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Reaffirmation of Accreditation Complete for UH
December 17, 2008-Houston-Two years ago, the University of Houston embarked on a mission to secure its reaffirmation of accreditation by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Recently, university officials returned from the SACS annual meeting in San Antonio and summed up their trip in two words: “mission accomplished.”
“The reaffirmation reflects UH’s commitment to excellence in higher education, ” said Renu Khator, president of UH. “It also is indicative of the university’s dedication to its students. Just as our students work hard to earn their degrees, UH is committed to meeting and exceeding specific professional standards and criteria that are part of the accreditation process.”
SACS accredits colleges and universities throughout 11 southern states and parts of Latin America. Accreditation indicates that an institution maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers. It also must be successful in achieving those objectives.
The reaffirmation process occurs every 10 years. Universities participating in this voluntary evaluation must submit a compliance certification document and develop a quality enhancement plan (QEP) aimed at bolstering student learning.
The compliance document was reviewed in November 2007, In April 2008, a team consisting of representatives from peer institutions conducted an on-site review of the university.
Leading UH’s reaffirmation efforts was Jerald Strickland, interim senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.
“In any industry, there always is a need to measure quality. In higher education, the reaffirmation of accreditation includes an extensive review of an institution, its faculty, colleges, resources, programs and facilities,” Strickland said. “We are pleased with the outcome of this evaluation and are especially optimistic about the QEP that was developed during this process and launched this fall.”
UH’s QEP, the Learning Through Discovery Initiative, is focused on strengthening undergraduate research. It provides students with research-related training, engages them in research opportunities and connects them to mentors and resources on campus and in the community. The skills students learn will augment their education experience and better prepare them for their chosen careers, said Veronique Tran, founding director of the Office of Undergraduate Discovery Programs.
“As part of this initiative, we’ve already launched several exciting new programs and resources to provide research training and expand research opportunities for students in all fields of study,” Tran said. “These include the Discovery Workshop Series, the Undergraduate Research Travel Award Program and the QEP Curriculum Development Program.”
This spring, a Web-based tool, eDISCOVERY, will be available to facilitate engagement of the greater Houston community in the initiative. The tool will enable faculty and staff, as well as local industry, small businesses, non-profit organizations - and alumni in these sectors - to connect to UH students.
After five years, UH will deliver a report on the development and growth of the Learning Through Discovery Initiative to SACS.
“Our goal is to evolve this initiative,” Strickland said. “We ultimately want to see it grow from being a program to being a part of the learning culture on this campus.”
UH will next undergo a reaffirmation of accreditation review in 2018.
For more information about the UH Learning through Discovery Initiative, please visit www.uh.edu/discovery.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston, Texas’ premier metropolitan research and teaching institution, is home to more than 40 research centers and institutes and sponsors more than 300 partnerships with corporate, civic and governmental entities. UH, the most diverse research university in the country, stands at the forefront of education, research and service with more than 35,000 students.