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   Criteria V - Educational Support Service
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III. SACS Criteria Listed and Numbered

IV. SACS Handbook for Peer Evaluators

V. Compliance Audits
   A. Instructions
   B. Criteria Audits
   C. Institutional Effectiveness Audit

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An effective institution of higher education ensures that its educational programs are complemented by well-rounded support structures that stimulate the mind and encourage the total growth and development of students. A vital ingredient in this kind of support is student and faculty access to library and learning resources that not only support the educational program and appropriate research activities but also provide broad exposure to various disciplines, cultures and ways of understanding. An effective program of student development services, appropriate within the institutional context, is also integral to a sound educational experience.

The principles of institutional effectiveness as outlined in Section III pertain to all educational support services of the institution. It is expected that each program or unit will establish goals which derive from and support the purpose of the institution, evaluate its success in achieving these goals, and demonstrate the use of the evaluation in making appropriate modifications in resources, programs and services.

It is implicit in every requirement in the Criteria for Accreditation mandating a policy or procedure that the policy or procedure be in writing, be approved through appropriate institutional processes, be published in appropriate institutional documents accessible to those affected by the policy or procedure, and be implemented and enforced by the institution.

 5.1 Library and Other Learning Resources
 5.1.1 Purpose and Scope Because adequate library and other learning resources and services are essential to teaching and learning, each institution must ensure that they are available to all faculty members and enrolled students wherever the programs or courses are located and however they are delivered. Each institution must develop a purpose statement for its library and other learning resource services. The library and other learning resources must be evaluated regularly and systematically to ensure that they are meeting the needs of their users and are supporting the programs and purpose of the institution. The scope of library and other learning resources, the types of services, and the variety of print and non-print and electronic media depend on the purpose of the institution. Learning resources and services must be adequate to support the needs of users. The size of collections and the amount of money spent on resources and services do not ensure adequacy. Of more importance are the quality, relevance, accessibility, availability and delivery of resources and services, and their actual use by students, regardless of location. These considerations must be taken into account in evaluating the effectiveness of library and learning resource support. Priorities for acquiring materials and establishing services must be determined with the needs of the users in mind.

 5.1.2 Services Each institution must ensure that all students and faculty members have access to a broad range of learning resources to support its purpose and programs at both primary and distance learning sites. Basic library services must include an orientation program designed to teach new users how to access bibliographic information and other learning resources. Any one of a variety of methods, or a combination of them, may be used for this purpose: formal instruction, lectures, library guides and user aids, self-paced instruction and computer-assisted instruction. Emphasis should be placed on the variety of contemporary technologies used for accessing learning resources. Libraries and learning resource centers must provide students with opportunities to learn how to access information in different formats so that they can continue life-long learning. Librarians must work cooperatively with faculty members and other information providers in assisting students to use resource materials effectively. Libraries and learning resource centers should provide point-of-use instruction, personal assistance in conducting library research, and traditional reference services. This should be consistent with the goal of helping students develop information literacy?the ability to locate, evaluate, and use information to become independent life-long learners. Adequate hours must be maintained to ensure accessibility to users. Professional assistance should be available at convenient locations during library hours. Library collections must be cataloged and organized in an orderly, easily accessible arrangement following national bibliographical standards and conventions. Students and faculty must be provided convenient, effective access to library resources needed in their programs. Convenient, effective access to electronic bibliographic databases, whether on-site or remote, must be provided when necessary to support the academic programs. Libraries and other learning resource centers must have adequate physical facilities to house, service and make library collections easily available; modern equipment in good condition for using print and non-print materials; provision for interlibrary loan services designed to ensure timely delivery of materials; and an efficient and appropriate circulation system. Libraries should provide electronic access to materials available within their own system and electronic bibliographic access to materials available elsewhere.

 5.1.3 Library Collections Institutions must provide access to essential references and specialized program resources for each instructional location. Access to the library collection must be sufficient to support the educational, research and public service programs of the institution. The collections of print and non-print materials must be well organized. Institutions offering graduate work must provide library resources substantially beyond those required for baccalaureate programs. Librarians, teaching faculty and researchers must share in the development of collections, and the institution must establish policies defining their involvement. Each library or learning resource center must have a policy governing resource material selection and elimination, and should have a procedure providing for the preservation, replacement or removal of deteriorating materials in the collection.

 5.1.4 Information Technology Although access to learning resources is traditionally gained through a library or learning resource center, a wide variety of contemporary technologies can be used to access learning resource materials. Institutions should supplement their traditional library with access to electronic information. Where appropriate, institutions should use technology to expand access to information for users at remote sites, such as extension centers, branch campuses, laboratories, clinical sites or students' homes. The institution must provide evidence that it is incorporating technological advances into its library and other learning resource operations.

 5.1.5 Cooperative Agreements Cooperative agreements with other libraries and agencies should be considered to enhance the resources and services available to an institution's students and faculty members. However, these agreements must not be used by institutions to avoid responsibility for providing adequate and readily accessible library resources and services. Cooperative agreements must be formalized and regularly evaluated.

 5.1.6 Staff Libraries and other learning resources must be adequately staffed by professionals who hold graduate degrees in library science or in related fields such as learning resources or information technology. In exceptional cases, outstanding professional experience and demonstrated competence may substitute for this academic preparation; however, in such cases, the institution must justify the exceptions on an individual basis. Because professional or technical training in specialized areas is increasingly important in meeting user needs, professionals with specialized non-library degrees may be employed, where appropriate, to supervise these areas. The number of library support staff members must be adequate. Qualifications or skills needed for these support positions should be defined by the institution. Organizational relationships, both external and internal to the library, should be clearly specified. Institutional policies concerning faculty status, salary and contractual security for library personnel must be clearly defined and made known to all personnel at the time of employment.

 5.1.7 Library/Learning Resources for Distance Learning Activities For distance learning activities, an institution must ensure the provision of and ready access to adequate library/learning resources and services to support the courses, programs and degrees offered. The institution must own the library/learning resources, provide access to electronic information available through existing technologies, or provide them through formal agreements. Such agreements should include the use of books and other materials. The institution must assign responsibility for providing library/learning resources and services and for ensuring continued access to them at each site. When formal agreements are established for the provision of library resources and services, they must ensure access to library resources pertinent to the programs offered by the institution and include provision for services and resources which support the institution's specific programs?in the field of study and at the degree level offered.

 5.2 Instructional Support
 5.2.1 To support its curriculum, each institution must provide a variety of facilities and instructional support services (e.g., educational equipment and specialized facilities such as laboratories, audiovisual and duplicating services, and learning skills centers) which are organized and administered so as to provide easy access for faculty and student users.

 5.2.2 They must be adequate to allow fulfillment of the institutional purpose and contribute to the effectiveness of learning. These requirements apply to all programs wherever located or however delivered.

5.3 Information Technology Resources and Systems
 5.3.1 Information technology resources and systems are essential components in higher education. An institution must provide evidence that it is incorporating technological advances into its operations.

 5.3.2 Information technology resources must support the planning function and the educational program component of the institution at appropriate levels. These resources include computer hardware and software, databases, communication networks, and a trained technical and user services staff.

 5.3.3 Although the diversity of educational programs and goals will be a major determining factor in the selection of information technology resources by an institution, there must be a reasonable infusion of information technology into the curricula so that students exit with the fundamental knowledge and basic ability to use these resources in everyday life and in future occupations.

 5.3.4 Institutions must provide the means by which students may acquire basic competencies in the use of computers and related information technology resources. A reliable data network should be available so that students, faculty and staff may become accustomed to electronic communication and familiar with accessing national and global information resources.

 5.3.5 There must be provisions for ongoing training of faculty and staff members so that they may make skillful use of appropriate application software. These requirements apply to all programs wherever located or delivered.

 5.3.6 Policies for the allocation and use of information technology resources must be clearly stated and consistent with an institution's purpose and goals.

 5.3.7 These policies must be evaluated regularly to ensure that academic and administrative needs are adequately addressed.

 5.3.8 Appropriate security measures must be installed and monitored to protect the confidentiality and integrity of academic systems, administrative systems, and institutional networks.

 5.3.9 There should be a clearly defined program for maintaining and replacing equipment and software so that they remain consistent with current technology.

5.4 Student Development Services
 5.4.1 Scope and Accountability Student development services are essential to the achievement of the educational goals of the institution and should contribute to the cultural, social, moral, intellectual and physical development of students. To ensure effectiveness, the institution must develop goals for the student services program consistent with student needs and with the purpose of the institution. Appropriate student development services must be provided for distance learning programs as well as on-campus programs. The institution must clearly designate an administrative unit responsible for planning and implementing student development services. Appropriate policies and procedures for student development programs and services must be established. Student development services should be given organizational status commensurate with other major administrative areas within the institution. These services must be staffed by individuals who have academic preparation and experience consistent with their assignments. In exceptional cases, outstanding professional experience and demonstrated competence may substitute for academic preparation. Exceptional cases must be justified by the institution on an individual basis. Student development services and programs must be evaluated regularly.

5.4.2 Resources Human, physical, financial and equipment resources for student development services must be adequate to support the goals of the institution. Staff development should be related to the goals of the student development program and should be designed to enhance staff competencies and awareness of current theory and practice.

5.4.3 Programs and Services Counseling and Career Development. Each institution should provide personal counseling services for students, as well as a career development program. An effective career development program should include career information and planning, placement services, career counseling, testing services and follow-up activities. There should be clearly specified policies regarding the use of career development services by students, alumni and employers. Student Government, Student Activities and Publications. The institution must develop a statement of the student's role and participation in institutional decision-making. The institution must have an activities program appropriate to its purpose and encompassing student interests. The institution must develop policies and procedures governing the supervisory role of the institution over student activities. Student publications can contribute to the establishment and maintenance of an atmosphere of responsible discussion. When student publications or other media exist, the institution must provide a clearly written statement of the institution's responsibilities regarding them. Student Behavior The institution must publish a statement of student rights and responsibilities and make it available to the campus community. The jurisdiction of judicial bodies (administrative, faculty and student), the disciplinary responsibilities of institutional officials, and all disciplinary procedures must be clearly defined and broadly distributed. Residence Halls If an institution has residence halls, it must develop policies and procedures governing them and must take reasonable precautions to provide a healthful, safe and secure living environment for the residents. The learning environment in the residence halls must support the educational mission of the institution. An adequate staff organization should be given responsibility for the administration of the residence hall system. The staff should have sufficient academic training and experience to enhance the learning environment in the residence halls. Student Financial Aid The institution should provide an effective program of financial aid consistent with its purpose and reflecting the needs of its students. Effective program administration should include counseling students on the efficient use of their total financial resources. There must be provision for institution-wide coordination of all financial aid awards. All funds for financial aid programs must be audited in compliance with all federal and state requirements. An institution participating in Title IV programs must comply with the regulations in the student loan programs as established under Title IV of the 1992 Higher Education Amendment. Excessive default rates in the student loan program may be cause for the Commission on Colleges to conduct a special evaluation. Health Services An institution must provide access to an effective program of health services and education consistent with its purpose and reflecting the needs of its constituents. Intramural Athletics Intramural sports programs contribute to the personal development of students and should be related to the total program of the institution. These programs should be directed and supervised by qualified personnel and should be appropriately funded.

5.5 Intercollegiate Athletics
5.5.1 Purpose The intercollegiate athletics program must be operated in strict adherence to a written statement of goals and objectives which has been developed by the administration, in consultation with the athletic director, with appropriate input from the faculty, and which has been given official institutional approval. This statement must be in harmony with, and supportive of, the institutional purpose and should include explicit reference to the academic success, physical and emotional well being, and social development of student athletes. The intercollegiate athletics program must be evaluated regularly and systematically to ensure that it is an integral part of the education of athletes and is in keeping with the educational purpose of the institution. Evaluation of the athletics program must be undertaken as part of the self-study conducted in connection with initial accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation.

 5.5.2 Administrative Oversight The administration must control the athletics program and contribute to its direction with appropriate participation by faculty and students and oversight by the governing board. Ultimate responsibility for that control must rest with the chief executive officer. It is essential that responsibilities for the conduct of the athletics program and for its oversight be explicitly defined and clearly understood by those involved.

 5.5.3 Financial Control All fiscal matters pertaining to the athletics program must be controlled by the administration, with ultimate responsibility resting with the chief executive officer. If external units (alumni organizations or foundations) raise or expend funds for athletic purposes, all such financial activities must be approved by the administration, and all such units shall be required to submit in dependent audits. The administration of scholarships, grants-in-aid, loans and student employment must be included in the institution's regular planning, budgeting, accounting and auditing procedures. All income, from whatever source, and expenditures for the athletics program must have appropriate oversight by an office of the institution that is independent of the athletics program. All such income and expenditures must also be appropriately audited.

5.5.4 Academic Program Institutions must have clearly stated written policies pertaining to the recruitment, admission, financial aid, and continuing eligibility of athletes and, with faculty participation, must annually monitor compliance with a those policies. The implementation of academic, admission and financial aid policies must be the responsibility of administrators and faculty not connected with the athletics program. If there are special admissions for athletes, they must be consistent with the institutional policy on special admissions for other students and be under the control of regular academic policies and procedures. Academic policies governing maintenance of academic good standing and fulfillment of curricular requirements must be the same for athletes as for other students.

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