In what might be described as a renewing of sacred vows, Piedmont Technical College (PTC) recently documented its compliance with core requirements, comprehensive standards and federal requirements in order to reaffirm its accreditation status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
“The On-Site Committee visit occurred in the fall of 2017. The SACSCOC Board of Trustees reaffirmed PTC in June of 2018,” said Donna Foster, PTC’s associate vice president for assessment and compliance. “We received a clean report on over 80 standards.”
SACSCOC-accredited institutions renew their accreditation every 10 years by completing a rigorous review sequence that begins with evaluation of PTC’s written Compliance Certification (submitted 15 months prior to reaffirmation) by an Off-Site Committee. That team produces a report of its preliminary findings related to the institution’s compliance with fundamental principles of accreditation.
Subsequently, the On-Site Committee visits the college under review to execute a focused evaluation at the campus, to assess the institution’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and to finalize any issues of compliance. Upon completion of their visit, the team produces a written report of its findings, noting any issues of potential noncompliance.
Finally, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees reviews the committees’ reports and submits a recommendation for the institution’s reaffirmation to the Executive Council for approval.
While in South Carolina, the On-Site committee visited several off-campus instructional sites added since the last institutional review. These visits included stops at Ninety-Six High School Middle College, McCormick County Campus Middle College, the Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Laurens and the PTC Saluda County campus.
The On-Site team was very pleased with PTC’s QEP ― the CAREplan ― which is designed to create a centralized advising environment especially for pre-program students in limited enrollment health care and nursing majors. Quality enhancement is at the core of SACSCOC’s philosophy of accreditation, and a college’s QEP receives intense consideration. At the CARE Planning Center, which held its grand opening on September 20, 2018, students actively participate in the advising process, develop relationships, and cultivate behaviors and skills that lead to success.
“Overall the QEP CAREplan is comprehensive, well-developed and supportive of enhancing student success at Piedmont Technical College,” the On-Site team wrote in its report.
The heart of the philosophy of SACSOC is the belief that a free people can and ought to govern themselves through a representative, flexible and responsive system. The reaffirmation exercise is a peer-review process, Foster said. Professionals in similar positions at their colleges serve on the committees. One of their tasks is to review faculty adequacy.
“PTC was found to have an adequate number of faculty to support the mission of the college and to ensure the quality and integrity of its academic programs,” Foster said.”
The college’s next reaffirmation is scheduled for 2028. Until then, PTC officials will submit a five-year interim report and a QEP Impact Report, as well as notify SACSCOC of any substantive changes the institution undertakes to fulfill its mission.