Reaffirmation site visit successful

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools site visit to GHSU March 29-31 to reaffirm accreditation yielded overwhelmingly positive feedback.

The SACS Commission on Colleges, GHSU’s accrediting body, conducts an extensive review once a decade to ensure compliance with its standards.

A committee of nine health care practitioners and administrators from academic health centers throughout the Southeast completed an off-site review in November, laying the groundwork for this spring’s site visit.

The site visit focused on GHSU’s outstanding compliance issues and the university’s Quality Enhancement Plan, “Healthy Perspectives,” intended to enhance education campuswide far into the future. The plan’s focus is cultural competency.

“The examiners were impressed with our demonstrated efforts to enhance student learning,” said Dr. Roman Cibirka, Vice President of Instruction & Enrollment Management. “Those efforts show that our students are happy with their educational experience. Our entire enterprise is achieving successful outcomes and we demonstrated that we are on the cutting edge of cultural competency training that should springboard us to a position of national recognition.”

GHSU will receive a report of the committee’s findings within six weeks and must implement any mandatory changes within six months, but the administration anticipates high marks. “We are still awaiting the official report, but the preliminary report was very positive,” said Dr. W. Kent Guion, Associate Provost for Multicultural Affairs. “We received some really positive feedback about the novel aspects of our Quality Enhancement Plan. There are no mandatory changes required but a set of well-informed suggestions that we will take to heart.”

GHSU leaders attributed the successful visit to months of exhaustive efforts by more than 100 students, staff, faculty and administrators who served on Compliance Certification Committees “and countless others who provided information and other support,” Cibirka said.

Interim Provost Gretchen Caughman concurred. “I am so pleased and proud of our folks on the ground at GHSU. Dr. Cibirka led the reaffirmation effort, Drs. Shelley Mishoe and Kent Guion headed up the QEP initiative and Mickey Williford did a yeoman’s job in coordinating the reports and the logistics.”

Williford coordinated housing, transportation, meals and campus access for the site reviewers, and stressed that the process is almost as intense for the reviewers as it is for the campus.

“We strived to make sure their visit was as productive and comfortable as possible,” she said. “It took many parties not only in Augusta, but also in Athens and Albany, to accomplish this goal. And we really came together to provide the reviewers a good experience in completing their task.

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