published Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Cleveland State Community College hit with accreditation warning

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    Cleveland State Community College has been warned by its accrediting organization over a finding and three requests for information.
    Photo by Erin O. Smith.
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Cleveland State Community College's accrediting organization has warned the school in a yearlong sanction for failure to comply with requirements.

The college's accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges remains intact and the warning did not trigger a visit from a special committee, but Cleveland State President Bill Seymour says fixes are already in the works.

Seymour, who assumed his post in January after the school's 10-year report was submitted to the commission in 2013, said the warning related to failure to meet one core requirement indicates "we haven't instituted a system and culture of continuous planning and assessment that ensures comprehensive effectiveness over time."

The 12-month sanction means the school will be monitored for a year and a report will be issued at the end of the period, according to a commission policy statement. Commission sanctions include a "warning" or "probation," the more serious of the two.

Failure by an institution to show adequate progress addressing problems can result in loss of accreditation, but Seymour said he believes there's little chance of that happening.

"We require that every institution has a strategic plan and that part of it focuses on student learning and that they assess whether students have indeed learned anything," commission President Belle Wheelan said Tuesday. "They were lacking in both the institutional planning as well as the identification and assessment of student learning outcomes."

During its June board of trustees meeting, the accrediting agency denied reaffirmation of Cleveland State's accreditation for failure to comply with a core requirement of accreditation concerning institutional effectiveness, and comprehensive standards for institutional effectiveness, academic and student support services and faculty competence, according to a report issued June 19.

Reaffirmation of the school's accreditation is on hold until the core requirement is met and the other standards are addressed, Seymour said. Cleveland State has been accredited since 1969.

"It's always serious anytime an institution is out of compliance, but we have great faith that they'll be able to get this together in 12 months," Wheelan said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or twitter.com/BenBenton or www.facebook.com/ben.ben ton1 or 423-757-6569.

about Ben Benton...

Ben Benton is a news reporter at the Chattanooga Times Free Press. He covers Southeast Tennessee and previously covered North Georgia education. Ben has worked at the Times Free Press since November 2005, first covering Bledsoe and Sequatchie counties and later adding Marion, Grundy and other counties in the northern and western edges of the region to his coverage. He was born and raised in Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Bradley Central High School. Benton ...

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