As part of Edison State College’s reaccreditation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges is accepting public input.
Visit sacscoc.org and click on the “Third Party Comments” tab to download a comment form. The deadline is Aug. 30.
Officials at Edison State College expect to be reaccredited next year, but with an asterisk.
During Thursday’s fall convocation, Vice President for Academic Affairs Steve Atkins said Edison likely will face ongoing scrutiny after issues came to light this year. Among those were a discovery 180 students graduated without completing their required coursework and a complaint about discriminatory hiring practices.
“We’ll probably have a couple of monitoring reports,” Atkins said. “In some areas, we’re going to have to demonstrate for a couple of years that we are, in fact, doing everything we can do to ensure we have quality programs.”
Edison’s accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges, will vote next June on reaccrediting Edison for 10 years. The commission’s board of trustees can grant approval with provisions, or if violations are serious breaches of academic integrity, the board can place a college on probation, issue a warning or pull accreditation.
Pamela Cravey, the commission’s communications coordinator, said the agency will not make a comment about Edison’s accreditation status until trustees vote next June.
SACS is one of six regional accrediting agencies that monitor colleges and universities, which seek independent approval to prove their academic programs meet national standards. John Gardner, a consultant who is helping improve the first-year experience of Edison students, believes Edison should brace for a rigorous review when SACS’ accreditation team visits in November.
“Of the six, it is the toughest,” Gardner said. “It has denied or revoked accreditation to more institutions than the other five put together.’’
Edison State hired a law firm to conduct an independent review of its hiring practices after a top-ranked nursing dean candidate, who is black, was not immediately offered the position. The college’s trustees on Aug. 5 approved an $85,000 settlement.
The college also hired a consultant to scrutinize course substitution policies and dynamics in the registrar’s office.
Earlier this year, faculty took a vote of no confidence in District President Kenneth Walker, and professors have met to outline concerns about administration. Walker said those issues will be addressed.
From a student’s perspective, 19-year-old William Van Helden said he couldn’t be happier with the education he’s receiving at Edison.
“The programs are solid here, and they’re working to correct what they did wrong,” Van Helden said.
Addressing and overcoming Edison’s challenges, Walker said, will make the college a better place, and he looks forward to rebuilding Edison’s reputation as the school celebrates its 50th anniversary next year.
“Edison State College’s light will shine brightly once again,” Walker