The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees has reaffirmed the accreditation of Tyler Junior College until 2031.
The decision was made during the Commission’s June meeting, and TJC received its official notification letter earlier this month. The SACSCOC board offered no recommendations or issues, essentially giving TJC a clean bill of health for the next 10 years.
The reaffirmation enables TJC to continue awarding credit, granting degrees and accessing state and federal financial aid for students. Accreditation also ensures quality control, assessment of outcomes, and a focus on continuous improvement; and retaining accreditation requires careful attention to fulfilling the institution’s mission and meeting published standards.
Reaffirmation of accreditation is a highly thorough, multi-year endeavor that occurs every 10 years and includes numerous reviews by educational professionals who are experts in their respective areas.
The process requires a deep dive into all aspects of the institution — from faculty and staff credentials and financial statements to student activities and campus facilities — to show that TJC meets all of the broad and multi-faceted SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation.
Once the information for the reaffirmation document is gathered, it is sent to SACSCOC for off-site review.
The final step includes a site visit by a team of faculty, staff and administrators from peer institutions, who have received special training regarding the accreditation principles.
Due to COVID travel restrictions, the site visit which typically would have been conducted in person was held virtually over several days, with SACS committee members meeting with multiple TJC stakeholders via video conferencing.
Site visit committee members also commended TJC on how well the institution handled the virtual visit, which required additional logistical planning and use of technology.
Peggy Wagstaff Smith, first vice president of the TJC Board of Trustees, said, “We appreciate the time and dedication of the visiting committee, and we are especially grateful for their expectations of having TJC held to the highest standards of teaching excellence, stellar service, innovative programming and authentic partnerships, which have been embraced by the College as strategic priorities.”
TJC President and CEO Dr. Juan E. Mejia said, “We believe and support wholeheartedly the accreditation process and commit to doing all possible to remain in good standing with SACSCOC. We have a long list of amazing leaders to thank, including our Board of Trustees, TJC Foundation, Faculty Senate, Student Senate, and every single staff member and administrator of the TJC family.”
He added, “We love our East Texas communities and consider it a privilege to serve our students, and it makes it more enjoyable when a College has an Executive Cabinet that is committed to the vision and mission of our institution.”
Mejia concluded, “The reaffirmation of accreditation is a major milestone for any institution of higher learning, and this is another celebratory opportunity for TJC and all of East Texas.”