UT Martin    SACS Accreditation Office SACS Home    UTM Home
  Self-Study Criteria Listed and Numbered
I.  SACS Self-Study:
   A. Manual
   B. Calendar
   C. Committees and Roles
   D. Editorial Guidelines
   E. News, Events, and Presentations
   F. Report

II. Contact Info

III. SACS Criteria Listed and Numbered

IV. SACS Handbook for Peer Evaluators

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

Directions:  You can read the entire document by scrolling down  or go to the
individual sections of your preference where you can read and print only
that particular section by clicking any of the six section headings:

Section I. Principles & Philos of  Accreditation  Section  II.      Institutional Purpose 
Section III.   Institutional Effectiveness  Section IV.     Educational Program 
Section V.   Educational Support Service  Section VI.    Administrative Processes 


Section I:   Principles and Philosophy of Accreditation


1.1 Institutional Commitment and Responsibilities in the Accreditation Process
1.2 Application of the Criteria
1.3 Separately Accredited Units
1.4 Conditions of Eligibility
1.5 Initial Membership
1.6 Representation of Status

Section II: Institutional Purpose



Section III: Institutional Effectiveness



3.1 Planning and Evaluation:
Educational Programs
3.2 Planning and Evaluation:
Administrative and Educational Support Services
3.3 Institutional Research

Section IV: Educational Program



4.1 General Requirements of the Educational Program
4.2 Undergraduate Program
4.2.1 Undergraduate Admission
4.2.2 Undergraduate Completion Requirements
4.2.3 Undergraduate Curriculum
4.2.4 Undergraduate Instruction
4.2.5 Academic Advising of Undergraduate Students
4.3 Graduate Program
4.3.1 Initiation, Operation and Expansion of Graduate Programs
4.3.2 Graduate Admission
4.3.3 Graduate Completion Requirements
    Graduate Curriculum
    Graduate Instruction
4.3.6 Academic Advising of Graduate Students
4.4 Publications
4.5 Distance Learning Programs
4.6 Continuing Education, Outreach and Service Programs
4.7 Student Records
4.8 Faculty
                           4.8.1 Selection of Faculty
                           4.8.2 Academic and Professional Preparation
                           4.8.2.1 Associate
                           4.8.2.2 Baccalaureate
                           4.8.2.3 Graduate
                           4.8.2.4 Distance Learning Programs/Activities
                           4.8.3 Part-Time Faculty
                           4.8.4 Graduate Teaching Assistants
                           4.8.5 Faculty Compensation
                           4.8.6 Academic Freedom and Professional Security
                           4.8.7 Professional Growth
                           4.8.8 The Role of the Faculty and Its Committees
                           4.8.9 Faculty Loads
                   4.8.10 Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation

4.9 Consortial Relationships and Contractual Agreements

4.9.1 Consortial Relationships
4.9.2 Contractual Agreements
 Section V: Educational Support Services


5.1 Library and Other Learning Resources 5.1.1 Purpose and Scope
5.1.2 Services
5.1.3 Library Collections
5.1.4 Information Technology
5.1.5 Cooperative Agreements
5.1.6 Staff
5.1.7 Library/Learning Resources for Distance Learning Activities
5.2 Instructional Support
5.3 Information Technology Resources and Systems
5.4 Student Development Services 5.4.1 Scope and Accountability
5.4.2 Resources
5.4.3 Programs and Services
5.4.3.1 Counseling and Career Development
5.4.3.2 Student Government, Student Activities and Publications
5.4.3.3 Student Behavior
5.4.3.4 Residence Halls
5.4.3.5 Student Financial Aid
5.4.3.6 Health Services
5.4.3.7 Intramural Athletics
5.5 Intercollegiate Athletics
                            5.5.1 Purpose
                            5.5.2 Administrative Oversight
                            5.5.3 Financial Control
                            5.5.4 Academic Program

Section VI: Administrative Processes



6.1 Organization and Administration 6.1.1 Descriptive Titles and Terms
6.1.2 Governing Board
6.1.3 Advisory Committees
6.1.4 Official Policies
6.1.5 Administrative Organization
6.2 Institutional Advancement 6.2.1 Alumni Affairs
6.2.2 Fund Raising
6.3 Financial Resources 6.3.1 Financial Resources
6.3.2 Organization for the Administration of Financial Resources
6.3.3 Budget Planning
6.3.4 Budget Control
6.3.5 The Relation of an Institution to External Budgetary Control
6.3.6 Accounting, Reporting and Auditing
6.3.7 Purchasing and Inventory Control
6.3.8 Refund Policy
6.3.9 Cashiering
6.3.10 Investment Management
6.3.11 Risk Management and Insurance
6.3.12 Auxiliary Enterprises
6.4 Physical Resources 6.4.1 Space Management
6.4.2 Building, Grounds and Equipment Maintenance
6.4.3 Safety and Security
6.4.4 Facilities Master Plan
6.5 Externally Funded Grants and Contracts
6.6 Related Corporate Entities

 SECTION I   Principles and Philosophy of Accreditation



 The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is the recognized regional accrediting body in the eleven U.S. Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia) and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees. The Commission on Colleges is the representative body of the College Delegate Assembly and is charged with carrying out the accreditation process. The College Delegate Assembly, which consists of one voting representative for each of approximately 800 member institutions, elects the 77-member Commission. The U.S. Secretary of Education recognizes accreditation by the Commission on Colleges in establishing eligibility of higher education institutions to participate in programs authorized under Title IV of the 1992 Higher Education Amendments and other federal programs.

Accreditation is concerned principally with the improvement of educational quality throughout the region and ensuring to the public that institutions meet established regional standards. Accreditation of an institution by the Commission on Colleges signifies that the institution has a purpose appropriate to higher education and has resources, programs and services sufficient to accomplish its purpose on a continuing basis.

Accreditation by the Commission on Colleges is the result of thorough and careful evaluation of the educational quality of the institution. This qualitative evaluation depends heavily on the collective professional judgment of the faculty and administrative staff of the institution during the self-study process, peer review by a visiting committee, and final evaluation by the Commission. Professional judgment in the peer review process goes beyond a simple compliance audit of the minimum requirements in the Criteria and provides for quality assurance in accreditation.

The task of accreditation is related to the traditional public philosophy of the United States-that a free people can and ought to govern themselves and that they best do so through a representative, flexible and responsive system. Accordingly, the purposes of accreditation can best be accomplished through a voluntary association of educational institutions.

There are many issues to be considered at the regional level that might not be resolved as effectively in a state or national association. This does not in any way limit cooperation and exchange of ideas with other regional and professional accrediting associations which are largely parallel in aims and functions.

Regional accrediting agencies accredit the total institution. The accreditation of professional schools, divisions, departments or programs within complex institutions may be provided by other accrediting organizations. However. it is the responsibility of the Commission on Colleges to evaluate the work of specialized schools, divisions, departments or programs, even though they are accredited by the appropriate professional agencies. It is the prerogative of the Commission to accept or reject the evaluations of such agencies.

The Commission on Colleges supports the right of an institution to pursue its established educational purpose; the right of faculty members to teach, investigate and publish freely; and the right of students to have opportunities for learning. However, the exercise of these rights must not interfere with the overriding obligation of the institution to offer its students a sound education leading to recognized certificates or degrees. Thus, criteria and procedures for accreditation have been developed which are used in evaluating an institution's educational effectiveness, defined in the broadest sense to include not only instruction, but also effectiveness in research and public service where these are significant components of an institution's purpose.

Initially and periodically, each member institution is required to conduct a self-study, which is subsequently evaluated at the institution by a committee of peer educators. This requirement helps ensure that an institution meets established standards of quality and that it evaluates the extent to which its educational goals are being met. The successful fulfillment of this requirement, along with demonstrated compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation and the Conditions of Eligibility, results in initial accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation.

The self-study program, begun by the Commission on Colleges in 1957, has proven successful in strengthening higher education in the South. Once each decade, member institutions, accredited by the Commission, conduct comprehensive self-examinations from which are formulated recommendations for future improvements. The studies involve participation by the faculty, administrative officers, staff, students and trustees in a close examination of the institution. At the culmination of the study, a visiting committee of peers from other institutions assesses the educational strength of the institution. The self-study and subsequent visiting committee evaluation rely on the qualitative judgment of professionals in the higher education community.

The Commission on Colleges is particularly concerned with follow-up procedures and often requires a progress report resulting from the self-study and committee visit. The Commission reserves the right, with due notification to institutions involved, to make special studies of and visits to member institutions when circumstances warrant. During the interval between reaffirmation committee visits to each institution which provides vocational education or training, the Commission will make at least one unannounced on-site inspection for the purpose of determining whether the institution has the personnel, facilities, and resources it claimed to have either during its previous on-site review or in subsequent reports to the Commission.

Accreditation is specific to an institution, is based on conditions existing at the time of the most recent evaluation, and is not transferable. When an institution changes the nature of its affiliation or its ownership, a substantive change review is required. (See Commission policy and procedure documents pertaining to substantive changes.)

The Commission's philosophy of accreditation precludes denial of membership to a degree-granting institution of higher education on any ground other than, in the professional judgment of peer reviewers, failure to conduct an acceptable self-study, failure to meet the Conditions of Eligibility, failure to comply with the Criteria for Accreditation established by the College Delegate Assembly, or failure to comply with the policies and procedures of the Commission. The Commission on Colleges applies the Criteria uniformly to applicant, candidate and member institutions regardless of type of institution.

In accordance with the procedures described in the Commission policy entitled "Appeals Procedures of the College Delegate Assembly," when an institution has grounds for appeal in the accreditation process, the chief executive officer of the institution may submit to the Executive Director a request for an appeal. The Executive Director will then arrange for a hearing according to established appeals procedures.

1.1 Institutional Commitment and Responsibilities in the Accreditation Process
The effectiveness of self-regulatory accreditation depends upon an institution's acceptance of certain responsibilities, including involvement in and commitment to the accreditation process.

1.1.1 An institution is required to conduct a self-study at the interval specified by the Commission and, at the conclusion of the self-study, accept an honest and forthright peer assessment of institutional strengths and weaknesses.

1.1.2 The Commission requires that the self-study assess every aspect of the institution; involve personnel from all segments of the institution, including faculty, staff, students, administration and governing boards; and provide a comprehensive analysis of the institution, identifying strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the Commission requires an adequate institutional follow-up plan to address issues identified in the self-study.

1.1.3 An institution must be committed to participation in the activities and decisions of the Commission. This commitment includes a willingness to participate in the decision-making processes of the Commission and adherence to all policies and procedures, including those for reporting changes within the institution. Only if institutions accept seriously the responsibilities of membership will the validity and vitality of the accreditation process be ensured.

1.1.4 An institution of higher education is committed to the search for knowledge and its dissemination.

1.1.5 Integrity in the pursuit of knowledge is expected to govern the total environment of an institution.

1.1.6 Each member institution is responsible for ensuring integrity in all operations dealing with its constituencies, in its relations with other member institutions, and in its accreditation activities with the Commission on Colleges.

1.1.7 Each institution must provide the Commission access to all parts of its operation and to complete and accurate information about the institution's affairs, including reports of other accrediting, licensing and auditing agencies.

1.1.8 In the spirit of collegiality, institutions are expected to cooperate fully during all aspects of the process of evaluation: preparations for site visits, the site visit itself, and the follow up to the site visit.

1.1.9 Institutions are also expected to provide the Commission or its representatives with information requested and to maintain an atmosphere of openness and cooperation during evaluations, enabling evaluators to perform their duties with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

1.1.10 Each participating institution must be in compliance with its program responsibilities under Title IV of the 1992 Higher Education Amendments. Failure to comply with Title IV responsibilities will be considered when an institution is reviewed for initial membership or continued accreditation. In reviewing an institution's compliance with these program responsibilities, the Commission will rely on documentation forwarded to it by the Secretary of Education.

1.1.11 Each institution seeking candidacy, membership or reaffirmation with the Commission on Colleges must document its compliance with the Conditions of Eligibility as outlined in Section 1.4.

1.2 Application of the Criteria
The Criteria for Accreditation applies to all institutional programs and services wherever located or however delivered. It is designed to guide institutions in all stages of membership?from initial application through initial accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation. Compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation is intended to help an institution achieve overall effectiveness and to ensure the quality of its educational programs. The Commission on Colleges shall apply the Criteria to all applicant. candidate and member institutions regardless of type of institution, whether for-profit, not-for-profit, private or public. The Commission grants or reaffirms accreditation only to institutions which comply with the Criteria.

1.2.1 An institution must refrain from making a substantive change, defined as a significant modification in the nature or scope of an institution or its programs, except in accordance with the Commission's "General Substantive Change Policy for Accredited Institutions" and its attendant procedures.

 1.2.2 All existing or planned activities must be reported according to the policies, procedures and guidelines of the Commission on Colleges and must be in compliance with the Criteria. If an institution fails to follow the procedures outlined in the above policy, its total accreditation will be placed in jeopardy.

 The Commission on Colleges takes no position on collective bargaining agreements, neither encouraging nor discouraging them. When an institution's purpose, policies or procedures are modified by collective bargaining agreements, the modifications do not affect the application of the Criteria, the self-study, the evaluation, or the reporting processes. The impact of a collective bargaining agreement will be included in the accreditation process when appropriate. When accreditation-related recommendations or suggestions are sent to an institution, they are intended to strengthen the total institution, not to influence collective bargaining negotiations.

The Commission on Colleges maintains a policy and procedure for considering formal complaints regarding member or candidate institutions. (See Commission policy statement "Complaints Against Institutions").

1.2.3 Each institution must have adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints.

The Commission evaluates not only compliance with specific criteria but also the effectiveness of the institution as a whole and the environment in which teaching and learning occurs. Assessment of the overall effectiveness of an institution derived through the peer evaluation process, rather than simple compliance with specific criteria, shall be an overriding factor in the Commission's determination of whether to confer, or to continue, the accredited status of an institution. While peer evaluators representing the Commission must apply professional judgment in assessing compliance with the Criteria and assessing overall effectiveness, the final interpretation of the Criteria rests with the Commission.

1.3 Separately Accredited Units
Accreditation of an institution includes all of its units wherever located. A unit of an institution may be separately accredited if a significant portion of responsibility and decision-making authority for its educational activities lies within the unit and not in other units of the institution or system.

It is the responsibility of the Commission on Colleges to determine, following consultation with the chief executive officer of the institution, whether the institution will be considered for accreditation as a whole or whether its units will be considered for separate accreditation, and how the evaluation will be conducted. A unit of an institution or system is eligible for separate accreditation if it is evident that it has a significant degree of autonomy and possesses the attributes which will enable it to comply with the requirements of the Criteria for Accreditation. A unit is required to apply for separate accreditation or to maintain separate membership if, in the judgment of the Commission, the unit exercises this level of autonomy.

If an institution seeks separately accredited status for one of its units, it must notify the Executive Director of the Commission on Colleges of its intent and follow procedures established by the Commission. In all cases, the Commission on Colleges reserves the right to determine the accreditation status of separate units of an institution.

1.4 Conditions of Eligibility
1.4.1 Any institution seeking candidacy must document its compliance with each of the thirteen Conditions of Eligibility to be authorized initiation of a self-study, or to be awarded candidacy or candidacy renewal.

1.4.2 In addition, the institution must provide evidence that it is capable of complying with all requirements of the Criteria and that it will be in compliance by the end of the period allowed for candidacy.

1.4.3 The Conditions of Eligibility are basic qualifications which an institution of higher education must meet to be accredited by the Commission on Colleges. They establish a threshold of development required of an institution seeking initial or continued accreditation by the Commission and reflect the Commission's basic expectations of candidate and member institutions.

1.4.4 Compliance with the Conditions is not sufficient to warrant accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation. Accredited institutions must also demonstrate compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation which holds institutions to appropriately higher standards of quality.

1.4.4.1 In obtaining or maintaining accreditation with the Commission on Colleges, an institution agrees to the following:

    a. That it will comply with the Criteria for Accreditation of the College Delegate Assembly consistent with the policies and procedures of the Commission on Colleges.

    b. That the Commission on Colleges, at its discretion, may make known to any agency or member of the public requiring such information, the nature of any action, positive or negative, regarding the institution's status with the Commission.

    c. That it will comply with Commission requests, directives, decisions and policies, and will make complete, accurate and honest disclosure. Failure to do so is sufficient reason, in and of itself, for the Commission to impose a sanction, or to deny or revoke candidacy or accreditation.

1.4.4.2 The institution must have formal authority from an appropriate government agency or agencies located within the geographic jurisdiction of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees.

1.4.4.3 The institution must have a governing board of at least five members, which has the authority and duty to ensure that the mission of the institution is implemented.

1.4.4.3.1 The governing board is the legal body responsible for the institution. Evidence must be provided that the board is an active policy-making body for the institution.

 1.4.4.3.2 The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the financial resources of the institution are used to provide a sound educational program.

1.4.4.3.3 The board must not be controlled by a minority of board members or by organizations or interests separate from the board.

1.4.4.3.4 The presiding officer of the board must have no contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interest in the institution.

1.4.4.3.5 The majority of the other voting members must have no contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interest in the institution.

1.4.4.3.6 The bylaws of the board or other legal documents must ensure appropriate continuity in the board membership, usually by staggered terms of adequate length. The bylaws or other legal documents must ensure the independence of the board. Amendment of the bylaws must occur only by vote of the board after reasonable deliberation.

1.4.4.4 The institution must have a chief executive officer whose primary responsibility is to the institution. The chief executive officer must not be the presiding officer of the board.

1.4.4.5 The institution must be in operation and have students enrolled in degree programs at the time of the committee visit.

1.4.4.6 The institution must offer one or more degree programs based on at least two academic years at the associate level, at least four academic years at the baccalaureate level, or at least one academic year at the post-baccalaureate level.

1.4.4.6.1 The institution may make arrangements for some instruction to be provided by other accredited institutions or entities through contracts or consortia. However, the institution itself must provide instruction for all coursework required for at least one degree program at each level at which it awards degrees.

1.4.4.6.2 Any alternative approach to meeting this requirement must be approved by the Commission on Colleges.

1.4.4.6.3 In all cases, the institution must be able to demonstrate that it evaluates all aspects of its educational programs.

1.4.4.6.4 The institution's degree programs must be compatible with its stated purpose and based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education. Institutions may experiment in developing and defining new fields of study, but the Commission cannot evaluate for membership an institution that offers only programs which represent fields of study that are outside of the expertise of the Commission's accredited institutions.

1.4.4.7 The institution must have a clearly defined, published statement of purpose appropriate to an institution of higher education.

1.4.4.8 The institution must have an appropriate plan, as well as a functioning planning and evaluation process, which identifies and integrates projected educational, physical and financial development, and incorporates procedures for program review and institutional improvement.

1.4.4.9 The institution must have published admission policies compatible with its stated purpose.

1.4.4.10 All undergraduate degree programs of the institution must include a substantial component of general education courses at the collegiate level.

1.4.4.10.1 For degree completion in associate programs, the component must constitute a minimum of 15 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours and for baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours.

1.4.4.10.2 The credit hours must be drawn from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural sciences/mathematics.

1.4.4.10.3 The courses must be designed to ensure breadth of knowledge and must not be narrowly focused on those skills, techniques and procedures peculiar to a particular occupation or profession.

1.4.4.11 The number of full-time faculty members must be adequate to provide effective teaching, advising and scholarly or creative activity.

1.4.4.11.1 In each major in a degree program, there must be at least one full-time faculty member with responsibility for supervision and coordination of the major. In those degree programs for which the institution does not identify a major, this requirement applies to a curricular area or concentration.

1.4.4.12 The institution must have sufficient learning resources or, through formal agreements or appropriate technology, ensure the provision of and ready access to adequate learning resources and services to support the courses, programs and degrees offered.

1.4.4.13 The institution must have an adequate financial base to accomplish its purpose at an acceptable level of quality on a continuing basis.

1.4.4.13.1 The institution must provide financial statements and related documents (as specified in Section 6.3.6) which accurately and appropriately represent the total operation of the institution.

1.4.4.13.2 An institution, whether a part of a system or not, which is seeking initial candidacy for membership, candidacy renewal or initial membership, must include in its application separate institutional audits and management letters for its three most recent fiscal years, including that for the fiscal year ending immediately prior to the date of the submission of the application.

1.4.4.13.3 Further, it must have available the audit and management letter for the most recent fiscal year ending immediately prior to any committee visit for candidacy, candidacy renewal, or initial membership.

 1.4.4.13.4 These audits must be conducted by independent certified public accountants or an appropriate governmental auditing agency.

1.4.4.13.5 An applicant or candidate institution mustnot show an annual or cumulative operating deficit at any time during the application process or at any time during candidacy.

1.5 Initial Membership
 An institution seeking initial membership (accreditation), in addition to fulfilling requirements outlined in the Criteria, must document its compliance with all Conditions of Eligibility and have been in operation- i.e., have, without interruption, enrolled students in degree programs-through at least one complete degree program cycle and have graduated at least one class at the level of the highest degree offered prior to action by the Commission on Colleges.

1.6 Representation of Status
 An institution must be accurate in reporting to the public its status and relationship with the Commission. In catalogs, brochures and advertisements a member institution must describe its relationship with the Commission only according to the following statement:

(Name of institution) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097: Telephone number 404-679-4500) to award (name specific degree levels).

For institutions in Candidacy status:

(Name of institution) is a Candidate for Accreditation with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane. Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097: Telephone number 404-679-4500) to award (name specific degree levels).

(Note: Effective January 1996, candidacy for substantive change will no longer be a Commission status, except for those institutions currently candidates at a new degree levels. Therefore, member institutions which are current candidates at new degree levels must continue to use the following statement:

(Name of institution) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097: Telephone number 404-679-4500) to award (name specific degree levels) and is a Candidate for Accreditation to award the (name specific degree level).

No statement may be made about possible future accreditation status with the Commission on Colleges. The logo or seal of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools must not be used by the institution.
 

SECTION II Institutional Purpose



 2.1 An institution must have a clearly defined purpose or mission statement appropriate to collegiate education as well as to its own specific educational role.

2.2 This statement must describe the institution and its characteristics and address the components of the institution and its operations.

2.3 The official posture and practice of the institution must be consistent with its purpose statement.

2.4 Appropriate publications must accurately cite the current statement of purpose.

2.5 The formulation of a statement of purpose represents a major educational decision. It should be developed through the efforts of the institution's faculty, administration and governing board.

2.6 It must be approved by the governing board.

2.7 An institution must study periodically its statement of purpose, considering internal changes as well as the changing responsibilities of the institution to its constituencies.

2.8 The statement of purpose serves as the foundation for all institutional operations, programs and activities. Consequently, the institution must demonstrate that its planning and evaluation processes, educational programs, educational support services, financial and physical resources, and administrative processes are adequate and appropriate to fulfill its stated purpose.

SECTION III Institutional Effectiveness



The concept of institutional effectiveness is at the heart of the Commission's philosophy of accreditation and is central to institutional programs and operations. It pervades the Criteria for Accreditation. This concept presumes that each member institution is engaged in an ongoing quest for quality and can demonstrate how well it fulfills its stated purpose. The quality and effectiveness of education provided by each member institution are major considerations in accreditation decisions. Although evaluation of educational quality and effectiveness is a difficult task requiring careful analysis and professional judgment, each member institution is expected to document quality and effectiveness by employing a comprehensive system of planning and evaluation in all major aspects of the institution.

The Commission advocates no single interpretation of the concept of institutional effectiveness. It does, however, expect each member institution to develop a broad-based system to determine institutional effectiveness appropriate to its own context and purpose, to use the purpose statement as the foundation of planning and evaluation, to employ a variety of assessment methods, and to demonstrate use of the results of the planning and evaluation process for the improvement of both educational programs and support activities. Educational quality will be judged finally by how effectively the institution achieves its established goals.

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.

3.1 Planning and Evaluation: Educational Programs
3.1.1 Educational activities of an institution include teaching, research and public service. Planning and evaluation for these activities must be systematic, broad based, interrelated and appropriate to the institution.

3.1.2 The institution must define its expected educational results and describe its methods for analyzing the results. The institution must

3.1.2.1 establish a clearly defined purpose appropriate to collegiate education

3.1.2.2 formulate educational goals consistent with the institution's purpose

3.1.2.3 develop and implement procedures to evaluate the extent to which these educational goals are being achieved

3.1.2.4 use the results of these evaluations to improve educational programs, services and operations.

3.1.3 The institution must develop guidelines and procedures to evaluate educational effectiveness, including the quality of student learning and of research and service.

3.1.4 This evaluation must encompass educational goals at all academic levels and research and service functions of the institution. The evaluation of academic programs should involve gathering and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrate student achievement.

Measures to evaluate academic programs and general education may include the following: evaluation of instructional delivery; adequacy of facilities and equipment; standardized tests; analysis of theses, portfolios, and recitals; completion rates; results of admissions tests for students applying to graduate or professional schools; job placement rates; results of licensing examinations; evaluations by employers; follow-up studies of alumni; and performance of student transfers at receiving institutions.

3.1.5 The institution must evaluate its success with respect to student achievement in relation to purpose, including, as appropriate, consideration of course completion, state licensing examinations, and job placement rates.

3.2 Planning and Evaluation: Administrative and Educational Support Services
3.2.1 In addition to providing evidence of planning and evaluation in its educational program, the institution must demonstrate planning and evaluation in its administrative and educational support services.

3.2.2 For each administrative and educational support service unit, the institution must

 3.2.2.1 establish a clearly defined purpose which supports the institution's purpose and goals

 3.2.2.2 formulate goals which support the purpose of each unit

 3.2.2.3 develop and implement procedures to evaluate the extent to which these goals are being achieved in each unit

 3.2.2.4 use the results of the evaluations to improve administrative and educational support services.

 Each unit, in its planning and evaluation processes, should consider internal and external factors and should develop evaluation methods which will yield information useful to the planning processes of that unit.

 3.3 Institutional Research
3.3.1 Institutional research must be an integral part of the institution's planning and evaluation process.

3.3.2 It must be effective in collecting and analyzing data and disseminating results.

3.3.3 An institution must regularly evaluate the effectiveness of its institutional research process and use its findings for the improvement of its process.

The institutional research process may be centralized or decentralized but should include the following activities: ongoing timely data collection, analysis and dissemination; use of external studies and reports; design and implementation of internal studies related to students, personnel, facilities, equipment, programs, services and fiscal resources; development of data bases suitable for longitudinal studies and statistical analyses; and related activities in support of planning, evaluation and management.

3.3.4 Institutions must assign administrative responsibility for conducting institutional research, allocate adequate resources, and allow access to relevant information.

SECTION IV Educational Program



The Commission expects each member institution to focus its resources and energies on the education of its students consistent with its purpose. Effectiveness in all educational programs, delivery systems, and support structures should be the primary goal of every institution. An effective institution of higher education demonstrates attention to curricular consistencies, pedagogical competence, student accomplishment, intellectual inquisitiveness, personal and professional development, ethical consciousness, academic freedom, faculty support, and an environment conducive to learning. It prepares its students to function in an increasingly diverse, complex and global society by imparting to them not only a mastery of a body of knowledge and technical skills but also by providing opportunities for them to develop enhanced communication skills and the ability to reason critically.

The principles of institutional effectiveness as outlined in Section III pertain to all academic programs and units 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.

4.1 General Requirements of the Educational Program
4.1.1 All aspects of the educational program must be clearly related to the purpose of the institution.

4.1.2 The institution must provide a competent faculty, adequate library/learning resources, and appropriate computer resources, instructional materials/equipment and physical facilities.

4.1.3 The student enrollment and financial resources of an institution must be sufficient to support an effective educational program.

4.1.4 In addition, the institution must ensure appropriate levels of student achievement and equivalent quality of programs regardless of method of instruction or location of program.

4.2 Undergraduate Program

4.2.1 Undergraduate Admission

4.2.1.1 General admission policies must be established by the governing board on recommendation of the administration.

4.2.1.2 The board is responsible for deciding the size and character of the student body.

4.2.1.3 Implementation of specific admission policies, however, is the responsibility of the administration and faculty of the institution.

4.2.1.4 The unit responsible for administering the policies must be clearly identified.

4.2.1.5 In those institutions in which various subdivisions maintain separate admission requirements, there must be institution-wide coordination of all admission policies and procedures.

4.2.1.6 Admission policies must be consistent with the educational purposes of the institution.

4.2.1.7 They must include qualitative and quantitative requirements that identify students who demonstrate reasonable potential for success at the institution.

4.2.1.8 An institution admitting students with deficiencies in their preparation for collegiate study must offer appropriate developmental or remedial support to assist these students. Diagnostic testing should be an important element of a developmental or remedial program.

4.2.1.9 Each institution must regularly evaluate its admission policies.

4.2.1.10 It is the responsibility of the institution to ensure that its recruiting activities and materials accurately and truthfully portray the institution.

4.2.1.11 To be admitted to degree programs, applicants must show evidence of high school graduation or other successful experiences which reasonably predict their ability to make satisfactory progress at the institution.

4.2.1.12 Each institution must assess and justify the appropriateness of experiences offered in lieu of a high school diploma.

4.2.1.13 Procedures established for implementation of institutional admission policies must be followed in the admission of all students.

4.2.1.14 The institution must provide evidence that it selects students whose interests and capabilities are consistent with the admission policies. An institution's admission and retention policies should not be compromised to maintain a desired enrollment.

4.2.1.15 An institution must clearly define and publish its policy on the admission of transfer students.

4.2.1.16 The policy must include the following: the requirement for official transcripts of credits earned from all institutions of higher education previously attended; qualitative and quantitative criteria determining the acceptability of transfer work; criteria regarding the award of advanced standing, whether by credit earned at another institution, by advanced placement examinations, or through experiential learning; and conditions governing admission in good standing, admission on probation, and provisional admission.

4.2.1.17 Institutions which award credit based on advanced placement or other examinations; training provided by non-collegiate institutions, such as armed forces and service schools; professional certification; or experiential learning must meet the following conditions governing the award of such credit:

4.2.1.17.1 The amount of credit awarded is clearly stated and is in accord with commonly accepted good practice in higher education.

4.2.1.17.2 Credit is awarded only in areas offered within the current curriculum of the institution, and is appropriately related to the student's educational programs.

4.2.1.17.3 Decisions regarding the awarding of credit and the determination of such credit are made by qualified faculty members at the institution, or according to procedures and standards approved by qualified faculty. The institution demonstrates that assessment procedures verify that the credit awarded is appropriate.

4.2.1.18 In awarding credit for prior experiential learning, the institution must (1) award credit only for documented learning which demonstrates achievement of all outcomes for specific courses in an approved degree program; (2) award credit only to matriculated students, identify such credit on the student's transcript as credit for prior experiential learning and, upon request from another institution, document how such learning was evaluated and the basis on which such credit was awarded; (3) ensure that credit for prior experiential learning does not duplicate credit already awarded or remaining courses planned for the student's academic program; (4) adopt, describe in appropriate institutional publications, implement and regularly review policies and procedures for awarding credit for experiential learning; and (5) clearly describe, and establish the validity of, the evaluation process and criteria for awarding credit for prior experiential learning.

4.2.1.19 The institution must inform transfer students of the amount of credit which will transfer, preferably prior to their enrollment, but at least prior to the end of the first academic term in which they are enrolled.

4.2.1.20 Coursework transferred or accepted for credit toward an undergraduate degree must represent collegiate coursework relevant to the degree, with course content and level of instruction resulting in student competencies at least equivalent to those of students enrolled in the institution's own undergraduate degree programs. In assessing and documenting equivalent learning and qualified faculty, an institution may use recognized guides which aid in the evaluation for credit. Such guides include those published by the American Council on Education, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and the National Association of Foreign Student Affairs.

4.2.1.21 There must be clearly defined policies regarding the academic dismissal, suspension and readmission of students.

4.2.1.22 Readmission of students dismissed or suspended for academic reasons must be consistent with the academic policies of the institution.

4.2.2 Undergraduate Completion Requirements

4.2.2.1 In each degree program, there must be an appropriate sequence of courses leading to the degree.

 4.2.2.2 An institution must publish the requirements for each degree it awards.

4.2.2.3 The requirements must be appropriate to the degree offered and must specify the total credits, the number and distribution of general education credits, the number of credits to be earned in the major or area of concentration, the number of electives, standards for satisfactory progress, and other degree requirements.

4.2.2.4 Undergraduate degree programs must contain a basic core of general education courses. A minimum of 15 semester hours for associate programs and a minimum of 30 semester hours for baccalaureate programs are required for degree completion.

4.2.2.5 The core must include at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural sciences/mathematics.

4.2.2.6 The institution must demonstrate that its graduates of degree programs are competent in reading, writing, oral communication, fundamental mathematical skills and the basic use of computers.

4.2.2.7 An institution must clearly define what is meant by a major or an area of concentration and must state the number of credits required for each.

4.2.2.8 An adequate number of hours with appropriate prerequisites must be required in courses above the elementary level.

4.2.2.9 For degree completion, at least 25 percent of semester credit hours, or the equivalent quarter hours, must be earned through instruction by the institution awarding the degree.

4.2.2.10 All courses, other than those identified by the institution as developmental/remedial, offered by an institution for credit must be acceptable as requirements or electives applicable to at least one of its own degree or certificate programs or must be clearly identified on transcripts as not applicable to any of the institution's own degree or certificate programs.

 4.2.3 Undergraduate Curriculum

 4.2.3.1 Curricula must be directly related and appropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution and the diplomas, certificates or degrees awarded; to the ability and preparation of the students admitted; and to the financial and instructional resources of the institution.

4.2.3.2 The institution must have a clearly defined process by which the curriculum is established, reviewed and evaluated.

4.2.3.3 This process must recognize the various roles of the faculty, the administration and the governing board.

4.2.3.4 For each major in a degree program, the institution must assign responsibility for program coordination, as well as for curriculum development and review, to persons academically qualified in the field.

4.2.3.5 At least one full-time faculty member with appropriate credentials, as defined in Section 4.8.2, must have primary teaching assignment in the major. In those degree programs for which the institution does not identify a major, the above requirements apply to a curricular area or a concentration.

4.2.3.6 The governing board must be responsible for approving the number and types of degrees; the number and nature of departments, divisions, schools or colleges through which the curriculum is administered; and the extent to which the institution should offer distance learning programs.

4.2.3.7 The administration and faculty must be responsible for the development of academic programs recommended to the governing board.

4.2.3.8 They are also responsible for implementing and monitoring the general curriculum policy and the academic programs approved by the board.

4.2.3.9 There should be an institution-wide process to coordinate programmatic and curricular changes. The institution should avoid the unwarranted proliferation of course offerings and degree programs. The development of new educational programs should be considered only after the institution has completed a needs assessment and has identified resources to support the programs. The institution should proceed only after careful review by appropriate faculty and administrative bodies, approval by the governing board, and any necessary review and approval by state or other agencies.

4.2.3.10 Curricula intended to provide basic preparation for students who will subsequently transfer to another institution must be designed to consider the institutions to which these students transfer. Associate and baccalaureate degree-granting institutions should work cooperatively to develop articulation agreements. The agreements should be evaluated periodically to ensure an equitable and efficient transfer of students.

4.2.3.11 "'Inverted," "two plus two" and similar programs must include an adequate amount of advanced coursework in the subject field.

4.2.3.12 Institutions which enter into programmatic partnerships with secondary schools which result in the award of college credit, such as technical and dual enrollment programs, must ensure that the credit awarded is at the collegiate level and is in compliance with the Criteria and with Section IV in particular.

4.2.3.12.1 Partnerships must be evaluated regularly by the participating institution of higher education.

4.2.3.12.2 The participating institution must assume full responsibility for the academic quality and integrity of partnerships as measured by the Criteria.

4.2.4 Undergraduate Instruction

 4.2.4.1 Instructional techniques and policies must be in accord with the purpose of the institution and be appropriate to the specific goals of an individual course.

4.2.4.2 Instruction must be evaluated regularly and the results used to ensure quality instruction.

4.2.4.3 Students must be provided written information about the goals and requirements of each course, the nature of the course content, and the methods of evaluation to be employed.

4.2.4.4 Methods of instruction must be appropriate to the goals of each course and the capabilities of the students.

4.2.4.5 Experimentation with methods to improve instruction must be adequately supported and critically evaluated.

4.2.4.6 An institution must use a variety of means to evaluate student performance.

 4.2.4.7 The evaluation must reflect concern for quality and properly discern levels of student performance.

 4.2.4.8 An institution must publish its grading policies, and its grading practices must be consistent with policy.

 4.2.4.9 The institution must evaluate the effectiveness of its instructional program by a variety of techniques, which may include the following: use of standardized tests and comprehensive examinations, assessment of the performance of graduates in advanced programs or employment, and sampling of the opinions of former students.

 4.2.4.10 Courses offered in non-traditional formats, e.g., concentrated or abbreviated time periods, must be designed to ensure an opportunity for preparation, reflection and analysis concerning the subject matter. At least one calendar week of reflection and analysis should be provided to students for each semester hour, or equivalent quarter hours, of undergraduate credit awarded.

 4.2.4.11 The institution must demonstrate that students completing these programs or courses have acquired equivalent levels of knowledge and competencies to those acquired in traditional formats.

 4.2.4.12 Effective instruction depends largely upon the maintenance of an environment conducive to study and learning. Therefore, an institution of higher education must provide for its students a learning environment in which scholarly and creative achievement is encouraged.

 4.2.4.13 In certain professional, vocational and technical programs (for example, allied health programs), clinical and other affiliations with outside agencies may be necessary. In all such cases, learning experiences for which credit is awarded must be under the ultimate control and supervision of the educational institution.

 4.2.4.14 The institution must demonstrate that an effective relationship exists between curricular content and current practices in the field of specialization.

 4.2.4.15 An institution must demonstrate that program length, clock hours or credit hours, and tuition and fee charges are appropriate for the degrees and credentials it offers.

 4.2.5 Academic Advising of Undergraduate Students

 4.2.5.1 Each institution must conduct a systematic, effective program of undergraduate academic advising. A qualified advisor should be assigned early in the student's program and should recognize the individuality of students and their particular needs and goals. Advisors should be proficient in using data to help determine students' major fields of interest, should have access to each advisee's records, and should have appropriate training or background and experience to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

 4.2.5.2 An institution must ensure that the number of advisees assigned to faculty or professional staff is reasonable.

 4.2.5.3 An effective orientation program must be made available to all full- and part-time undergraduate students.

 4.2.5.4 Orientation and advisement programs must be evaluated regularly and used to enhance assistance to students.

 4.3 Graduate Program

 4.3.1 Initiation, Operation and Expansion of Graduate Programs

 4.3.1.1 The administration and faculty must be responsible for the development of new academic programs recommended to the governing board.

 4.3.1.2 A graduate program must have curricula and resources substantially beyond those provided for an undergraduate program.

 4.3.1.3 Research, scholarly activity and/or advanced professional training must be included in graduate studies and supported by adequate resources.

 4.3.1.4 An institution must provide a competent and productive faculty, adequate library and learning resources, adequate computer and laboratory facilities, and an appropriate administrative organization.

 4.3.1.5 An undergraduate institution planning to initiate its first graduate program, a graduate institution planning to initiate a program at a degree level higher than that already approved, or a graduate institution planning to initiate a program at the same level but substantially different from those already approved must inform the Executive Director of the Commission on Colleges in advance of the admission of students. (See the Commission document, "General Substantive Change Policy for Accredited Institutions." ) The institution also must document that any necessary approval from state or other agencies has been secured.

 4.3.1.6 Before an institution moves from baccalaureate to graduate status, or attempts to expand the number of its graduate programs at the same level, it must demonstrate that it has conducted a thorough assessment of needs, market and environmental factors, and resource requirements and financial implications for the institution. (See Commission document "General Substantive Change Policy for Accredited Institutions".)

 4.3.1.7 Institutions must maintain strong educational programs at the master's and/or baccalaureate levels before attempting doctoral programs, or must justify their departure from the requirement. Free-standing graduate and professional schools are exempted from this requirement. However, they must demonstrate not only the strength of their individual programs, but also that students admitted have met undergraduate requirements specified for the program.

 4.3.2 Graduate Admission

 4.3.2.1 An institution must establish qualitative and quantitative requirements which result in the admission of students whose educational preparation indicates the potential for a high level of performance.

 4.3.2.2 Admission criteria typically include an appropriate baccalaureate degree. In cases where the baccalaureate degree is not required, the institution must demonstrate that the student has adequate educational preparation to complete the graduate program.

 4.3.2.3 Admission procedures must include the requirement that an applicant submit, as part of the formal application process, official undergraduate transcripts of credit earned from all institutions of higher education previously attended; and other appropriate documents, such as official reports on nationally recognized aptitude tests and evaluations by professionals in the field as to the readiness of an applicant for graduate work. When possible, an interview with the applicant should also be arranged.

 4.3.2.4 Admission criteria for all graduate programs must be published.

 4.3.2.5 Coursework transferred or accepted for credit toward a graduate degree must represent graduate coursework relevant to the degree, with course content and level of instruction resulting in student competencies at least equivalent to those of students enrolled in the institution's own graduate degree programs. In assessing and documenting equivalent learning and qualified faculty, institutions may use recognized guides which aid in the evaluation for credit. Such guides include those published by the American Council on Education, the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, and the National Association of Foreign Student Affairs.

 4.3.2.6 Graduate credit must not be awarded for portfolio based experiential learning which occurs prior to the matriculation into a graduate program and which has not been under the supervision of the institution. This limitation on the award of credit for experiential learning does not preclude practices such as internships and field experiences that are an integral part of a graduate program and are conducted under the supervision of the institution. In those exceptional individual cases, however, an institution may award graduate credit for portfolio-based experiential learning which occurs prior to the student's matriculation into a graduate program. Justification for an exception must include adequate documentation that the institution: (a) awards credit only for documented learning which ties the prior experience to the theories and data of the relevant academic field; (b) awards credit only to a matriculated student, identifies such credit on the student's transcript as credit for prior experiential learning, and is prepared, upon request from another institution, to document how such learning was evaluated and the basis on which such credit was awarded; (c) takes steps to ensure that credit for prior experiential learning does not duplicate credit already awarded for courses in the student's academic program; (d) adopts, describes in appropriate institutional publications, implements, and regularly reviews policies and procedures for awarding credit for experiential learning; and (e) clearly describes, and establishes the validity of, the evaluation process and criteria for awarding credit for prior experiential learning.

 4.3.2.7 Separate admission criteria must be formulated for each level of graduate work offered.

 4.3.2.8 Policies must clearly define probation or conditional admission, if any, including the requirements for conditional admission and how long a student may remain in that status.

 4.3.2.9 Admission criteria for each graduate program must be established with representation by the faculty responsible for instruction in that program.

 4.3.2.10 An institution must publish both the general criteria for admission and any special admission criteria for individual programs.

 4.3.2.11 It must regularly evaluate its admission policies.

4.3.3 Graduate Completion Requirements

 4.3.3.1 General completion requirements for graduate degrees offered by an institution must be determined by the faculty or an appropriate body representing the faculty.

 4.3.3.2 Policies governing these requirements must include the following: the specified period of time for degree completion, requirements governing residency, thesis and dissertation requirements (when applicable), the minimum number of credit hours required for the degree, the minimum acceptable grade-point average, standards for satisfactory academic progress, the level of academic progress at which the student should apply for candidacy, and the types of qualifying and exit examinations the candidate must pass.

 4.3.3.3 These requirements, along with any others developed by the institution, must be published and distributed to all incoming graduate students and be appropriate to the degree and program being offered.

 4.3.3.4 If individual academic units develop special completion requirements for their graduate programs, these requirements must be published in the official catalog.

 4.3.3.5 All courses offered by an institution for credit must be acceptable as requirements or electives applicable to at least one of its own degree or certificate programs or must be clearly identified on transcripts as not applicable to any of the institution's own degree or certificate programs.

4.3.4 Graduate Curriculum

 4.3.4.1 An institution offering graduate work must be able to demonstrate that it maintains a substantial difference between undergraduate and graduate instruction.

 4.3.4.2 Graduate study must be at a level of complexity and specialization that extends the knowledge and intellectual maturity of the student.

 4.3.4.3 It must require graduate students to analyze, explore, question, reconsider and synthesize old and new knowledge and skills.

 4.3.4.4 The graduate curriculum must afford the depth of education, the specialized skills, and the sense of creative independence that will allow the graduate to practice in and contribute to a profession or field of scholarship.

 4.3.4.5 Combined instruction of graduate and undergraduate students, if permitted at all, must be structured to ensure appropriate attention to both groups.

 4.3.4.6 The curricular offerings must be clearly and accurately described in published materials.

4.3.4.7 Curricula must be directly related and appropriate to the purpose and goals of the institution and the degree program, and to the financial and instructional resources of the institution.

 4.3.4.8 The institution must have a clearly defined process by which the curriculum is established, reviewed and evaluated.

 4.3.4.9 The faculty and administration are responsible for implementing and monitoring the general curriculum policy and the academic programs approved by the board. There should be an institution-wide process to coordinate programmatic and curricular changes.

 4.3.4.10 The governing board must be responsible for approving the number and types of degrees; the number and nature of departments, divisions, schools or colleges through which the curriculum is administered; and the extent to which the institution should offer distance learning programs.

 4.3.4.11 An institution must make a distinction between a course of study leading to the master's or specialist degree and a course of study leading to the doctorate.

 4.3.4.12 A program leading to a master's or to a specialist degree must be the equivalent of at least one year of full-time graduate study.

 4.3.4.13 A master's or a specialist degree must provide the following: an understanding of research and the manner in which research is conducted; an understanding of the subject matter, literature, theory and methodology of the discipline; an association with resident faculty sufficient to permit their individual evaluation of the candidate's capabilities; and demonstrated means of certifying the knowledge and skills the candidate has acquired.

 4.3.4.14 A non-research-oriented professional master's degree requires an understanding of the accepted professional practices in the field.

 4.3.4.15 The institution must demonstrate that an effective relationship exists between curricular content and current practices in the field of specialization.

 4.3.4.16 The institution must demonstrate that program length, credit hours, and tuition and fees are appropriate for its master's and specialist degrees and any other credential it offers.

 4.3.4.17 A doctoral degree program must be of sufficient duration to provide for substantial mastery of the subject matter, theory, literature, research and methodology of a significant part of the field, including any language or other skills necessary to its pursuit, and independent research as evidenced by a doctoral dissertation.

 4.3.4.18 A substantial period of residence must be included to provide student access to a wide range of support facilities, including a research library, cultural events and other occasions for intellectual growth associated with campus life, significant faculty/student interaction, opportunities for student exposure to and engagement with cognate disciplines and research scholars working in those disciplines, and significant peer interaction among graduate students. It should provide the opportunity for a mentoring apprentice relationship between faculty and students as well as adequate time for in-depth faculty evaluation of students.

 4.3.4.19 For appropriate professional programs, a project may be substituted for the research dissertation. In such cases, the institution must demonstrate a substantial level of competency appropriate to a doctoral degree.

 4.3.4.20 There must be appropriate and regular means for determining candidacy and the fulfillment of degree requirements.

4.3.4.21 The institution must demonstrate that an effective relationship exists between curricular content and current practices in the field of specialization.

4.3.4.22 The institution must demonstrate that program length, credit hours, and tuition and fees are appropriate for its doctoral degrees.

4.3.4.23 The institution must conduct frequent systematic evaluations of graduate curricula offerings and program requirements.

4.3.4.24 An institution must integrate research with instruction. Follow up of students is one method of testing the effectiveness of the graduate curriculum.

4.3.5 Graduate Instruction

4.3.5.1 The effectiveness of a graduate program depends largely on the scholarly stimulation obtained when a group of students interacts with faculty in complementary specialties. For this reason, graduate faculty members should be productive, creative scholars readily accessible to their students. The institution must provide an environment which supports and encourages scholarly interaction and accessibility among the faculty and students consistent with the qualitative intent of the Criteria.

4.3.5.2 Instructional methods and delivery systems must provide students with the opportunity to achieve the stated objectives of a course or program.

4.3.5.3 Students must be informed of the goals and requirements of each course, the nature of the course content, and the methods of evaluation to be employed.

4.3.5.4 Methods of instruction must be appropriate for students at the specified level of graduate study.

 4.3.5.5 Experimentation with methods to improve instruction must be adequately supported and critically evaluated.

4.3.5.6 The institution must use a variety of means to evaluate student performance.

 4.3.5.7 This evaluation must reflect concern for quality and properly discern levels of student performance.

 4.3.5.8 An institution must publish its grading policies, and its grading practices must be consistent with policy.

 4.3.5.9 Courses offered in non-traditional formats, e.g., concentrated or abbreviated time periods, must be designed to ensure an opportunity for preparation, reflection and analysis concerning the subject matter. At least one calendar week of reflection and analysis should be provided to students for each semester hour, or equivalent quarter hours, of graduate credit awarded.

 4.3.5.10 The institution must demonstrate that students completing these programs or courses have acquired equivalent levels of knowledge and competencies to those acquired in traditional formats.

 4.3.5.11 There must be provision for assigning students to their advisors or directors, appointing their graduate committees, and monitoring their academic progress.

 4.3.5.12 There must be frequent, systematic evaluation of graduate instruction and, if appropriate, revision of the instructional process based on the results of this evaluation. Information gained from the follow up of current or former students is one method of testing the effectiveness of graduate instruction.

 4.3.6 Academic Advising of Graduate Students

4.3.6.1 Each institution must conduct a systematic, effective program of graduate academic advising. A qualified advisor should be assigned early in the student's program and should recognize the individuality of students and their particular needs and goals. Advisors should be proficient in using data to help determine students' major fields of interest, should have access to each advisee's records, and should have appropriate training or background and experience to carry out their responsibilities effectively.

 4.3.6.2 An institution must ensure that the number of advisees assigned to faculty or professional staff is reasonable.

 4.3.6.3 An effective orientation program must be made available to all full- and part-time graduate students.

 4.3.6.4 Orientation and advisement programs must be evaluated regularly and used to enhance effective assistance to students.

 4.4 Publications
 4.4.1 The content and design of publications produced and distributed by an institution must be accurate and consistent in describing the institution and rigorously adhere to principles of good educational practice.

 4.4.2 An institution must make available to students and the public accurate, current catalogs or other official publications containing the following information: entrance requirements and procedures; admissions criteria and policies, including the admission of transfer students; rules of conduct; academic calendar: degree completion requirements; full-time faculty and degrees held; costs and financial obligations; refund policies; and other items relative to attending the institution or withdrawing from it. (See Commission document "Institutional Advertising, Student Recruitment and Representation of Accredited Status.")

4.5 Distance Learning Programs
 The Commission recognizes the legitimacy of distance learning, such as that conveyed through off-campus classroom programs, external degree programs, branch campuses, correspondence courses, and various programs using electronically-based instruction offered geographically distant from the main campus.

4.5.1 An institution must formulate clear and explicit goals for its distance learning programs and demonstrate that they are consistent with the institution's stated purpose.

 4.5.2 Further, an institution must demonstrate that it achieves these goals and that its distance learning programs are effective and comply with all applicable Criteria.

 4.6 Continuing Education, Outreach and Service Programs
 The demands placed on individuals in today's society require many to engage in life-long education. Most institutions of higher education have incorporated into their purpose an extension and public service component to provide for life-long learning opportunities. These opportunities are often referred to as continuing education, extension education, outreach, or public and community service programs. Such programs may be credit or non-credit, may be offered on or off campus, and may be offered through a variety of delivery systems.

 4.6.1 Continuing education and outreach and service programs must be clearly related to the purpose of the institution. All continuing education programs, both credit and non-credit, must be evaluated regularly.

 4.6.2 All continuing education and outreach and service programs offered for credit must comply with the requirements of the Criteria, and with Section IV in particular.

4.6.3 For non-credit continuing education programs, the institution should follow national guidelines for the recording of Continuing Education Units. (See Commission on Colleges' document C.E.U.: Guidelines and Criteria.)

 4.6.4 For outreach and service programs, an institution must provide the resources and services necessary to support the programs and must evaluate the programs regularly.

 4.6.5 An institution planning to initiate, through continuing education or outreach programs, a degree program must inform the Executive Director of the Commission on Colleges in advance of program implementation. (See Commission document "General Substantive Change Policy for Accredited Institutions.")

 4.6.6 An institution must not award academic credit for work taken on a non-credit basis without appropriate documentation that the non-credit coursework is equivalent to a designated credit experience.

 4.6.7 In such cases, the institution must document that the credit awarded for non-credit coursework represents collegiate coursework relevant to the degree, with course content and level of instruction resulting in student competencies equivalent to those of students in the institution's own degree programs; and coursework taught by faculty members qualified to teach at the appropriate degree level.

 4.6.8 All credit-bearing continuing education courses and activities must comply with the requirements of the Criteria.

 4.7 Student Records
 4.7.1 The institution must have adequate student records for both credit and non-credit courses.

 4.7.2 Official student academic records for credit and non-credit courses should be maintained and stored in one central office at the institution. Complete back-up files, such as facsimiles, microfilm or electronic data banks, should be maintained continually, one set of which should be stored in a secure area outside the records office, preferably in a different building or at an off-site location. The institution must take all steps necessary to ensure the security of its student records, including storage in a secure vault or fireproof cabinet. Since computer generated and stored records present unique security problems, the institution should have in place special security measures to protect and back up the data.

 4.7.3 The institution must have policies concerning what constitutes the permanent record of each student, as well as policies concerning retention and disposal of records.

 4.7.4 It must establish and publish information-release policies which respect the rights of individual privacy, the confidentiality of records, and the best interests of the student and institution.

4.8 Faculty

The selection, development and retention of a competent faculty at all academic levels is of major importance to the educational quality of an institution. The commitment of faculty to institutional purposes determines in large measure the effectiveness of the total educational program.

4.8.0 An institution must provide evidence that it has employed faculty members qualified to accomplish its purpose.

Because of the importance of the faculty, the Commission on Colleges and its committees will give special attention to all criteria pertaining to faculty during institutional evaluations.

4.8.1 Selection of Faculty

4.8.1.1 An institution must show that it has an orderly process for recruiting and appointing its faculty. This process will normally involve developing a pool of qualified candidates and interviewing those who appear to be best qualified. Institutions are encouraged to recruit and select faculty whose highest degree is earned from a broad representation of institutions.

 4.8.1.2 Recruitment and appointment procedures must be described in the faculty handbook or other published documents.

 4.8.1.3 It is expected that an institution will employ faculty members whose highest earned degree presented as the credential qualifying the faculty member to teach at the institution is from a regionally accredited institution.

 4.8.1.4 If an institution employs a faculty member whose highest earned degree is from a non-regionally accredited institution within the United States or an institution outside the United States, the institution must show evidence that the faculty member has appropriate academic preparation.

 4.8.1.5 Institutions must ensure that each faculty member employed is proficient in oral and written communication in the language in which assigned courses will be taught.

 4.8.2 Academic and Professional Preparation

For the purpose of applying the Criteria, a full-time faculty member is one whose major employment is with the institution, whose primary assignment is in teaching and/or research, and whose employment is based on a contract for full-time employees.

Both full-time and part-time faculty must meet the following criteria for academic and professional preparation.

 4.8.2.1 Associate

 4.8.2.1.1 In an associate degree program, full-time and part-time faculty members teaching credit courses in the following areas: humanities/fine arts; social/behavioral sciences; and natural sciences/mathematics must have completed at least 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline and hold at least a master's degree. or hold the minimum of a master's degree with a major in the teaching discipline.

 4.8.2.1.2 In exceptional cases, outstanding professional experience and demonstrated contributions to the teaching discipline may be presented in lieu of formal academic preparation in the above areas. Such cases must be justified by the institution on an individual basis.

 4.8.2.1.3 The Commission encourages interdisciplinary courses and recognizes that appropriate credentials for teaching may vary. The institution must document and justify the academic and professional preparation of faculty members teaching in such courses or programs.

4.8.2.1.4 Each full-time and part-time faculty member teaching courses in professional, occupational and technical areas other than physical activities courses that are components of associate degree programs designed for college transfer, or from which substantial numbers of students transfer to senior institutions, must have completed at least 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline and hold at least a master's degree, or hold the minimum of the master's degree with a major in the teaching discipline.

 4.8.2.1.5 Each full-time and part-time faculty member teaching credit courses in professional, occupational and technical areas that are components of associate degree programs not usually resulting in college transfer, or in the continuation of students in senior institutions, must possess appropriate academic preparation or academic preparation coupled with work experience.

 4.8.2.1.6 The minimum academic degree for faculty teaching in professional, occupational and technical areas must be at the same level at which the faculty member is teaching. The typical combination is a baccalaureate degree with appropriate work experience.

 4.8.2.1.7 In exceptional cases, outstanding professional experience and demonstrated contributions to the teaching discipline may be presented in lieu of forma I academic preparation for faculty members teaching both transfer and non-transfer courses in these areas. Such cases must be justified by the institution on an individual basis.

 4.8.2.1.8 It is the responsibility of the institution to keep on file for all full-time and part-time faculty members documentation of academic preparation, such as official transcripts and, if appropriate for demonstrating competency, official documentation of professional and work experience, technical and performance competency, records of publications, certifications and other qualifications.

 4.8.2.1.9 Non-degree diploma or certificate occupational courses are typically taught by faculty members with some college or specialized training, but with an emphasis on competence gained through work experience. While competency requirements may vary, they should be clearly defined by each institution. In all cases, faculty members must have special competence in the fields in which they teach.

 4.8.2.1.10 It is the responsibility of the institution to keep on file documentation of work experience, certifications and other qualifications if these are to substitute for or supplement formal academic preparation.

 4.8.2.1.11 Faculty members who teach basic computation and communication skills in non-degree occupational programs must have a baccalaureate degree and, ideally, should have work or other experience which helps them relate these skills to the occupational field.

 4.8.2.1.12 Faculty members who teach adult basic education courses below the collegiate level must have a baccalaureate degree, and also should have attributes or experiences which help them relate to the particular needs of the adults they teach.

 4.8.2.1.13 Faculty members who teach in remedial programs must hold a baccalaureate degree in a discipline related to their teaching assignment and have either teaching experience in a discipline related to their assignment or graduate training in remedial education.

 4.8.2.2 Baccalaureate

 4.8.2.2.1 Each full-time and part-time faculty member teaching credit courses leading toward the baccalaureate degree, other than physical education activities courses, must have completed at least 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline and hold at least a master's degree, or hold the minimum of a master's degree with a major in the teaching discipline.

 4.8.2.2.2 In exceptional cases, outstanding professional experience and demonstrated contributions to the teaching discipline may be presented in lieu of formal academic preparation. Such cases must be justified by the institution on an individual basis.

 4.8.2.2.3 The Commission encourages interdisciplinary courses and recognizes that appropriate credentials for teaching may vary. The institution must document and justify the academic and professional preparation of faculty members teaching in such courses or programs.

 4.8.2.2.4 It is the responsibility of the institution to keep on file for all full-time and part-time faculty members documentation of academic preparation, such as official transcripts and, if appropriate for demonstrating competence, official documentation of professional and work experience, technical and performance competency, records of publications, certifications and other qualifications.

 4.8.2.2.5 At least 25 percent of the discipline course hours in each undergraduate major must be taught by faculty members holding the terminal degree, usually the earned doctorate, in that discipline. In some disciplines, the master's degree in the discipline may be considered the terminal degree, such as the M.F.A., the M.S.W., and the M.L.S.; in others, a master's degree in the discipline, coupled with a doctoral degree in a related discipline, is considered appropriate. However, it is the responsibility of the institution to justify the master's degree, or master's in the teaching discipline coupled with a related doctorate, as the terminal degree for faculty members teaching in these disciplines.

 4.8.2.2.6 The above requirement also applies to each major offered through distance learning, including those offered at branches or other sites.

 4.8.2.2.7 Faculty members who teach in remedial programs must hold a baccalaureate degree in a discipline related to their teaching assignment and have either teaching experience in a discipline related to their assignment or graduate training in remedial education.

 4.8.2.3 Graduate

 4.8.2.3.1 Institutions offering either master's or specialist degrees must demonstrate a high level of faculty competence in teaching and scholarship.

 4.8.2.3.2 Institutions offering doctoral degrees must demonstrate the research capability of faculty members teaching in these programs.

 4.8.2.3.3 Eligibility requirements for faculty members teaching graduate courses must be clearly defined and publicized.

 4.8.2.3.4 All institutions must have adequate resources to attract and retain a qualified faculty, especially in the disciplines in which doctoral programs are offered.

 4.8.2.3.5 Faculty members responsible for the direction of doctoral research must be experienced in directing independent study. In addition, those engaged in graduate teaching should demonstrate, by their involvement in institutional activities, their commitment to the academic community, the institution they serve, their students, and their academic disciplines.

 4.8.2.3.6 Each faculty member teaching courses at the master's and specialist degree level must hold the terminal degree, usually the earned doctorate, in the teaching discipline or a related discipline.

 4.8.2.3.7 In some instances, the master's degree in the discipline may be considered the terminal degree, such as the M.F.A., the M.S.W., and the M.L.S.; in others, a master's degree in the discipline coupled with a doctoral degree in a related discipline is considered appropriate. It is the responsibility of the institution to justify the master's degree, or master's in the teaching discipline coupled with a related doctorate, as the terminal degree for faculty members teaching in those disciplines.

 4.8.2.3.8 All faculty members teaching courses at the doctoral degree level must hold the earned doctorate in the teaching discipline or a related discipline.

 4.8.2.3.9 The Commission recognizes that in unusual cases institutions may appropriately include as graduate faculty members those who have demonstrated exceptional scholarly or creative activity, or professional experience, but who may not possess the required academic credentials. There also may be an occasion when a new graduate discipline is in its formative stage in higher education and there are no faculty members available with academic credentials in the discipline. In either case, when an institution presents evidence of competence or academic credentials other than the doctorate in the discipline for its graduate faculty, it must justify the employment of such faculty.

4.8.2.3.10 The Commission encourages interdisciplinary courses and recognizes that appropriate credentials for teaching may vary.

4.8.2.3.11 The institution must document and justify the academic and professional preparation of faculty members teaching in such courses or programs.

4.8.2.3.12 It is the responsibility of the institution to keep on file, for all full-time and part-time faculty members teaching graduate courses, documentation of academic preparation, such as official transcripts and, if appropriate for demonstrating competence, official documentation of professional and work experience, technical and performance competency, records of publications, and certifications and other qualifications.

4.8.2.3.13 An effective graduate program depends on the scholarly interaction of faculty. The appropriate number of faculty members to adequately support a program varies according to discipline and the scope of the program. However, for each graduate degree program, an institution must employ at least four qualified full-time faculty members whose responsibilities include teaching in the program.

4.8.2.3.14 All policies and regulations affecting graduate curricula, as well as requirements leading to graduate credit, certification and degrees, should be formulated by the graduate faculty or an appointed or elected group representing that faculty.

 4.8.2.4 Distance Learning Programs/Activities

 4.8.2.4.1 Institutions offering courses for credit through distance learning activities and programs must meet all criteria related to faculty.

 4.8.2.4.2 Whether through direct contact or other appropriate means, institutions offering distance learning programs must provide students with structured access to and interaction with full-time faculty members.

 4.8.3 Part-Time Faculty

 4.8.3.1 The number of full-time faculty members must be adequate to provide effective teaching, advising and scholarly or creative activity, and be appropriate to participate in curriculum development, policy making, institutional planning and governance.

 4.8.3.2 The employment of part-time faculty members can provide expertise to enhance the educational effectiveness of an institution but the number of part-time faculty members must be properly limited.

 4.8.3.3 Part-time faculty members teaching courses for credit must meet the same requirements for professional. experiential and scholarly preparation as their full-time counterparts teaching in the same disciplines.

 4.8.3.4 Each institution must establish and publish comprehensive policies concerning the employment of part-time faculty members.

 4.8.3.5 It must also provide for appropriate orientation, supervision and evaluation of all part-time faculty members.

 4.8.3.6 Procedures to ensure student access to part-time faculty members must be clearly stated and publicized.

 4.8.4 Graduate Teaching Assistants

 4.8.4.1 The employment of graduate teaching assistants is a well-established practice in higher education, but should be carefully monitored. An institution must avoid heavy dependence on graduate teaching assistants to conduct classroom instruction.

 4.8.4.2 Each institution employing graduate teaching assistants must provide a published set of guidelines for institution-wide graduate assistantship administration, including appointment criteria, remuneration, rights and responsibilities, evaluation and reappointment.

 4.8.4.3 Graduate teaching assistants who have primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit and/or for assigning final grades for such a course, and whose professional and scholarly preparation does not satisfy the provisions of Section 4.8.2 must have earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in their teaching discipline, be under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, receive regular in-service training and be evaluated regularly.
The above requirements do not apply to graduate teaching assistants engaged in assignments such as assisting in laboratory sessions, teaching physical education activities, attending or helping prepare lectures, grading papers, keeping class records, and conducting discussion groups.

 4.8.4.4 Institutions may appoint graduate teaching assistants for whom English is a second language only when a test of spoken English, or other reliable evidence of the applicant's proficiency in oral and written communication, indicates that the appointment is appropriate.

 4.8.4.5 Institutions employing graduate teaching assistants must provide a structure for administrative oversight at a level above that of the individual academic units to ensure conformity with institutional policies and procedures.

 4.8.5 Faculty Compensation

 4.8.5.1 An institution should provide adequate salaries and benefits to attract and retain able faculty members.

 4.8.5.2 The institution should also provide a retirement plan, to which it contributes a reasonable percentage of the cost, and a plan for adequate insurance coverage.

 4.8.5.3 Salary increases must be based on clearly stated criteria.

 4.8.6 Academic Freedom and Professional Security

 4.8.6.1 Faculty and students must be free to examine all pertinent data, question assumptions, be guided by the evidence of scholarly research, and teach and study the substance of a given discipline. Institutions may endorse particular religious or philosophical beliefs, or specific social principles as they relate to the institutional statement of purpose. Such beliefs and principles may influence the curriculum and the selection of students, faculty and staff. Nevertheless, institutions of higher education exist to further the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge.

 4.8.6.2 An institution must adopt and distribute to all faculty members a statement of the principles of academic freedom as established by the governing board, ensuring freedom in teaching, research and publication.

 4.8.6.3 Institutional policies must set forth the requirement for faculty members to carry out their duties in a professional, ethical and collegial manner that enhances the purpose of the institution.

4.8.6.4 Although tenure policy is not mandated, each institution must provide contracts, letters of appointment, or similar documents to faculty members clearly describing the terms and conditions of their employment.

 4.8.6.5 All policies regarding employment, as established by the governing board, must be published and distributed to the faculty.

 4.8.6.6 If the institution uses faculty ranks and tenure, the policies and procedures for promotion, for awarding tenure, for providing adequate notice on non-renewal of a probationary appointment, and for termination of appointments, including those for cause, must be clearly set forth in the faculty handbook or other official publication.

 4.8.6.7 Termination and non-renewal procedures must contain adequate safeguards for protection of academic freedom.

 4.8.7 Professional Growth

 4.8.7.1 An institution must provide faculty members the opportunity to continue their professional development throughout their careers and must demonstrate that such development occurs. Among the means of accomplishing this goal are leaves of absence for study and research, additional graduate work in the discipline, participation in professional meetings, and in-service training such as instruction in computer usage.

 4.8.7.2 The general tone and policies of an institution must make it clear that individual faculty members are to take the initiative in promoting their own growth as teachers, scholars and, especially in professional and occupational fields, practitioners.

 4.8.8 The Role of the Faculty and Its Committees

 4.8.8.1 Primary responsibility for the quality of the educational program must reside with the faculty.

 4.8.8.2 The extent of the participation and jurisdiction of the faculty in academic affairs must be clearly set forth and published. Much of their business will normally be conducted through such structures as committees, councils, and senates, operating within the broad policies determined by the administration and governing board.

 4.8.9 Faculty Loads

 4.8.9.1 An institution must provide a faculty of adequate size to support its purpose.

 4.8.9.2 It must have procedures for the equitable and reasonable assignment of faculty responsibilities-including classroom instruction, academic advising, committee membership, guidance of student organizations, and research and service to the public. The institution should have policies to protect faculty members from assuming or being assigned internal or external responsibilities which might encroach upon the quality or the quantity of the work they are employed to perform for the institution. The calculation of instructional loads should take into account such factors as number of preparations, number of students taught, nature of the subject, and help available from secretaries and teaching assistants.

 4.8.10 Criteria and Procedures for Evaluation

 4.8.10.1 An institution must conduct periodic evaluations of the performance of individual faculty members.

 4.8.10.2 The evaluation must include a statement of the criteria against which the performance of each faculty member will be measured.

 4.8.10.3 The criteria must be consistent with the purpose and goals of the institution and be made known to all concerned.

 4.8.10.4 The institution must demonstrate that it uses the results of this evaluation for improvement of the faculty and its educational program.

4.9 Consortial Relationships and Contractual Agreements

The Commission on Colleges recognizes the right of a member institution to enter into consortial relationships and contractual agreements for the purpose of offering credit courses or programs. However, the Commission reserves the right to prohibit the use of its accreditation to authenticate credit courses or programs offered through such relationships.

 4.9.0.1 A member institution which enters into such consortial relationships or contractual agreements must have sufficient control of relationships/agreements so as to maintain compliance with the Criteria when offering educational programs through such arrangements.

 4.9.0.2 All consortia and contracts must be evaluated regularly.

 4.9.0.3 If an institution plans to participate in consortial relationships or enter into contractual agreements for educational programs, it must follow reporting policies and procedures related to substantive change. (See Commission document "Substantive Change Procedure D: The Initiation of a Consortium or Contractual Arrangements.")

 4.9.1 Consortial Relationships

 4.9.1.1 A member institution seeking to participate in a consortium degree or certificate program must enter into such a relationship only with regionally accredited institutions offering degrees or certificates at the same level.

 4.9.1.2 Exceptions must be approved by the Commission in advance of the formation of or participation in the consortium.

 4.9.1.3 The member institution must maintain the quality of all courses/programs offered through the consortium.

 4.9.1.4 Educational courses/programs offered through a consortial relationship must be related to the teaching purpose of the institution and comply with the Criteria.

 4.9.2 Contractual Agreements

 4.9.2.1 Educational services and programs offered through a contractual agreement with another institution or organization must support the purpose of the institution.

 4.9.2.2 The member institution must maintain the quality of programs/courses offered through the contract and ensure ongoing compliance with the Criteria. (See Commission document "Guidelines for Contractual Relationships with Non-Regionally Accredited Institutions.")

 4.9.2.3 If an institution enters into a teach-out agreement with another institution, it must submit the agreement to the Commission for approval. (See Commission policy "Teach-Out Agreements.")

SECTION V Educational Support Services



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

 5.1.1.1 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.

 5.1.1.2 Each institution must develop a purpose statement for its library and other learning resource services.

 5.1.1.3 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.

 5.1.1.4 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.

 5.1.1.5 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.

 5.1.1.6 Priorities for acquiring materials and establishing services must be determined with the needs of the users in mind.

 5.1.2 Services

 5.1.2.1 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.

 5.1.2.2 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.

 5.1.2.3 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.

 5.1.2.4 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.

 5.1.2.5 Adequate hours must be maintained to ensure accessibility to users. Professional assistance should be available at convenient locations during library hours.

 5.1.2.6 Library collections must be cataloged and organized in an orderly, easily accessible arrangement following national bibliographical standards and conventions.

 5.1.2.7 Students and faculty must be provided convenient, effective access to library resources needed in their programs.

 5.1.2.8 Convenient, effective access to electronic bibliographic databases, whether on-site or remote, must be provided when necessary to support the academic programs.

 5.1.2.9 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

 5.1.3.1 Institutions must provide access to essential references and specialized program resources for each instructional location.

 5.1.3.2 Access to the library collection must be sufficient to support the educational, research and public service programs of the institution.

 5.1.3.3 The collections of print and non-print materials must be well organized.

 5.1.3.4 Institutions offering graduate work must provide library resources substantially beyond those required for baccalaureate programs.

 5.1.3.4 Librarians, teaching faculty and researchers must share in the development of collections, and the institution must establish policies defining their involvement.

 5.1.3.5 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

 5.1.4.1 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.

 5.1.4.2 Institutions should supplement their traditional library with access to electronic information.

 5.1.4.3 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.

 5.1.4.4 The institution must provide evidence that it is incorporating technological advances into its library and other learning resource operations.

 5.1.5 Cooperative Agreements

 5.1.5.1 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.

5.1.5.2 Cooperative agreements must be formalized and regularly evaluated.

 5.1.6 Staff

 5.1.6.1 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.

 5.1.6.2 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.

 5.1.6.3 The number of library support staff members must be adequate. Qualifications or skills needed for these support positions should be defined by the institution.

 5.1.6.4 Organizational relationships, both external and internal to the library, should be clearly specified.

 5.1.6.5 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

5.1.7.1 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.

 5.1.7.2 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.

 5.1.7.3 The institution must assign responsibility for providing library/learning resources and services and for ensuring continued access to them at each site.

 5.1.7.4 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

 5.4.1.1 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.

 5.4.1.2 To ensure effectiveness, the institution must develop goals for the student services program consistent with student needs and with the purpose of the institution.

 5.4.1.3 Appropriate student development services must be provided for distance learning programs as well as on-campus programs.

 5.4.1.4 The institution must clearly designate an administrative unit responsible for planning and implementing student development services.

 5.4.1.5 Appropriate policies and procedures for student development programs and services must be established.

 5.4.1.6 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.

5.4.1.7 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.

5.4.1.8 Student development services and programs must be evaluated regularly.

5.4.2 Resources

5.4.2.1 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

5.4.3.1 Counseling and Career Development

5.4.3.1.1 Each institution should provide personal counseling services for students, as well as a career development program.

5.4.3.1.2 An effective career development program should include career information and planning, placement services, career counseling, testing services and follow-up activities.

5.4.3.1.3 There should be clearly specified policies regarding the use of career development services by students, alumni and employers.

5.4.3.2 Student Government, Student Activities and Publications.

5.4.3.2.1 The institution must develop a statement of the student's role and participation in institutional decision-making.

5.4.3.2.2 The institution must have an activities program appropriate to its purpose and encompassing student interests.

5.4.3.2.3 The institution must develop policies and procedures governing the supervisory role of the institution over student activities.

5.4.3.2.4 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.

 5.4.3.3 Student Behavior

5.4.3.3.1 The institution must publish a statement of student rights and responsibilities and make it available to the campus community.

5.4.3.3.2 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.

5.4.3.4 Residence Halls

 5.4.3.4.1 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.

5.4.3.4.2 The learning environment in the residence halls must support the educational mission of the institution.

 5.4.3.4.3 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.

 5.4.3.5 Student Financial Aid

 5.4.3.5.1 The institution should provide an effective program of financial aid consistent with its purpose and reflecting the needs of its students.

5.4.3.5.2 Effective program administration should include counseling students on the efficient use of their total financial resources.

5.4.3.5.3 There must be provision for institution-wide coordination of all financial aid awards.

5.4.3.5.4 All funds for financial aid programs must be audited in compliance with all federal and state requirements.

5.4.3.5.5 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.

5.4.3.6 Health Services

5.4.3.6.1 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.

5.4.3.7 Intramural Athletics.

5.4.3.7.1 Intramural sports programs contribute to the personal development of students and should be related to the total program of the institution.

5.4.3.7.2 These programs should be directed and supervised by qualified personnel and should be appropriately funded.

5.5 Intercollegiate Athletics

5.5.1 Purpose

5.5.1.1 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.

 5.5.1.2 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.

 5.5.1.3 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.

 5.5.1.4 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

 5.5.2.1 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.

 5.5.2.2 Ultimate responsibility for that control must rest with the chief executive officer.

 5.5.2.3 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

 5.5.3.1 All fiscal matters pertaining to the athletics program must be controlled by the administration, with ultimate responsibility resting with the chief executive officer.

 5.5.3.2 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.

5.5.3.3 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.

 5.5.3.4 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.

5.5.3.5 All such income and expenditures must also be appropriately audited.

5.5.4 Academic Program

5.5.4.1 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.

5.5.4.2 The implementation of academic, admission and financial aid policies must be the responsibility of administrators and faculty not connected with the athletics program.

5.5.4.3 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.

5.5.4.4 Academic policies governing maintenance of academic good standing and fulfillment of curricular requirements must be the same for athletes as for other students.

SECTION VI Administrative Processes



The Commission on Colleges expects a member institution to have governance and administrative structures appropriate to higher education and have financial and physical assets adequate to support the purpose of the institution. Stability and security are crucial to institutional well being, as are effective resource procurement, deployment and accountability. Academic self-governance, a time-honored value, implies broad participation in policy-making and implementation. Planning for and garnering necessary support are also integral to the accomplishment of institutional purpose.

The principles of institutional effectiveness as outlined in Section III pertain to the governance, organization, administration and financial/physical management of the institution. It is expected that each office, function, or unit will establish goals which derive from and support the purpose of the institution, evaluate its success in achieving these goals, and use 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.

6.1 Organization and Administration
The administration of an institution of higher education has the responsibility for bringing together its various resources and allocating them effectively to accomplish institutional goals. Although the organizational pattern is important to an institution's development and affects the morale of its faculty, an identical pattern of organization for all member institutions is neither required nor expected.

6.1.1 Descriptive Titles and Terms

The name of an institution, the titles of chief administrators, the designations of administrative and academic divisions, the terms used to describe academic offerings and programs, and the names of degrees awarded must be accurate, descriptive and appropriate.

6.1.2 Governing Board

6.1.2.1 Although titles and functions vary, the governing board is the legal body responsible for the institution and for policy making. Except under clearly defined circumstances, board action must result from a decision of the whole, and no individual member or committee can take official action for the board unless authorized to do so.

 6.1.2.2 The duties and responsibilities of the governing board must be clearly defined in an official document.

6.1.2.3 This document must also specify the following: the number of members, length of service, rotation policies, organization and committee structure, and frequency of meetings.

6.1.2.4 There must be appropriate continuity in the board membership, usually provided by staggered terms of adequate length. In addition, the document should include provisions governing the removal of a board member from office.

6.1.2.5 A board member may be dismissed only for cause and by procedures involving due process.

6.1.2.6 The responsibilities of the governing board must include the following functions: establishing broad institutional policies, securing financial resources to support adequately the institutional goals, and selecting the chief executive officer.

6.1.2.7 In addition, the governing board must have in place proper procedures to ensure that it is adequately informed about the financial condition and stability of the institution.

6.1.2.8 The board must not be subject to undue pressure from political, religious or other external bodies. Furthermore, it should protect the administration from similar pressures.

6.1.2.9 There must be a clear distinction, in writing and in practice, between the policy-making functions of the governing board and the responsibility of the administration and faculty to administer and implement policy. General institutional policies should originate within the board or should be approved by the board upon recommendation of the administration. Once these have become official policies, the administration should implement them within a broad framework established by the board.

6.1.3 Advisory Committees

Whenever lay advisory committees are used by institutions, these committees should be active and their role and function clearly defined.

6.1.4 Official Policies

The institution must publish official documents which contain, but are not limited to, the following information: the duties and responsibilities of administrative officers, the patterns of institutional organization, the role of the faculty in institutional governance, statements governing tenure or employment security, statements governing due process, and other institutional policies and procedures that affect the faculty and other personnel.

6.1.5 Administrative Organization

6.1.5.1 The administrative organization must reflect the purpose and philosophy of the institution and enable each functional unit to perform its particular responsibilities as defined by the stated purpose of the institution.

6.1.5.2 Administrative responsibility and authority for all educational offerings and functions of the institution must be clearly identified, and each institution must develop, publish and make available an organizational chart clearly delineating lines of responsibility and authority.

6.1.5.3 The duties of the chief executive officer, and of other administrative officials directly responsible to the chief executive, must be clearly defined and made known to faculty and staff.

 6.1.5.4 Administrative officers must possess credentials, experience and/or demonstrated competence appropriate to their areas of responsibility.

 6.1.5.5 The effectiveness of all administrators, including the chief executive officer, must be evaluated periodically.

6.2 Institutional Advancement

 Each institution should have a program of institutional advancement, which may include development and fund raising, institutional relations and alumni affairs.

 6.2.0.1 If there is an advancement program, it must be directly related to the purpose of the institution.

 6.2.0.2 Qualified persons should be responsible for administration of the program.

 6.2.1 Alumni Affairs

 6.2.1.1 The relationship between the institution and its alumni should be one that encourages former students to continue to participate in the development of the institution.

 6.2.1.2 It should also assist in the evaluation of institutional effectiveness.

 6.2.1.3 Institutions are encouraged to maintain up-to-date records on the location of former students and to employ periodic surveys.

 6.2.2 Fund Raising

 6.2.2.1 All fund raising must be related to the purpose of the institution.

 6.2.2.2 All aspects of fund raising must be incorporated into the planning process and evaluated regularly.

 6.2.2.3 An institution must develop policies and procedures to fund raising and ensure that such policies are appropriately disseminated and followed.

6.3 Financial Resources

 6.3.1 Financial Resources

 6.3.1.1 Because the financial resources of an institution influence the quality of its educational program each institution must possess sufficient financial resources to support all of its programs.

 6.3.1.2 The recent financial history of the institution must also demonstrate the financial stability essential to its successful operation. The adequacy of financial resources will be judged in relation to the basic purpose of the institution the scope of its programs and its number of students.

 6.3.2 Organization for the Administration of Financial Resources

 6.3.2.1 All business and financial functions of the institution should be centralized under a chief business officer reporting to the chief executive officer. The organization of the business office must be consistent with the purpose of the institution the size of the institution and the volume of transactions of a business or financial nature. The most important functions typically performed by the business office include assistance to the chief executive officer in preparation and control of the institutional budget; establishment and operation of an appropriate system of accounting and financial reporting; supervision of the operation and maintenance of the physical plant; procurement of supplies and equipment; control of inventories; financial oversight of auxiliary enterprises; receipt custody and disbursement of institutional funds; maintenance of personnel records; and administration of personnel policies governing the staff.

 6.3.2.2 The chief executive officer must report regularly to the governing board on the financial and business operations of the institution.

 6.3.2.3 The chief business officer should have experience or training in handling educational business affairs sufficient to enable the business office to serve the educational goals of the institution and assist in furthering its stated purpose.

 6.3.3 Budget Planning

 6.3.3.1 The budget is a statement of estimated income and expenditures for a fixed period of time, usually the fiscal year of the institution. An institution must prepare an appropriately detailed annual budget.

 6.3.3.2 Its preparation and execution must be preceded by sound educational planning. It follows that the instructional budget should be substantively developed by academic officers or deans, working cooperatively with department heads, appropriate members of the faculty and administration, and representatives of the business office.

 6.3.3.3 Procedures for budget planning must be evaluated regularly.

 6.3.3.4 Similarly, budgets for other areas should be developed after consultation with appropriate officers of the institution. The business officer may assist in assembling and compiling the budget requests, preparing income estimates, and advising the chief executive officer in the determination of budgetary allocations. The budget is presented by the chief executive officer through proper channels to the governing board for final approval. In reviewing the budget, the governing board should focus on matters of broad policy and normally should not concern itself with details.

 6.3.4 Budget Control

After the budget has been approved by the chief executive officer and adopted by the governing board, a system of control must be established. This ensures that the budgetary plans of the governing board and the chief executive officer will be implemented.

 6.3.4.1 The business officer must render interim budget statements on a periodic basis to department heads for their guidance in staying within budgetary allocations. Budgetary control is an administrative function, not a board function.

 6.3.4.2 Necessary budget revisions must be made when actual conditions require such change and must be communicated to those affected within the institution.

 6.3.5 The Relation of an Institution to External Budgetary Control

No outside or superimposed agency should exercise specific and detailed control over the financial affairs of an institution. Once funds have been appropriated, creating a budget, establishing priorities, and controlling expenditures become the responsibility of the institution--operating under the jurisdiction of the governing board and subject to its policies.

 6.3.5.1 Enforcement of budgetary law is imperative; however, the educational function of an institution must not be controlled through the use of budgetary techniques or controls by financial officials outside the institution.

 6.3.6 Accounting, Reporting and Auditing

 6.3.6.1 An institution must adopt an accounting system that follows generally accepted principles of institutional accounting as they appear in College and University Business Administration, published by the National Association of College and University Business Officers Proprietary institutions and certain public institutions mandated by law to follow a different system are exceptions to the requirement. Institutions exempted from use of the required accounting system must arrange to provide comparable information. All proprietary institutions must provide revenue/expenditure reports consistent with NACUBO/AICPA publications, either independently certified in the audit report or included as supplemental data in the audit report. Balance sheets may continue to follow the conventional for-profit format, if desired.

 6.3.6.2 The chief business officer is responsible for preparing financial reports for appropriate institutional officials, board officers and outside agencies.

6.3.6.3 Periodic written reports to the chief executive officer of the institution are essential.

6.3.6.4 An annual fiscal year audit must be made by independent certified public accountants, or an appropriate government auditing agency, employing as a guide for institutions under the jurisdiction of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB). Audits of Not-For-Profit Organizations, published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), or, for institutions under the jurisdiction of the Government Accounting Standards Board (GASB), Audits of Colleges and Universities, also published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), or, in the case of for-profit institutions. conducted in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles.

6.3.6.5 If an institution is subject to Statement of Financial Accounting Standard (SFAS) No. 117 and elects to use the single column "Corporate" Statement of Financial Position in its report. it must provide an additional Statement of Financial Position using one of the four highest levels of disaggregation illustrated in F.A.R.M. These levels are the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) Net Asset Class Disaggregation. Operating/Capital Disaggregation. Managed Asset Group Disaggregation. and AICPA Audit Guide Funds Group Disaggregation. The additional statement must be included either in the audit report as an audited supplemental schedule or independently certified if not included in the audit report.

6.3.6.6 A for-profit institution and its corporate parent, if any, must add to their audit report a separate schedule indicating the disposition of profits, including detailed information on corporate income taxes paid, both state and federal, and on dividends distributed to stockholders.

6.3.6.7 A public institution included in a statewide or system wide audited financial report, for which a separate institutional audit report is not available for the fiscal year ending immediately prior to the committee visit, must have available, in lieu of audited financial statements, a Standard Review Report in accordance with AICPA Professional Standards AR 100.35 to include current funds expenditure classifications and amounts in accordance with generally accepted principles of institutional accounting, and the institution's current fund balance sheet. Institutions in this category must provide either a separate or a consolidated balance sheet.

6.3.6.8 The auditors must not be directly connected with the institution either personally or professionally.

6.3.6.9 An effective program of internal auditing and financial control must be maintained to complement the accounting system and the annual external audit.

6.3.6.10 However, in those cases in which a public institution's financial report is included as part of a comprehensive certified state or system financial report and a separate annual audited report is not available, the institution must have an established procedure to ensure the effectiveness of internal controls.

 6.3.7 Purchasing and Inventory Control

An institution must maintain proper control over purchasing and inventory management. The administration and governing board should protect responsible purchasing officials from the improper pressures of external political or business interests. A logical adjunct of the purchasing function is a system of well-organized storerooms such as those for physical plant, library and office and laboratory supplies, as well as an inventory system appropriate to safeguard the institution from loss of equipment.

 6.3.8 Refund Policy

 6.3.8.1 The institution must adhere to a published policy and procedure for refunding fees and charges to students who withdraw from enrollment.

 6.3.8.2 The policy and procedure must be in keeping with generally accepted refund practices in the higher education community, applicable to all students, and clearly stated in appropriate official publications.

 6.3.9 Cashiering

 6.3.9.1 There must be a suitable organization and adequate procedures for the management of all funds belonging to the institution.

 6.3.9.2 The cashiering function should be centralized in the business office, and there must be a carefully developed system for the receipt, deposit and safeguarding of institutional funds.

 6.3.9.3 All persons handling institutional funds must be adequately bonded.

 6.3.10 Investment Management

 6.3.10.1 The institution must have a written statement of its investment policies and guidelines approved by the board. The policies and guidelines should set forth the investment goals of the institution, conditions governing the granting or withholding of investment discretion, a description of authorized and prohibited transactions, and the criteria to be used for performance measurement of both short- and long-term investments.

 6.3.10.2 Members of the governing board should be aware of their fiduciary responsibility for the institution and their responsibility for securing maximum investment returns consistent with the approved investment policy. They should avoid involvement in conflict of interest situations.

 6.3.10.3 Investment policies and guidelines must be evaluated regularly.

 6.3.11 Risk Management and Insurance

 6.3.11.1 The institution should have a comprehensive risk management program which includes risk evaluation, risk avoidance and insurance.

Adequate replacement protection for all physical facilities should be covered by appropriate levels of insurance or appropriate provisions for obtaining funds.

 6.3.12 Auxiliary Enterprises

The institution may operate, or have contracted for operation, activities that may have a significant impact on the operation of the institution. These activities may include, but are not limited to, the following: bookstores, residence halls, food service operations, printing/duplicating services, child care and transportation services. These activities, when operated by or for the institution, must be documented and operated in a fiscally responsible manner.

 6.4 Physical Resources
Physical resources, including buildings and equipment both on and off campus, must be adequate to serve the needs of the institution in relation to its stated purpose, programs and activities. The physical environment of the institution should contribute to an atmosphere for effective learning.

 6.4.1 Space Management

Space allocated to any institutional function must be adequate for the effective conduct of that function.

 6.4.2 Buildings, Grounds and Equipment Maintenance

 6.4.2.1 An institution must have a plan for the upkeep of its property.

 6.4.2.2 At a minimum, the plan must address routine, preventative and deferred maintenance of buildings, equipment and grounds. Where appropriate, it should verify the estimated costs of maintenance as well as when and how it is to be performed. There should be a written schedule for regular maintenance activities and a written record of projects completed.

 6.4.2.3 The plan must be operational and evaluated annually.

 6.4.3 Safety and Security

 6.4.3.1 The institution must take reasonable steps to provide a healthful, safe and secure environment for all members of the campus community.

 6.4.3.2 Administrative responsibility for environmental health and safety programs must be assigned.

 6.4.3.3 A comprehensive safety plan must be developed, implemented and evaluated regularly. The plan should give special attention to the adequate provision and use of safety equipment in laboratories and other hazardous areas; to the modification of buildings, if necessary, for easy egress in the event of fire or other emergency; and to familiarizing all building occupants with emergency evacuation procedures.

 6.4.4 Facilities Master Plan

The institution must maintain a current written physical facilities master plan that provides for orderly development of the institution and relates it to other institutional planning efforts.

 6.5 Externally Funded Grants and Contracts

 6.5.1 Externally funded grants and contracts must be related to the stated purpose of the institution.

 6.5.2 The institution's policy on such grants and contracts must provide for an appropriate balance between grant and contract activity and instruction, and guarantee institutional control over the administration of research projects.

 6.5.3 The researcher's freedom to investigate and report results must be preserved. Research support from outside agencies should not undermine these basic research principles.

 6.5.4 The institution must establish a clear policy concerning a faculty member's division of obligations between research and other academic activities.

 6.5.5 It must ensure that this policy is published in such documents as the faculty handbook and made known to all faculty members.

 6.5.6 Where applicable, the institution must develop policies regarding summer salaries paid from grant and contract funds, salary supplements paid from grants during the regular academic year, and fees for consultative services provided by faculty members.

 6.5.7 These policies must also be published and made known to the faculty.

 6.5.8 In accepting funds from outside agencies, the institution must ensure that it maintains control over research and instruction.

 6.5.9 Because many agencies attach stringent regulations directing and limiting the activities for which they provide funding, the institution must safeguard control over its own activities.

 6.5.10 Continuity of support for general institutional activities must not be endangered by acquisition of research grants and contracts.

 6.5.11 Grants must be awarded and contracts must be made for specified periods of time.

 6.5.12 When the institution becomes even partially dependent upon such funds for faculty salaries and/or graduate student stipends, termination of grants and contracts can jeopardize an entire educational program. It is also important that an institution not become dependent upon indirect cost allowances from grants and contracts to support its regular operating budget.

 6.6 Related Corporate Entities

 6.6.1 Institutions are often associated with related separately-incorporated units, such as radio or television stations, athletic foundations, research foundations, scholarship foundations, hospitals, for-profit enterprises, press operations and publications, and insurance trusts. When an institution is reliant upon such an entity, or when a separately-incorporated or related entity is reliant upon the institution, documentation outlining the mutual relationship and benefits must be maintained by the institution.

 6.6.2 This documentation must include the following: a description of the separately-incorporated unit's activities; a statement demonstrating the manner in which the activities relate to the purpose of the institution; a current roster of board members of the unit, including institutional personnel and board members who have responsibilities with both the institution and the incorporated entity, whether they are additionally compensated by the entity or not; a copy of the separately incorporated unit's annual financial audit report for the most recently completed year; and copies of the charter and bylaws of the unit.

 6.6.3 If such entities are reliant upon the institution for fulfillment of their purposes, the institution should ensure that they complement, rather than detract from, the institution's purpose, and that they are subject to proper operating controls and risk-liability containment. The institution should demonstrate the manner in which each related entity contributes to its effectiveness.

Go to Top of the Page