Richard Bland College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award the associate degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Richard Bland College. Accreditation is the method by which the higher education community regulates itself; it provides for public confidence, institutional effectiveness, and the maintenance of standards. The transfer of credits among accredited schools is one of the benefits of this system for students. Every ten years, each college undergoes an accreditation review process. Richard Bland College completed its work for renewal of accreditation in 2009.
What Accreditation Means
Accreditation by SACSCOC means that Richard Bland College of William and Mary:
- Has a mission appropriate to higher education,
- Has resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain the mission,
- Maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that indicate whether it is successful in achieving its stated objectives.
SACSCOC is the regional accrediting body for degree-granting higher education institutions in 11 southern states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. SACS, founded in 1895, is a private, voluntary, nonprofit organization dedicated to the enhancement of educational quality and improvement of institutional effectiveness through peer review and institutional self-regulation.
SACSCOC sets forth requirements for initial and continued accreditation of colleges and universities in its publication The Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement. The review cycle is continuous, once accreditation is granted, so that reviews are conducted by SACSCOC every five years:
- Initial accreditation
- Fifth-year interim reaffirmation of accreditation
- Tenth-year reaffirmation of accreditation
To be accredited, SACSCOC evaluates institutions on their:
- Compliance with the Principle of Integrity
- Compliance with Core Requirements
- Compliance with Comprehensive Standards
- Compliance with additional Federal Requirements
- Compliance with policies of the Commission
The SACSCOC reaffirmation process covers all aspects of the College’s operations – mission, policies, procedures, programs, resources, services. The reaffirmation process has five components that involve intensive internal and external reviews over an 18-month period:
- Compliance Certification
- Quality Enhancement Plan
- Off-Site Review
- On-Site Review
- SACSCOC Board of Trustees Review
- SACSCOC Board of Trustees Notification
The Compliance Certification is an intensive self-study in which the College takes a serious and reflective look at the quality and effectiveness of its programs and services and judges its own adherence to the over 80+ principles. The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), developed by a broad-based representation of the College community, is a detailed action plan to improve students’ learning outcomes or the learning environment.
Off Site Review
The Off-Site Review, by SACSCOC, includes an evaluation of Richard Bland College’s Compliance Certification document and preparation of preliminary findings about Richard Bland College’s compliance. The On-Site Review performed by SACSCOC is extensive and begins before their representatives come to campus. The On-Site Review includes an examination of the Off-Site committee’s preliminary findings, a separate in-depth assessment of VCU’s Compliance Certification, a thorough review of Richard Bland College’s QEP and how it was developed, a visit to a sample of Richard Bland College’s off-campus locations where classes are offered, a review of third-party comments, and an exit conference with key Richard Bland College’s personnel. The SACSCOC Board of Trustees makes its decision and posts it to the SACSCOC website. The three possible outcomes are:
- Reaffirmation of accreditation
- Denial of reaffirmation
- Removal from membership