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CAMPUS NEWS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
07/03/02

Sherman College Grated Accreditation by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

JULY 3, 2002 - On June 21, 2002, the Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) notified Sherman College that it had been granted accreditation to award the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.

The news marked the culmination of more than three years of self-evaluations, surveys, meetings, focused site visits, a 300-page self-study and several progress reports to SACS. The COC/SACS accredited the college for a five-year period, retroactive to January 1, 2002.

"Being accredited by SACS confirms what our alumni, faculty, staff and students have known for a long time - that Sherman College is a well-run, high quality institution," said President Jerry L. Hardee, Ed.D. "Having external, objective validation of that fact by a regional accrediting agency further enhances our image and reputation in the chiropractic profession and in the general academic community."

Sherman College voluntarily sought accreditation with SACS because of the benefits it provides for the college community. The agency accredits other area institutions such as Duke University, the University of South Carolina and Converse College.

Sherman College is also accredited to award the doctor of chiropractic degree by the Commission on Accreditation of the Council on Chiropractic Education (COA/CCE), Scottsdale, AZ. The Council on Chiropractic Education is a specialized agency which only accredits chiropractic institutions and programs. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, however, is a regional accrediting agency. Sherman College holds Level V accreditation with SACS, accreditation for institutions offering doctoral degrees or professional disciplines.

Benefits of holding regional accreditation with SACS include enhancing the college's placement in the non-chiropractic collegiate community, facilitating stronger relationships with other SACS-accredited academic institutions, opening opportunities for research collaboration and aiding in the development of Three Plus One programs with area undergraduate colleges.

"A major benefit of being accredited by SACS is that it allows us to reach out and interact with non-chiropractic colleges and universities in the region," said Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement Leroy G. Moore, D.C., who led the self-study process. "This accreditation further legitimizes Sherman College's status in the collegiate community," he said. Being accredited by the COC/SACS also affirms the quality of Sherman College's academic program.

A further benefit of SACS accreditation is that it provides excellent networking and educational opportunities for college staff, Moore said. Staff members can now attend the annual SACS conferences, take advantage of many networking opportunities and build relationships with their counterparts at other SACS-accredited colleges. In addition, SACS accreditation will allow Sherman College to interact with other colleges in academic areas of study - including research - and will facilitate library interaction with other schools accredited by the COC/SACS.

Being accredited by SACS also allows for greater ease and a more seamless transition in developing Three Plus One programs with area undergraduate colleges, said Susan Newlin, vice president for enrollment services, planning and assessment. Three Plus One programs allow students to complete three years of prerequisites at an undergraduate institution and then transfer to Sherman College.

Following their first year of study at Sherman College, students who participate in the Three Plus One program are awarded a bachelor's degree in interdisciplinary studies, biology or a related field from the undergraduate college. "These programs not only build relationships with other colleges but help make chiropractic more available as an attractive career to more undergraduate students," Newlin said.

In addition to all the "external" benefits of SACS accreditation, members of the Sherman College community - including trustees, alumni, faculty, staff and students - have personally benefited from the accreditation process. The 300-page self-study conducted in preparation for accreditation engaged all members of the college community in a thorough analysis and examination of every phase of the college's operation.

The study was designed to identify strengths and weaknesses of the institution, according to SACS Criteria, and to initiate procedures to remedy any deficiencies. But the process also helped members of the college community in their own self-improvement efforts. Moore says the wide spectrum of campus participation in the self-study allowed college constituents to better understand and appreciate Sherman College's organizational structure. "By asking virtually all of the college's faculty and staff and a number of students to serve on SACS self-study committees, those people involved learned a great deal about aspects of the college to which they may not normally be exposed," he says.

While completing the self-study was an extremely demanding and intensive process, strong leadership and solid organization simplified the process. The college's Administrative Council mandated the appointment of a director, a steering committee chair, an editor and a steering committee to organize and direct the self-study.

The steering committee then established principal committees to accomplish the objectives of the self-study. Each principal committee contained six or seven representatives from the faculty, alumni, staff and students. Each principal committee critiqued a list of "must statements," or college responsibilities, and then assessed whether the college was in compliance with each of the assigned criteria, documenting such compliance or making recommendations accordingly. Principal committee members also designed and compiled surveys to determine the college's effectiveness in areas for which documentation alone was insufficient.

Steering committee members then built a "document library" - a paper trail containing all bits of evidence that were quoted or referred to in the self-study - in preparation for the SACS team visit last April. During this thorough, three-day visit, representatives from other SACS-accredited institutions reviewed Sherman College files in the document library and interviewed college staff, faculty and students.

"Gaining regional accreditation with SACS was a college-wide effort, and it was essential that all constituencies of the college be involved in the self-study process," Moore said. "If we had only allowed for administrative participation, we might have missed valuable points in the self-study. Being part of a principal committee was a massive task, but the people involved gained a great opportunity to learn more about our college and its strengths."






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