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College Focuses on Internationalization in Three-year Quest for SACS Reaccreditation

By Kai Jackson

This year, planning for the college’s reaccredidation by its regional accrediting agency, the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) will shift into high gear. In a rigorous process that occurs once every 10 years, Morehouse’s reaccreditation will focus on ways to enhance the development of young men into educated, global citizens for the new millennium and will advance President Robert Franklin’s new vision for Morehouse as “a global resource for educated and ethical leaders.”

“Accreditation is an institution’s currency,” explained Ron Sheehy ‘65, assistant vice president for academic affairs and chair of the Morehouse SACS review committee. “It ensures that an institution is in compliance with the highest standards of excellence in education.” Achieving reaccreditation also ensures that an institution will continue to receive federal funding, including financial aid.

Morehouse’s reaccreditation process will be completed in 2009, but planning for reaccreditation began in 2005 with the formation of the Morehouse SACS review committee, composed of faculty and staff from all areas of the College. As a former associate director of SACS, Sheehy is more than equipped to lead the College in this effort.

“There are twin goals of the SACS process. We want not only to be found in compliance, but we want to use the process to improve Morehouse,” he said.

This year, the College will finalize two major components of the SACS review: the completion of a compliance audit and the creation a quality enhancement plan (QEP).

A compliance audit committee is charged with finding the documentation showing that the College is in compliance with SACS core requirements of quality education.

In September 2008, Morehouse will submit its QEP, a document that focuses on one theme related to excellence in undergraduate learning. Through surveys and discussions, faculty, staff and administrators have identified leadership, internationalization and scholarship as critical principles for student learning at the College. The committee is now in the process of refining those principles into one theme.

Given the college’s emphasis on producing students with global competency, the chosen QEP theme will undoubtedly have a strong international component that will be rooted in Morehouse’s tradition of leadership with a social conscience. “The concern and regard for other human beings has to be at the heart of internationalization, and internationalization without regard to other human beings has no heart,” says Sheehy.

As interim vice president for Academic Affairs and provost, Willis B. Sheftall ‘64 is overseeing the entire reaccreditation process. Having served on various committees for SACS during his career, Sheftall is very familiar with the process. “While assuring SACS that we provide quality education at Morehouse, this process also serves as a powerful reminder to us that we provide quality education to our students,” he said. “This process will provide the College with a focus for improving the learning experiences of our students that will guide us for the next several years.”

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