15:52 PM

UHCL's accreditation reaffirmed for 10 years, ensures federal funding remains available


The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the agency that accredits degree-granting institutions of higher education, has reaffirmed University of Houston-Clear Lake’s accreditation for the next 10 years, with no additional reports required.

“This is the best possible outcome for reaffirmation and is a testament to the quality of the academic opportunities we provide our students,” said UH-Clear Lake President Richard Walker.

The affirmation process was led by Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost Christopher Maynard, Vice Provost Kathy Matthew and Executive Director for Planning and Assessment Pamelyn Shefman.

“The accreditation process is our way of demonstrating to the Department of Education that our institution provides a quality education that meets the standard to receive federal funding,” Shefman said. “Without accreditation, our students could not use Pell funds or other federal funds here. This accreditation makes UHCL eligible to receive millions in federal funding for our students. It’s of the utmost importance for students to know that they are getting their education at a quality institution that is serving its mission for students, community and stakeholders.”

Matthew said that although SACSCOC has reaffirmed the university’s accreditation, the work to maintain this status is ongoing. “We still continue to work closely with the accrediting agency to ensure everything we do is consistent with standards, and meets or exceeds the quality necessary.”

She said there is an abbreviated report that will be submitted at the five-year point. “The full report has 75 sections; the midyear report has 22,” she said. “If standards are not maintained, accreditation can be revoked. Anytime something new or different is offered, we have to take accreditation into consideration. It’s a constant quality check on everything, all the time.”

Additionally, the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), a critical component of the SACSCOC accreditation process, is being led by Associate Professor of Marketing and QEP Faculty Fellow Leroy Robinson. The plan, entitled “Becoming Aware, Cultural Interactions at UHCL,” seeks to prepare students to thrive in an increasingly diverse global environment.

Robinson was centrally involved as part of faculty leadership in the last QEP, and said he was interested in being part of something transformative and campus wide.

“When we do this correctly, it becomes second nature instead of something we’re focusing on,” he said. “Years from now, I will use intercultural competency in all my courses. It will add value continually over time.”

Shefman said the goal of the QEP was to create a campus learning environment in which all students gain competency in intercultural knowledge, teamwork and humility.

“This is part of the five-year plan,” she said. “It’s a way for an institution to transform student success in that time. Through student learning, we will make intercultural knowledge pervasive on this campus; students will realize they are learning this in all aspects of their experience at UHCL, in all ways and in all places.”

Shefman said that without a QEP, an institution cannot be accredited. “This is unique to being accredited by SACS,” she said. “Other governing bodies do not have an equivalent to a QEP. This is an initiative that over five years, will transform the university. It’s part of the expectation of a quality institution.”

For more information about UHCL’s QEP, go online.