Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about SACS 2009 Reaffirmation

To view the FAQs about a particular SACS 2009 Reaffirmation process, click the corresponding FAQ link below.


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University Survey FAQs

  1. What is the purpose of the University Survey?
  2. Who designed the University Survey?
  3. Who should participate in the University Survey?
  4. How can I participate in the University Survey?
  5. What are my credentials?
  6. How long will the University Survey available online?
  7. If I don't have a computer or Internet connection, how do I take the University Survey?
  8. How can I see the results?
  9. Can my answers be used to identify me personally?
  10. How many times can I take the University Survey?
  11. What do I do if I have problems accessing the University Survey or if my credentials don't work?

 


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1. What is the purpose of the University Survey?
These surveys are being instituted as part of the process leading up to the reaffirmation of the University of Louisiana at Monroe academically by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).  They will provide some of the data that we need to “close the loop” on our assessment process.  Determining how the various groups of people closely connected to the university perceive our current state provides a portion of the information that will establish the extent to which university goals are being attained.  The assessment loop helps us become a better institution and is “closed” when the results of the assessment are used to adjust the processes, policies, and procedures designed to achieve our goals.




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2. Who designed the University Survey?
ULM was given permission by Mississippi State University to adapt and use the surveys taken by their faculty, staff, students, and alumni. The survey items were reviewed and customized for ULM by Sociology Professor Harry Hale and Education Professor Walter Creekmore.  Separate surveys were developed for faculty, staff, students, and alumni so that their unique perspectives are retained.  Lindsey Wilkerson from University Relations and Brian Taylor from the University Computing Center worked with Professor Hale to create the online system used to administer the surveys.




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3. Who should participate in the survey?
All ULM faculty, staff, students, and alumni should complete the appropriate survey. Each group has a different set of questions pertaining to the constituency group one belongs to.




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4. How can I participate in the University Survey?
The time period to participate in the University Survey is past. Results will be posted soon.




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5. What are my credentials?
Your credentials are a login ID and a password, sometimes known as a Personal Identification Number, or PIN. You must use these credentials to login and take the University Survey.

ULM Students, faculty and staff credentials consist of their Campus-Wide ID or CWID, and the password associated with their CWID. These are the same credentials used to access ULM's ARROW, Flightpath, E-mail and other secure online campus systems.





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6. How long will the survey be available online?
The surveys will be available until Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 3:30 p.m.



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7. If I don't have a computer or Internet connection, how do I take the University Survey?
All ULM students have access to computers on campus, as do faculty. And most staff members have access to computers at their office or desk. Those ULM employees who do not have computers readily available can use a computer in the ULM Library.

Alumni who don't have a computer or Internet connection can usually use a computer at a public library or maybe use the computer of a friend or relative. However, you must have a valid set of credentials to participate in the University Survey.

The University Survey is only available online.




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8. How can I see the results?
Summary results for each survey will be available shortly after the survey ends. The survey results will be posted on this Web site, and are available to anyone with Internet access.




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9. Can my answers be used to identify me personally?
No. All survey responses are anonymous. Each student, faculty, staff and alumni have a set of "credentials" that identify them as a member of any four ULM constituency groups; student, faculty, staff or alumni.

Students, faculty and staff credentials are their Campus-Wide ID (CWID) and password to login to take the survey, however, survey responses are not associated with the CWID/PIN.

Likewise, alumni credentials consist of a randomly generated login ID and a password not associated with their identity, so there is also no chance of an alumni's response being associated with them.




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10. How many times can I take the survey?
Depending on your constituency status, you may be eligible to take more than one survey, however, you can only take a particular survey once.

For example, you may be a ULM alumnus and have returned to ULM to earn a post-graduate degree. You would be eligible to take the alumni survey and the student survey. Bear in mind the student survey requires the CWID login credentials and the alumni survey requires a different set of credentials.

Likewise, you may be a ULM staffer who is also a student. You would be eligible to take the staff survey and the student survey. In this case, you would use your CWID credentials to take both surveys, although you would have to login in to each survey separately.

Regardless of which survey(s) you take, once you click the "Submit" button at the end of a survey, your responses are tallied. If you try to login again to a survey you've already taken using your credentials, you will get a message indicating that those credentials have already been used and are no longer valid for that particular survey.




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11. What do I do if I have problems accessing the survey or if my credentials don't work?
If you are a ULM student, faculty or staff, please visit the University Computing Center (UCC) in ADMN 1-83 or call x3333.

If you are an alumni, please make sure you have credentials (see FAQ #5). If you have your credentials call (318) 342-3333 or send an e-mail to helpdesk@ulm.edu. The university is open Monday - Thursdays 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Please bear in mind if you call after normal business hours, you may have to leave a voice message relaying your issue. The university will try to respond to your voice message or e-mail as soon as possible during normal business hours.


 

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QEP (Quality Enhancement Plan) FAQs

  1. What is the QEP?
  2. How will ULM develop its QEP?
  3. Who can submit an idea for the QEP
  4. What kind of ideas are considered acceptable?
  5. Who does a person submit an idea for a QEP?
  6. What is the timeline for submitting ideas for the QEP?
  7. What is the process for selecting the QEP?
  8. Whom should I contact if I have questions about the QEP?

 


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1. What is the QEP?
A core element of the SACS reaffirmation process, the QEP is a future-oriented project that enhances some crucial aspect of student learning at ULM and that involves the efforts of the entire campus community.

The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a document submitted four to six weeks in advance of the on-site review by the Commission, is a document developed by the institution that:

  1. includes a broad-based institutional process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment

  2. focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution

  3. demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP

  4. includes broad based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP, and

  5. identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement.

The QEP should be focused and succinct, with no more than seventy-five (75) pages of narrative text and no more than twenty-five (25) pages of supporting documentation or charts, graphs, and tables.




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2. How will ULM develop its QEP?
College of Arts and Sciences Dean Jeffrey Cass, Chair of the QEP Steering Committee, will be speaking to groups, educating them about the purpose of the QEP and discussing examples of QEPs used by other institutions. In general, six (6) steps need to be taken:

  1. Ideas for projects will be submitted from the entire ULM community: students, faculty, staff, alumni, and administrators.

  2. Several teams will review these ideas and decide which ones are most suitable (i.e., supports student learning, helps accomplish the university’s mission, has attainable goals, and has a manageable budget).

  3. Suitable ideas will be forwarded for further review by the QEP Steering Committee.

  4. Ideas deemed acceptable by the QEP Steering Committee will be forwarded to the SACS Leadership Team.  The Team will reduce the list of ideas to between five and ten.

  5. These ideas will be posted on the QEP Web site and the ULM faculty, staff, students, and alumni will vote to select the idea that will be developed into ULM QEP.

  6. The QEP Steering Committee will develop the selected idea into a draft plan and will work with the SACS Leadership Team to create the final plan.





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3. Who can submit an idea for the QEP?
Anyone can submit an idea for the QEP, unlike the University Survey which is targeted to specific ULM constituency groups.




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4. What kind of ideas are considered acceptable?
While topics vary widely, all topics must explore and enhance student learning. Examples of successful QEP topics include writing across the disciplines, a self-study for the first year of college, undergraduate research, technology infrastructure, cultural diversity, service learning and civic engagement, ethics, collaborative learning, and re-conceptualizing the core curriculum.

Ideas for the QEP should mirror the five (5) steps outlined in FAQ #1. For further reference, you may visit any of the university Web sites listed on the QEP Web page to see how other universities prepared their QEPs.




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5. How does a person submit an idea for a QEP?
Ideas for the QEP can be submitted from the QEP Web page by clicking on the "Click here to submit your idea(s) to ULM via the QEP Topic Submission Form" or just click here to go directly to the form.




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6. What is the timeline for submitting ideas for the QEP?
The selection of the QEP topic will be completed during the Fall 2007 semester.

With the assistance of the QEP Steering Committee, research and drafting of the QEP will take place during the Winter Break and during the Spring 2008 semester. Final edits and revisions will take place during summer 2008, and the final draft of the QEP will be sent to the off-site team of SACS reviewers in late August or early September of 2008.




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7. What is the process for selecting the QEP?
Campus constituencies, such as the colleges, will form ad hoc committees to take, consider, and evaluate suggestions from their constituencies, sending the most promising possibilities to the QEP Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will also take suggestions directly from the QEP website and from the community at large. After due consideration and deliberation, the Steering Committee will send its recommendations to the SACS Leadership Team, which will ultimately choose, with the consent of the President and the Provost, the final QEP topic.




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8. Whom should I contact if I have questions about the QEP?
For any question about the QEP, please contact Dr. Jeffrey Cass at jcass@ulm.edu.


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About the Reaffirmation Process FAQs

  1. What is SACS?
  2. What is accreditation?
  3. What does the accreditation process means for the university?
  4. What has to happen for accreditation?
  5. How does the process work?
  6. Preparation by the Institution
  7. Review by Peers
  8. When will this process occur?
  9. Who is involved in the process?

 


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1. What is SACS?
SACS is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.  It is recognized by the United State Department of Education as the regional body that accredits educational institutions in Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, and Latin America.

The SACS Web site can be found at: www.sacs.org.




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2. What is accreditation?
Accreditation is [a statement] intended to assure constituents and the public of the quality and integrity of higher education institutions and programs, and to help those institutions and programs improve.  These outcomes are achieved through rigorous internal and external review processes during which the institution is evaluated against a common set of standards.

Accreditation is a statement of the institution’s continuing commitment to integrity and its capacity to provide effective programs and services based on agreed-upon accreditation standards.

(SOURCE: www.sacscoc.org/faqs.asp)




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3. What does the accreditation process means for the university?
When accreditation is awarded to an institution of higher education by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, […] it means that the institution has:

  1. a mission appropriate to higher education
  2. resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain its mission
  3. clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers
  4. that it is successful in achieving its stated objectives.
(SOURCE: www.sacscoc.org/faqs.asp)




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4. What has to happen for accreditation?
To gain or maintain accreditation with the Commission on Colleges, 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 Commission on Colleges. The Commission on Colleges 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.)

(SOURCE: www.sacscoc.org/principles.asp)

The process for initial and continued accreditation involves a collective analysis and judgment by the institution’s internal constituencies, an informed review by peers external to the institution, and a reasoned decision by the elected members of the Commission on Colleges. Accredited institutions periodically conduct internal reviews involving their administrative officers, staffs, faculties, students, trustees, and others appropriate to the process.

The internal review allows an institution to consider its effectiveness in achieving its stated mission, its compliance with the Commission’s accreditation requirements, its efforts in enhancing the quality of student learning and the quality of programs and services offered to its constituencies, and its success in accomplishing its mission.

At the culmination of the internal review, peer evaluators representing the Commission apply their professional judgment through a preliminary assessment of the institution; elected Commissioners make the final determination of an institution’s compliance with the accreditation requirements.

(SOURCE: www.sacscoc.org/pdf/2007 Interim Principles complete.pdf)




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5. How does the process work?
The process is specific to an institution seeking reaffirmation of accreditation, and consists of two major processes:

(SOURCE: Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement)




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6. Preparation by the Institution

As part of the reaffirmation process, the institution will provide two separate documents.

Compliance Certification
The Compliance Certification, submitted approximately fifteen months in advance of an institution’s scheduled reaffirmation, is a document completed by the institution that demonstrates its judgment of the extent of its compliance with each of the Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements. Signatures by the institution’s chief executive officer and accreditation liaison are required to certify compliance. By signing the document, the individuals certify that the process of institutional self-assessment has been thorough, honest, and forthright, and that the information contained in the document is truthful, accurate, and complete.

Quality Enhancement Plan
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), submitted four to six weeks in advance of the on-site review by the Commission, is a document developed by the institution that:

  1. includes a broad-based institutional process identifying key issues emerging from institutional assessment

  2. focuses on learning outcomes and/or the environment supporting student learning and accomplishing the mission of the institution

  3. demonstrates institutional capability for the initiation, implementation, and completion of the QEP

  4. includes broad-based involvement of institutional constituencies in the development and proposed implementation of the QEP

  5. identifies goals and a plan to assess their achievement

The QEP should be focused and succinct of no more than seventy-five (75) pages of narrative text and no more than twenty-five (25) pages of supporting documentation or charts, graphs, and tables.




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7. Review by Peers

The Off-Site Peer Review
The Off-Site Peer Review Committee, composed of a chair and normally eight to ten evaluators, meets in Atlanta, Georgia, and reviews Compliance Certifications of a group of institutions to determine whether each institution is in compliance with all Core Requirements (except Core Requirement 2.12), Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Requirements.

The group of institutions evaluated, called a cluster, normally will consist of no more than four institutions similar in governance and degrees offered. At the conclusion of the review, the Off-Site Peer Review Committee will prepare a separate report for each institution, recording and explaining its decisions regarding compliance. The report is forwarded to the respective institution’s On-Site Review Committee which makes its final determination on compliance.



The On-Site Peer Review
Following review by the Off-Site Committee, an On-Site Review Committee of peers will conduct a focused evaluation at the campus to finalize issues of compliance with:

At the conclusion of its visit, the On-Site Review Committee will prepare the Report of the Reaffirmation Committee, a written report of its findings noting areas of non-compliance, including the acceptability of the QEP. The Report of the Reaffirmation Committee, along with the institution’s response to areas of non-compliance, will be forwarded to the Commission for review and action



The Review by the Commission on Colleges
The Committees on Compliance and Reports (C & R), which are standing committees of the Commission, review reports prepared by peer committees and the institutional responses to those reports. The C & R Committee’s recommendation regarding an institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation is forwarded to the Executive Council for review. The Executive Council recommends action to the full Commission which makes the final decision on reaffirmation and any follow-up activities that it requires of an institution. The full Commission convenes twice a year.




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8. When will this process occur?
The table below provides a timeline for major events associated with the reaffirmation process.

ULM Timeline for SACS Reaffirmation
Compliance Certification document due September 10, 2008
Off-Site Review November 3, 2008
QEP due February 2, 2009
On-Site Review March 24 - 26, 2009
Commission on Colleges Review December 5 - 8, 2009





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9. Who is involved in the process?
In one sense, the entire ULM community is involved in reaffirmation since everyone is needed to complete such a vast and important endeavor.  SACS principles also make it clear that broad-based involvement and input is needed for reaffirmation to occur.

That said, the effort leading up to reaffirmation of our accreditation by SACS is being led by four committees who function and membership is listed on our Reaffirmation Teams Web page.