The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC, commonly referred to as SACS) has maintained the Austin Community College District’s accreditation with a six-month warning. The warning is related to SACS’ requests for the college to develop and implement an internal policy for reporting substantive changes in a more timely manner. Substantive changes are modifications or expansions related to college programs, locations, and administration (for example, expansion of classes at ACC centers and area high schools due to increased enrollment).
ACC is in the process of adopting an administrative rule governing submission of substantive changes to SACS as well as rule guidelines; those are expected to be finalized in early 2012.
“The college will work closely with SACS to fulfill reporting requirements,” says Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “We are confident that the new policy will make ACC a more proactive and efficient institution.”
The college remains accredited, and the warning does not pertain to the quality or content of instruction. SACS will review ACC’s status in June 2012.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does this involve the quality of education at ACC?
No. The warning does not pertain to the quality or content of instruction, and it does not directly impact students. This is about ensuring the college’s reporting process keep up with growth and change.
What are substantive changes?
Substantive changes are modifications or expansions related to college programs, locations, and administration. You can read about SACS’ policy on substantive change by clicking here (see section 3.12).
What substantive changes took place at ACC?
The changes in question relate to expansion of classes at various sites (primarily at Early College Start locations) and certain modifications to our programs. ACC has experienced tremendous growth in recent years, and unfortunately the college did not have an automatic process in place to appropriately inform SACS of the changes.
What was the previous issue with substantive change?
The first issue with substantive change was in 2009 and concerned expanding classes to the Round Rock Higher Education Center while Round Rock Campus was under construction.
What led to the warning?
ACC’s accountability department added an additional position to conduct a thorough review of the college as it pertains to SACS requirements. There was particular focus on substantive changes in response to SACS’ stronger emphasis on its substantive change policy. Based on an internal review, ACC self-reported a number of changes in July 2011 relating to expansion of and changes in our offerings. Those changes were not submitted in the timely manner required by SACS, but ACC’s actions brought these matters to light and allowed the college to inform SACS of the issues.
What is ACC’s response?
ACC takes this very seriously and is working closely with SACS to resolve the situation. Our SACS accreditation is one of our top priorities, and we are working diligently to bring the reporting process into compliance. The college is already taking actions to resolve the situation.
What actions is ACC taking?
- ACC has hired additional personnel to oversee SACS reporting requirements.
- The college is continuing a thorough examination to ensure all substantive changes are reported.
- ACC is in the process of adopting an administrative rule and guidelines that will govern submission of substantive changes to SACS. Those are expected to be finalized in early 2012.
- The college is working with other institutions to learn about their best practices and share information.
- ACC is working closely with SACS to fulfill reporting requirements.
What happens now?
The college remains accredited, and the situation does not directly impact students. SACS will review ACC’s status in June 2012. ACC does not expect loss of accreditation and is working hard to ensure all SACS requirements are met.Back to Top