members from similar institutions, and the permanent staff of the COC.
Commission staff conduct an Orientation Meeting for the institution’s Leadership Team.
The institution’s assigned Commission staff member conducts an optional advisory visit or an advisory conference call to the institution as a follow up to the Orientation Meeting after the institution has organized for its preparation of the Compliance Certification and the Quality Enhancement Plan.
The institution prepares and submits its Compliance Certification, relevant supporting documentation, and an updated “Institutional Summary Form Prepared for Commission Reviews” to the Commission on Colleges and to the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee.
The Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee reviews the institution’s Compliance Certification and meets to finalize the report of its findings.
Commission staff transmit the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee report to the institution and invite the Leadership Team to schedule a conference call with them to discuss the findings of the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee.
The Commission sends the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee a copy of the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee’s report. The institution submits its updated Institutional Summary Form Prepared for Commission Reviews, Compliance Certification (narratives only), catalog(s), written response to Third Party comment (if applicable), Quality Enhancement Plan, and Focused Report (if one is prepared) to the Commission and to the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee members.
The On-Site Reaffirmation Committee visits the institution, including a selection of off-campus sites, if applicable, to evaluate and determine the acceptability of the QEP, to review areas of non-compliance noted by the Off-Site Reaffirmation Committee, to review standards and requirements related to the criteria may surface during the visit. The On-Site Reaffirmation Committee completes the Report of the Reaffirmation Committee, which is submitted to the Commission. The institution’s Commission staff member transmits the Committee’s final report to the institution.
The institution prepares a response to the recommendations in the Report of the Reaffirmation Committee and submits it to the Commission along with a copy of the QEP. The Commission staff member sends a copy of the response to the Chair of the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee for evaluation.
After review of the three primary reaffirmation documents -- Report of the Reaffirmation Committee, the QEP, and the institution’s response – and two analyses of the institution’s response, one by Chair of the On-Site Reaffirmation Committee and one by the institution’s Commission staff member, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees takes action on the institution’s reaffirmation.