USCA Chancellor receives highest honor from accrediting body

December 15, 2018 GMT

During its annual conference in New Orleans, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges awarded its highest honor to USC Aiken Chancellor Dr. Sandra Jordan.

Jordan, the fourth chancellor at USCA, received SACSCOC’s James T. Rogers Distinguished Leadership Award. The honor, named for the former executive director who served the Commission on Colleges for more than two decades, “is the highest public recognition given by the commission and is reserved for extraordinarily distinctive and effective leadership,” according to the SACSCOC website.

“I am truly humbled. This is a tremendous honor,” Jordan said in a news release from USCA.

USCA is accredited by SACSCOC, the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. They include institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Latin America and other international sites.

Jordan has participated in numerous SACSCOC off-site and on-site accreditation review teams during the past decade. Additionally, she served on the SACSCOC Board of Trustees, on the Compliance and Review committees and on the SACSCOC Executive Board.

More recently, Jordan chaired the SACSCOC committee charged to update the accreditation standards, which provide the guidepost for excellence for public and private universities and colleges in the South. The Principle Review committee worked transparently, gathering feedback and providing updates to constituent members throughout the process. She updated more than 4,000 constituent institutional members at the 2016 and 2017 annual conferences.

In her acceptance remarks, Jordan recognized her colleagues who served with her on the committee.

“I am gratified by this recognition but want to quickly recognize the work of the committees that shared in the work, built consensus, and dedicated endless hours in shaping the final results of the new accreditation standards and principles,” she said. “I am grateful to the leadership team at SACSCOC, in particular, Michael Johnson, Carol Luthman, Rosalind Fuse-Hall and SACSCOC President Belle Wheelan, for their support and tireless work on behalf of students and higher education.”

SACSCOC leaders said the resulting work of the committee, under Jordan’s leadership, was a critical update of the principles of accreditation, according to the release.

This comprehensive and collaborative process included a reduction in the total number of principles, the creation of greater clarity, new principles that address contemporary higher education practice, more flexibility within the principles and a complete reorganization of the standards to streamline both reporting and review processes.

The Principle Review Committee also made recommendations for the resource manual, which aids institutions in the application and reaccreditation process. The revised standards and principles and the accompanying updated resource manual have already had a positive impact on institutions applying for re-accreditation under the new standards.

Additionally, Jordan served on the Quality Enhancement Planning Committee, which updated the QEP, simplified the QEP process, tied the QEP to strategic planning and provided institutions with greater flexibility around the topic.