Rust College is gearing up for another reaffirmation of accreditation this October with a visit from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the agency that accredits higher institutions in the South.
According to Dr. Sandra Vaughn, vice president for assessment and accreditation, Rust is more than prepared for the visit. The last and current reaccreditation granted to Rust was a decade ago in 2003; SACS requires colleges and universities in its membership to undergo reaffirmation of accreditation every 10 years.
Vaughn said the process included intensive self-study reports that were submitted to SACS in March and a follow up resubmitted in September. A campus team that included the executive staff, eight committees of faculty, staff and students helped to prepare for this important visit. She said the documentation process has been on going between four to five years to ensure that the college will meet all SACS requirements for reaccreditation. “We have to look at ourselves for five years, are we providing an accredited worthy education for our students? This is a question as well as others that we as an institution must answer before we can make sure that this visit will be a promising one.”
Vaughn adds that the college must ensure that the responses to questions SACS will ask are going to be backed up with supportive evidence and documents. “This is an exciting time for Rust College and the students whose future depends on us getting reaffirmed,” said Vaughn. There’s no doubt in her mind that the school will be reaffirmed in light of the intense preparation of verifiable evidence to meet SACS requirements.
The Quality Enhancing Plan is also part of the assessment, she said. The school must comply with its mission statement; “Can we show that we do what we state in our mission statement and provide evidence? Show continuance improvement in our students and most importantly are we financially able to run the institution?”
Vaughn said Rust College is one of five HBCUs that has proven its financial stability over time and through endowment efforts and excellent fiscal management. “We are confident that we will get reaffirmed, because they will see that we have excellent faculty, curriculum, funds, and students to make this institution work.” The SACS team will be on campus Oct. 29-31.
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Editor’s note: Contributing Writer Melany Paige is a print journalism major at Rust College, and associate editor of the campus newspaper, The Rustorian.