SACS renews University’s accreditation

The University has been granted reaccreditation, officials announced Tuesday. 

The process has been a year in the making, as the University submitted its Quality Enhancement Plan last January for reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The QEP states how the University can improve, and Duke’s document emphasized the University’s commitment to internationalization efforts despite the effects of the recession.

“Accreditation is an essential aspect for any institution of high education,” said Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations. 

Accreditation allows the University to award baccalaureate, masters, doctorate and professional degrees to its students. It also gives Duke the ability to offer services such as financial aid. 

Institutes seek reaccreditation every 10 years from the SACS. President Richard Brodhead and Judith Ruderman, former vice provost for academic and administrative services, headed the QEP committee. 

To be accredited, a school must adhere to the standards outlined by the “Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement” and the policies and procedures of the Commission on Colleges. Last January, Duke was found noncompliant in 10 areas, including competency and qualification of faculty. The University then submitted a second report and underwent an on-site review last March.

Schoenfeld said the reaccreditation process is very broad and covers a range of issues. 

“There are always particular issues that the University pays attention to, but overall the end result is accreditation,” he said.

As part of Duke’s commitment as stated in the QEP, the University implemented the Winter Forum, held the week before the start of Spring semester. Steve Nowicki, dean and vice provost of undergraduate education, told the Academic Council last month that 95 percent of participants said they would recommend the experience to other students.

Schoenfeld said the Winter Forum was received positively by the SACS review.

He also noted that the University takes the review very seriously, and that the accreditation process is not merely routine. 

“I expect what an accreditor looked for 10 years ago is different from today,” Schoenfeld said. 

SACS is one of the six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education, and accredits schools located in the southern states. It also accredits some institutions in Latin America and other international areas, according to the SACS Web site.


Share and discuss “SACS renews University’s accreditation” on social media.