The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Guilford aces accreditation: SACS review suggests no changes

Guilford recently came through a five-year interim self-review following its successful 10-year review by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools with superlative marks and no suggestions for changes.

“To have both the 10-year review and the five-year interim report accepted with zero recommendations for improvement was quite the achievement,” said Kent Chabotar, president and professor of political science. “In fact, SACS told Dean Israel that such a double win happens only in one percent of the cases.”

According to Kent Grumbles, director of institutional research and assessment, colleges go through this certification process every five years.

To gain or maintain accreditation with the Commission on Colleges, an institution must comply with the standards contained in “Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement,” which includes developing a Quality Enhancement Plan.

To achieve and maintain accreditation takes commitment from students, faculty and staff.

Tim Leisman, Community Senate president, thinks students play a major role.

“Every student I have talked to reflects that they underwent a transformative experience here in terms of education and personal development,” said Leisman. “Students participate in the education process and drive it as the clientele of the college and the body of its population. Without students, there wouldn’t be a Guilford.”

Victor Lopez, president of the Center for Continuing Education Student Government Association, agrees with Leisman.

“I think that the Guilford student has to spend a good amount of time applying themselves to studies, to extracurricular activities without the frills,” said Lopez. “We are feeding our brains without the frills of an Olympic-sized pool and cabana parties on the weekend.”

Achieving accreditation without recommendations demonstrates that Guilford is dedicated to its students.

“Being recognized indicates that the school is committed to educating its students on a multi-dimensional level,” said junior Charlotte Cloyd. “Guilford is also continuing to expand the manner in which the school provides opportunities for students depending on the needs and interests of the students.”

The faculty and staff also play a key role in Guilford’s success as an institution.

“Accreditation is about the evaluation of the academic program that the faculty delivers as well as the student services, administrative programs, facilities and finances that support the academic program,” said Chabotar.

Jeff Favolise, assistant to the president for planning and management, also sees the importance of faculty.

“This achievement is a testament to the caliber and dedication of our faculty and the strength of our academic program,” said Favolise. “Guilford must build on this and increasingly focus on our faculty and instruction.”

Linda Thorup, ’82, board of trustees member agrees and notes the importance of Guilford’s QEP, which is focused on improving students’ writing skills.

“Guilford’s smaller size allows students to know and interact directly with faculty and staff of all levels,” Thorup said via email. “Guilford’s Quaker heritage and long history provide an important set of values for all members of the Guilford community. Guilford’s curriculum has always had a strong emphasis on writing and teaching students to develop and articulate their ideas and arguments.”

Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Andy Strickler hopes this distinction will help attract new students to Guilford.

“Any kind of good news is something we market, speak of and are proud of when it comes to discussing Guilford with prospective students and families,” said Strickler. “It validates and authenticates the messages that we communicate to our constituencies in real, tangible ways.”

Aaron Fetrow, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, echoes Strickler’s sentiment.

“This tells us what we already know,” said Fetrow. “We know it’s hard. The students can tell you it’s hard. We’ve never been very good at bragging about our academic rigor. High Point University has banners at the airport.

“But the recognition from SACS is wonderful because people pay attention to rankings. Parents look at rankings and accreditation.”

Adrienne Israel, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, agrees that Guilford does not overpublicize its many strengths.

“We are strong in areas that are not apparent to everyone,” said Israel. “We’re still a hidden treasure. This affirms the fact that we continue to get better. If we find what we’re doing well and build on that, we’ll become a great school.”

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