Why are 7.3 and 8.2.c separated?

So let’s talk service review. At least that is what I call it. I have a problem with the difference, or mostly the lack thereof, between 7.3 and 8.2.c.

7.3 The institution identifies expected outcomes of its administrative support services and demonstrates the extent to which the outcomes are achieved. (Administrative effectiveness)

8.2 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas below:
c. Academic and student services that support student success.
(Student outcomes: academic and student services)

One of the main themes throughout section 8 is that of a culture of continuous improvement. All standards in section 8 require that the institution make changes seeking improvement based on the attainment of identified goals or outcomes. I don’t understand why the “administrative support services” should be exempted from this process. Why shouldn’t purchasing, IT, human resources, marketing, etc. show that they are making changes seeking improvement based on outcomes attainment data?

When I work with institutions on service review, I always advocate that these units should make changes seeking improvement and have never come across a President that thinks otherwise. But it is not required for compliance with 7.3 and this surprises me with the general focus of SACSCOC on that culture of continuous improvement. The most recent Principles Review Committee seems not to agree since this change was not included in the most recent suite of suggested changes to the Principles.

Consider the following two possibilities:


8.2 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas below:
a. Student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs. (student outcomes: educational programs)
b. Student learning outcomes for collegiate-level general education competencies of its undergraduate degree programs. (Student outcomes: general education)
c. Academic and student services that support student success. (Student outcomes: academic and student services)
d. Administrative and support services. (Institutional outcomes: administrative effectiveness)


8.2 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which students achieve these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas below:
a. Student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs. (student outcomes: educational programs)
b. Student learning outcomes for collegiate-level general education competencies of its undergraduate degree programs. (Student outcomes: general education)

7.3 The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results in the areas below:
a. Academic and student services that support student success. (Institutional outcomes: academic and student services)
b Administrative and support services. (Institutional outcomes: administrative effectiveness)

Of the two, I believe the second would work better by moving both elements of service review to the same standard and shifting the context of both areas just a bit. Maybe some day. Until then, I encourage all institutions to use the same procedures and processes for both parts of service review. Everybody should be chasing continuous improvement.

Published by Douglas A. Wymer

Throughout an academic career spanning nearly 20 years, Dr. Wymer participated in many site visits (both substantive change and reaffirmation visits) for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and he has been a visiting team member for the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges with the Western Association of Colleges and Schools. In addition to serving as a team member, Dr. Wymer has served as a visiting committee chair for SACSCOC. After earning a B.S. in Biology (with a minor in Chemistry) from what was then Shorter College, an M.S. in Entomology from Clemson University, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Tennessee Technological University, Dr. Wymer started a rewarding career in academia. He earned tenure and achieved the rank of Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences at The University of West Alabama and served in a number of administrative roles at UWA including Department Chair and Assistant Dean. He served as a Department Head at Pensacola State College and, after a year in that position, was promoted to Dean of Baccalaureate Studies and Academic Support. In 2016 he became the Vice President of Academic Affairs at Lake-Sumter State College, where he served for four years before launching Southeastern Accreditation Consultants.

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