VP for Academic Affairs and Provost

Reaffirmation of Accreditation 2015

Accreditation is a form of self-regulation and quality assurance in higher education. Reaffirmation of accreditation requires the completion of a Compliance Certification document, the development of a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), off-site and on-site reviews, and review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the recognized regional accrediting body for higher education institutions that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees in the 11 U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America.

For the last three years, the Rollins Accreditation Leadership Team (ALT), composed of faculty and staff from across the campus, spearheaded the reaffirmation-compliance effort. The College’s Compliance Report, a nearly 500-page document, was submitted to SACSCOC in February 2015. A subsequent on-site visiting committee of representatives from peer institutions from across Southern states took place in March 2015. As part of the reaffirmation process, faculty-led teams also developed the College’s SACSCOC-required quality enhancement plan (QEP), R-Compass. R-Compass is an exciting new initiative that aims to help prepare undergraduate Rollins students for their lives and careers after graduation by integrating career preparation tools, training, and resources into the faculty-student advising relationship.

It was announced Tuesday, December 8, 2015, at the SACSCOC annual meeting in Houston that Rollins College’s regional accreditation was reaffirmed with no recommendations for improvement. The College’s accreditation is assured through 2025, when the next decennial review will occur. Rollins was first accredited by SACSCOC in 1927 and has been continuously accredited since that time.

“A successful comprehensive continuing-accreditation study demands the attention of the entire campus community,” said Rollins President Grant Cornwell. “This outcome demonstrates how much we all are committed to Rollins and believe in our shared work.”

Craig McAllaster, interim vice president for Academic Affairs and interim provost, co-chair of the College’s ALT, noted,“Reaffirmation without recommendations would not have been possible without the efforts of the many faculty and staff members who contributed to compliance documents and QEP project development.”

“This reaffirmation confirms that Rollins’ mission is appropriate; that we have the resources, programs and services in place to accomplish and sustain our mission; and that we have demonstrated to our peers our achievement of goals and ongoing improvements related to that mission,” said Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness Toni Holbrook, co-chair of the College's ALT.

According to Udeth Lugo, the College’s director of institutional research and SACSCOC liaison, “Reaffirmation by our regional accrediting agency recognizes the quality of a Rollins College education, the hard work of faculty and staff, and the College’s commitment to student success. Quality improvement is a continuous process at Rollins, as we are constantly seeking to improve our process and outcomes, through ongoing measurement, reflection and innovation.”

Regional Accreditation 101

Q. What is accreditation?

A. Accreditation is a form of self-regulation and quality assurance in higher education.  In the U.S., accreditation is coordinated by a non-governmental non-profit organization, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).  There are six regional accrediting organizations in the U.S.  Rollins’s regional accreditor is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC, pronounced “SACS C-O-C”).  SACSCOC is authorized to accredit institutions in many southern states as well as in several international locations.  SACSCOC, which is comprised of its members, Rollins among them, accredits institutions that have missions appropriate to higher education, devote resources to carrying out those missions, and can show that they do, in fact, achieve those missions.

Q. Does Rollins really need to be accredited?

A. For starters, institutions that want access to federal financial aid for their students must be regionally accredited.  So, yes: Rollins needs to be accredited.

Q. Is accreditation something new?

A. No. As more and more students began attending colleges across the U.S., accreditation organizations formed in the late 19th and 20th centuries to ensure consistency in academic standards across institutions. SACS was founded in 1895. SACSCOC dates to 1912, “and was organized to develop standards and a process for accrediting colleges and universities in the South,” according to the organization’s website.  Rollins was first accredited by SACSCOC in 1927 and has been continuously accredited since that time.

Q. How often must an institution seek reaffirmation of its accreditation?

A. An accredited institution like Rollins seeks reaffirmation of accreditation every 10 years by undertaking a detailed self-study of its practices and submitting a required Compliance Certification Report (CCR) demonstrating its adherence to regional standards.  The CCR shows the extent to which Rollins complies “with each of the Core Requirements, Comprehensive Standards, and Federal Regulations [or Requirements] as presented in the Principles” of accreditation.

Q. How many requirements, standards, and regulations are there?

A. SACSCOC currently asks accredited institutions to write narratives that assure institutional compliance with about 100 standards. While some of these do not apply to Rollins (e.g., questions about the associate’s degree), we must still respond to each one, even if we only say, “This standard does not apply to Rollins.” The standards include the three categories noted above: Core, Comprehensive, and Federal.

Q. Give an example of a standard.

A. Here are four examples that show just some of the breadth and depth of the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation standards.

  • Core Requirement 2.5 Institutional Effectiveness. The institution engages in ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that (1) incorporate a systematic review of institutional mission, goals, and outcomes; (2) result in continuing improvement in institutional quality; and (3) demonstrate the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission.
  • Comprehensive Standard 3.4.12 Technology Use. The institution's use of technology enhances student learning and is appropriate for meeting the objectives of its programs.  Students have access to and training in the use of technology.
  • Comprehensive Standard 3.6.2 Graduate Curriculum. The institution structures its graduate curricula (1) to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline and (2) to ensure ongoing student engagement in research and/or appropriate professional practice and training experiences.
  • Federal Requirement 4.1 Student Achievement: The institution evaluates success with respect to student achievement consistent with its mission.  Criteria may include enrollment data; retention, graduation, course completion, and job placement rates; state licensing examinations; student portfolios; or other means of demonstrating achievement of goals.

Q. Reffirmation of accreditation sounds pretty demanding.

A. It is. Completing the CCR required the collaboration of the entire campus.  In addition, each claim that Rollins made in the CCR had to be backed up by documentation, in much the same way that a scholarly article would footnote its sources. Nearly 2,200 documents were gathered in completing the Rollins CCR.

Q. What if Rollins undergoes a dramatic change? Does that affect our accreditation?

A. SACSCOC defines “Substantive Change” as “a significant modification or expansion in the nature and scope of an accredited institution.”  Some changes require only that SACSCOC be notified in advance; others require that a prospectus describing the proposed change be submitted at least six months prior to the start date of a new program. Others may require not only a prospectus, but also full documentation and a site visit from a SACSCOC substantive change committee.  Rollins had its most recent substantive change site visit when it desired to offer a doctoral degree; this proposal changed Rollins’s SACSCOC institution level (from III, bachelor’s, to V, which allows us to offer up to three doctoral degrees) and, thus, required the onsite visit.

Q. Is SACSCOC emphasizing anything now?

A. SACSCOC is emphasizing assessment of student learning and demonstration of student achievement. 

Q. What is the Quality Enhancement, or QEP, Plan I’ve heard about?

A. The Quality Enhancement Plan, or QEP, has been a reaccreditation requirement for about 10 years now.  SACSCOC asks all institutions to develop a QEP that is faculty-driven, budgeted, and improves the learning of most of the students on campus.  Rollins has developed its QEP following extensive campus conversations; the QEP will focus on integrating career planning into academic planning and advising.  Rollins can nominate at least two experts as QEP reviewers; SACSCOC will choose one, who will be part of the site-visit team.

Q. What are the next reporting dates for regional accrediation?

A. The College will submit a Fifth-Year Interim Report consisting of an abbreviated compliance certification and an impact report for the College's QEP, to SACSCOC in April 2021.  The College's next decennial reaffirmation Compliance Report will be due to SACSCOC in Spring of 2025.

Q. Where do I go for more information?

A. Go to sacscoc.org/faqs for SACSCOC’s own “frequently asked questions” section.

Last Updated 12-16-2015

Accreditation Leadership Team (ALT)

Dr. Grant H. Cornwell, President

Dr. Craig M. McAllaster, Interim Provost, Co-Chair, ALT

Dr. Toni S. Holbrook, Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, Co-Chair, ALT; Co-Chair, Demonstration of Learning Team

Dr. Mamta Accapadi, Vice President for Student Affairs

Dr. Sharon Carrier, Special Assistant to the President

Dr. John M. Houston, Chair, QEP Topic Selection Committee; Professor of Psychology

Dr. Mark Johnston, Gerry Professor of Marketing and Ethics, Crummer Graduate School of Business

Mr. Udeth A. Lugo, Director, Institutional Research; SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison

Dr. Lorrie Kyle, Executive Assistant to the President

Dr. Jonathan Miller, Director, Olin Library

Dr. David C.S. Richard, Dean, Holt School; Co-Chair, Demonstration of Learning Team; Professor of Psychology

Mr. William (Bill) Short, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Assistant Treasurer

Dr. James A. Zimmerman, Director, Johnson Institute for Effective Teaching; Associate Professor of Chemistry

2015 Reaffirmation Compliance Report Contributors

Primary Contributors

  • Dr. Mamta Accapadi, Vice President for Student Affairs
  • Dr. Carol M. Bresnahan, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
  • Dr. Sharon Carrier, Special Assistant to the President
  • Mr. Jeff Eisenbarth, Vice President for Business and Finance and Treasurer
  • Dr. Toni S. Holbrook, Assistant Provost for Institutional Effectiveness; Co-Chair, Demonstration of Learning Team (DLT)
  • Dr. Ronald J. Korvas, Vice President for Institutional Advancement
  • Dr. Lorrie Kyle, Executive Assistant to the President
  • Mr. Udeth A. Lugo, Director, Institutional Research; SACS Accreditation Liaison

Faculty and Staff Writers and Readers

Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Jennifer Cavenaugh, Associate Dean, Arts and Sciences (A&S)
  • Mr. Steve Gauthier, Associate Dean, Operations/Student Services, Crummer Graduate School
  • Ms. Meribeth Huebner, Associate Dean, Hamilton Holt School (Holt)
  • Dr. John Houston, Chair, QEP Topic Selection Committee; Professor of Psychology
  • Dr. Carol Lauer, President, A&S Faculty; Professor of Anthropology
  • Ms. Sharon Lusk, Assistant Dean, Holt
  • Ms. Devon Massot, Director, Grants and Contracts
  • Dr. Jana Matthews, Co-Chair, QEP Proposal Development Committee; Associate Professor of English
  • Dr. H. James McLaughlin, President, College of Professional Studies (CPS) Faculty; Mertz Chair and Professor of Education
  • Dr. Jonathan Miller, Director, Olin Library
  • Dr. David Richard, Dean, Hamilton Holt School (Holt); Co-Chair, DLT
  • Dr. J. Clay Singleton, President, Crummer Faculty; Cornell Chair and Professor of Finance
  • Dr. Robert Smither, Dean, A&S
  • Dr. Claire Strom, Director, General Education; Rapetti-Trunzo Chair and Professor of History
  • Dr. Debra Wellman, Dean, CPS
  • Mr. Tom McEvoy, Dean, Crummer Graduate Graduate School
  • Dr. Gabriel Barreneche, Associate Dean, A&S
Admissions and Financial Aid
  • Mr. Steve Booker, Interim Dean of Enrollment Management, A&S/CPS
  • Ms. Jacqueline Brito, Assistant Dean, Admissions, Crummer
  • Ms. Holly Pohlig, Director of Admission, A&S/CPS
  • Mr. Nicholas Georgoudiou, Director, Holt School Admission
  • Ms. Pennie Parker, Director of Athletics
  • Ms. Jude Wolbert, Senior Athletic Programs and Operations Coordinator
Business and Finance
  • Mr. Scott Bitikofer, Director, Facilities Management
  • Ms. Mandy Booker, Director of Financial Services and Bursar
  • Mr. Matt Hawks, Director, Human Resources
  • Ms. Maria Martinez, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources and Risk Management
  • Mr. Ken Miller, Director, Campus Safety
  • Dr. Pat Schoknecht, Assistant Vice President, Business Services and CIO
  • Mr. William (Bill) Short, Assistant Vice President for Finance and Assistant Treasurer
Institutional Advancement
  • Ms. Lesley Carney McClelland, AVP, Alumni Relations
  • Mr. Joseph Monti, Director, Foundation Relations
Student Affairs and Services
  • Ms. Alice Argeros, Director of Student Services, Crummer
  • Ms. Giselda Beaudin, Director, International Programs
  • Ms. Francine Chase, former role as Registrar, Crummer Graduate School
  • Ms. Connie Holt, Director, Student Services, Holt
  • Ms. Robin Mateo, Director, A&S/CPS Student Records
  • Ms. Trish Moser, Student Affairs Special Projects
  • Mr. Eric Scalamonti, Registrar, Crummer

On-Site Visit and Hospitality

  • Ms. Tina Hall, Executive Assistant, Vice President for Academic Affairs/Provost
  • Ms. Pam Clark, Executive Assistant, Dean of the Crummer Graduate School
  • Ms. Karla Knight, Coordinator of Academic Administration, A&S|CPS Deans Office
  • Mr. Leon Hayner, Director of Residential Life
  • Ms. Marissa Corrente, Associate Director, Center for Leadership and Community Engagement
  • Mr. Jeremy DiGorio, Assistant Director, Center for Leadership and Community Engagement
  • Ms. Celia WoodTranscript/Enrollment Verification Specialist, A&S|CPS Office of Student Records
  • Mr. John Knopick, Project Manager, Information Technology
  • Mr. Travis RaySenior Technical Support Specialist, Information Technology

Special Thanks

  • Dr. Dennis Wiseman, Professor Emeritus, Coastal Carolina University, Editorial Assistance
  • Dr. M. Lisa Valentino, Associate Vice President, Academic Services, Seminole State College, Editorial Assistance

Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Rollins College
1000 Holt Avenue – 2712
Winter Park, FL 32789
T. 407.646.2355
F. 407.646.2351