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Accreditation

Accreditation Resources

Definition Q&A

What is Accreditation?
A formal process of embedded quality assurance practices that lead to an institutions capacity to acquire certification by an authorizing national certification organization based on a set of standards. The authorizing organization from which HT seeks accreditation is the Southern association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Why does Huston-Tillotson Need Accreditation?
Accreditation ensures the accountability of an institution like HT. It also boosts public trust and confidence in the quality of the institution and its ability to produce high quality graduates and agents of change for societies throughout the world. Universities must be Nationally Accredited in order to receive Federal Funding including Title IV (Financial Aid).

Who is involved in the Accreditation Process?
The President has appointed a SACSCOC Steering Committee that consists of members of the Executive Cabinet: The Provost & Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Finance, Vice President for Business and Finance, Vice President for Operations and Chief Operations Office, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement, the Academic Deans, SACSCOC Liaison, and herself. Each of these individuals have members of their own teams that help inform and perform their assignments.

How does Accreditation Work?
The first level of the accreditation process involves everyone at the University in a self-assessment of their policies, practices, and procedures as they align with national standards. Then there is an external peer review to determine if the self-assessment aligns with national standards of the authorizing organization based the institutions self-assessment. Next, there is a visit to campus by a committee made up of our peer institutions. That team reviews each area where there appears to be information that does not align with national standards to determine if alignment exists or not. At each step, the institution has the opportunity to bring to light any information that they might have to better inform the team. Finally, the Board of Examiners / Trustees of the Authorizing Organization (in this case, SACSCOC) will review all documents, findings and reports including additional information provided by the University to make a final decision. They will make a determination on each standard whether the institution has “Met” or “Not Met” each standard. Depending upon which standards are met or not met, the institution will be either granted accreditation or in the case of HT, which is already accredited, whether we will continue to be accredited or not.

How has Accreditation Changes over the past year?
Accrediting agencies are responsible for developing high levels of standards and best practices that all of its member institutions much achieve in order to achieve optimal success in preparing its student for success and achievement. SACSCOC, in 2018 revised its standards to create a more focused reporting process. There are now 14 very focused, comprehensive standards as opposed to 12 Core Requirements, 14 Comprehensive Standards, and 9 Federal Requirements that constituted about 98 standards prior to 2018.

What are the New SACSCOC accreditation standards?
The 14 new focused and comprehensive standards are listed as following:

  1. The Principle of Integrity
  2. Mission
  3. Basic Eligibility Standard
  4. Governing Board
  5. Administration and Organization
  6. Faculty
  7. Institutional Planning and Effectiveness
  8. Student Achievement
  9. Educational Program Structure and Content
  10. Educational Policies, Procedures, and Practices
  11. Library and Learning/Information Resources
  12. Academic and Student Support Services
  13. Financial and Physical Resources
  14. Transparency and Institutional Representation
  15. Who is our SACSCOC Liaison?

The SACSCOC Liaison for Huston-Tillotson University is:
Dr. Beverly L. Downing, Associate Provost
104 Evans Building
bldowning@htu.edu
(512) 505-3127

Who serves on HT’s SACSCOC Steering Committee?
TBA

What is a QEP? 
The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is a plan to implement and assess a focused set of initiatives designed to improve student learning or enhance student success across the University.

Why is the QEP required and by whom?
The development of a QEP is a required component of the SACSCOC reaffirmation process. A QEP gives the University an opportunity to enhance its overall quality and effectiveness in a focused area that poses an issue that the institution considers important to improving student success or student achievement.

What is the HT QEP for its reaffirmation next year? 
Through a number of engaging activities over the past two years, HT has selected as its QEP a Career Readiness Project. Building on the success of the Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) a grant funded program that is designed to help ensure that HT STEMS students are able to secure gainful employment after graduation, the QEP endeavors to sustain this program campus-wide. The program is entitled Ready to Attain Maximum Student Success (RAM$$). Through this program, our aim to ensure that all of HT’s graduates are equipped with the essential skills to secure and maintain gainful employment.

What is a Substantive Change?
As defined by the SACSCOC, a “substantive change is a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution.” Substantive changes include but are not limited to:

  • Initiating coursework or programs at a different level than currently approved
  • Expanding at current degree level (significant departure from current programs)
  • Initiating a branch campus
  • Initiating certificate programs
  • Altering significantly the educational mission of the institution
  • Initiating joint or dual degrees with another institution
  • Initiating a certificate program at employer’s request and on short notice
  • Initiating off-campus sites
  • Expanding program offerings at previously approved off-campus sites
  • Altering significantly the length of a program
  • Changing from clock hours to credit hours
  • Initiating a direct assessment competency-based program
  • Initiating distance learning
  • Entering into a contract with an entity not certified to participate in UDOE Title IV programs (for the delivery of an educational program)
  • Initiating programs/courses offered through contractual agreement or consortium
  • Initiating a merger/consolidation with another institution
  • Changing governance, ownership, control, or legal status of an institution
  • Adding a permanent location at a site where the institution is conducting a teach-out for students from another institution that is closing
  • Closing a program, approved off-campus site, branch campus, or institution.

Who should I contact if I want to know more or if I have questions?
Dr. Beverly L. Downing
Associate Provost
104 Evans Building
bldowning@htu.edu
(512) 505-3127

If you have a question that you want to see posted, please send it to the person listed above by email.

Additional Resources

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Website (www.sacscoc.org)
  • Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) website (www.chea.org)
  • Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU). www.aacu.org
  • United Negro College Fund, https://uncf.org
  • U.S. Department of Education – Accreditation in the United States website https://www.ed.gov

Program Accreditation:

School of Business and Technology (SBT)
Currently, the only academic program that hold area accreditation it the Business Administration Program. The program is accredited by Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) and has maintained its accreditation since 2013. The program is scheduled for reaffirmation of its program accreditation in 2023. Website: (https://www.acbsp.org)

Educator Preparation Program (EPP)
The Educator Preparation program maintain state approval through the Texas Department of Education and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) on an annual basis. Website: (TEA.org and THECB.org)

Accreditation Forms
HT Substantive Change Form
SACSCOC Notification and Substantive Change Policy