Edison gets 14 recommendations from accreditation team

Edison gets 14 recommendations from accreditation team

By Matt Grant. CREATED Nov 10, 2011

FORT MYERS - The group that will decide if Edison State College can keep its accreditation says the college has some work to do.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, laid out their findings after a week-long on site visit.

Faculty watched the drama play out on two video screens as the normally private summary session was opened to the public.

The commission presented a list of 14 recommendations the college needs to address to keep its regional accreditation.

"The committee that's here is here to present information to the institution," said SACS Vice President Dr. Barry Goldstein, "so that the institution can then have an opportunity to respond and make appropriate changes."

According to one faculty member, the most serious charge dealt with the college's overall integrity. The commission recommended the college put in place safeguards to ensure integrity for academics and "all operations" of the college.

"I think the violations they found were violations that we knew we had some weak areas," said faculty union president Ellie Bunting, who was not surprised by the findings. "We've got a lot of work to do."

Other areas that need to be addressed include recommendations the college hire more faculty; show administration is qualified and effective; and address the course swapping scandal, which allowed students to inappropriately swap core classes for electives.

"Are you confident you can meet all of their recommendations?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"I'm absolutely confident we can meet every one of those recommendations," said Edison president Ken Walker.

The college has five months to address the recommendations.

Other sticking points like the controversial firings of Vice Presidents Bob Beeson and Steve Atkins and the faculty's no confidence vote against Walker weren't addressed by SACS but will need to be settled for the college to move forward.

"Can that be done with Dr Walker at the top?," asked Grant.

"We're going to be taking a look at all aspects of the administration, all aspects of the college," said new board member Pamella Seay.

"So is that a yes or a no?," asked Grant.

"It's an I don't know," said Seay.

The SACS commission will deliver a formal summary of their findings to the college in the coming weeks.

A final decision on their accreditation future will be made in June.

SACS Recommendations:

  1. Provide evidence they have safeguards in place to ensure integrity of academic programs and all operations.
  2. Demonstrate all degree programs embody a coherent course of study as appropriate to designated field.
  3. Ensure number of full-time faculty members is adequate to support the mission, quality and integrity of academic programs.
  4. Clearly define and publish an organizational structure that delineates responsibilities for administration of policies.
  5. Demonstrate they have qualified administrative and academic officers with experience, competence and capacity to lead.
  6. Provide evidence that a contractual or formal agreement with the foundation that accurately describes the relationship and the viability of that relationship.
  7. Narrow the focus of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).
  8. Develop an assessment plan for QEP.
  9. Provide evidence of improvement in educational programs to include student learning outcomes.
  10. Provide evidence of improvement of administrative support services.
  11. Provide evidence of results for community public service.
  12. Provide evidence the baccalaureate admissions policies are clear and enforced consistently.
  13. Publish, implement and consistently enforce policies related to course substitutions.
  14. Provide evidence that requirements for undergraduate programs are consistently enforced.

Read the SACS requirements for accreditation here

Matt Grant, Reporter