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Quality Enhancement Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)?

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. This is the accreditation body for South University.

To gain or maintain accreditation with SACSCOC, an institution must comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation and with the policies and procedures of the Commission on Colleges. The SACSCOC accreditation process helps institutions of higher learning set and maintain high academic standards, foster public confidence in the institution’s academic value, and establish eligibility for certain grants and federal aid programs.

Why is accreditation important?

Accreditation is a quality assurance program to inform students, the public, and other stakeholders that  South University has met thresholds of performance on established criteria. Accreditation is affirmed through periodic review by peer evaluator teams and is important to affirm academic excellence and high standards of an institution to the public.

What is reaffirmation of accreditation?

Every ten years, colleges and universities accredited by SACSCOC must demonstrate that they comply with the standards contained in the Principles of Accreditation and with the policies and procedures. This process is called reaffirmation of accreditation.

What is a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)?

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires each university to have a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), which is a carefully designed and focused course of action that addresses a well-defined topic or issue(s) that was selected after a close examination of data about the institution and the student experience.

Developing a QEP as part of South University’s reaffirmation process is an opportunity for our institution to enhance our overall institutional quality by proposing a project that we believe will improve student learning and/or the learning environment and accomplish the mission of South University.

What are the criteria SACSCOC has provided that guides our QEP process?

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges expect that in developing South University’s QEP, we are engaging the entire University community and addressing one or more issues that contribute to institutional improvement focused on student learning outcomes and/or student success.

There is an expectation that the plan is focused, concise, and limited in scope in order to allow the institution to implement, assess and complete an Impact Report on the project within 5 years. SACSCOC expects the University to create a project that will enhance learning for a meaningful number of students and to explain why the size of our chosen QEP population is “meaningful” or significant, given the context of our institution and our topic

How was the topic selected?

The topic of the QEP is determined through a multi-step process that involves a broad cross-section of the University’s faculty, staff, and students. The process began in the Fall of 2022 with the establishment of the QEP Discovery Team, and is being refined through a rigorous democratic process designed to ensure that the community within South University is supportive of the plan. The timeline for this process can be found below:


How will we know if the QEP is successful?

South University plans to use both indirect and direct measures, both qualitative and quantitative data, to assess the learning outcomes and benchmarks related to the overall plan and its goals where student learning and/or the learning environment improvement are concerned. Our approach will include scheduled formative assessment, allowing us to adjust implementation activities, timelines and assessment instruments, as necessary. In doing so, the University will employ a QEP Assessment Committee whose responsibility will be to regularly collect and evaluate information to determine the effectiveness of the final plan.

How will our institution pay for the cost of implementing this QEP?

SACSCOC expects that South University will designate appropriate financial, physical, and human resources to implement, maintain, and evaluate the chosen QEP topic. South University will create a specific QEP budget that comes from a realistic assessment of what is possible and necessary. An itemized budget for our new QEP will be created as part of the full proposal to SACSCOC and a University QEP Budget Committee will be seated to manage the budgetary process.