Body of the review
With only eight months until Auburn’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges Commission on Colleges, or SACCCOC, visits campus for our on-site review, we highlight section eight of our report compliance certification, which focuses exclusively on student success. This basic requirement asks us to identify, assess and publish goals and outcomes for student achievement. For the first time, we are also required to disaggregate these results to reveal more detailed patterns. This cycle, Auburn chose to explore trends across the dimensions of race and gender. In other words, this foundational requirement ensures that Auburn University assesses whether it provides appropriate academic and student services to support student success in a focused and nuanced way.
In many ways, this basic requirement is at the heart of any university’s accreditation, as it centers students in the exam. Student learning and success are central to Auburn University’s mission of “improving the lives of the people of Alabama, the nation, and the world through forward-thinking education.” The importance of this aspiration also makes it one of the most difficult to assess. How do you measure “student success” in a meaningful way that also allows you to identify areas for improvement? Ultimately, the challenge is less about providing graduation and retention rates and more about showing how we measure and, more importantly, close all types of achievement gaps. Making real progress to improve our students’ long-term outcomes requires real self-reflection and a culture change on campus.
Through collaborations with many people and campus partners, we have begun writing about several key initiatives, events, scholarships, and programs that are all helping to close the achievement gaps between various student demographics. An example of a new initiative is Tiger Takeoff, which is hosted by the Office of Inclusion and Diversity and Enrollment Management.. This two-day experience provides meaningful social, cultural, and educational activities for prospective students from historically underrepresented and underserved backgrounds. JuWan Robinson, Deputy Director of Diversity at the Office of Inclusion and Diversity, shared, “In partnership with Enrollment Management, we are proud of what we have learned during Tiger Takeoff’s pilot year in 2021. Engaging in a pilot experience has provided us with the information needed to inform the program for this year and years to come using a data-driven continuous improvement approach to achieving our goals.” Continuous improvement is at the heart of SACSCOC’s accreditation principles, making Tiger Takeoff exactly the type of partnership we hope to champion in this year’s reaffirmation activities.
Of course, student success can be captured in many ways, so Auburn will need to use and publish multiple measures of our progress for self-reflection and improvement. While many of these findings are supportive and assure us that Auburn University is a premier institution, there are still areas where Auburn Tigers of all persuasions can be better served. While the Compliance Certification Report, due in early September 2022, is only a snapshot of where Auburn University is today, it also offers us a chance to see where we are excelling, where we are failing, and how we are doing. we can improve in fulfilling our Mission and serving the people of Alabama.
Mark DeGoti, Auburn’s SACSCOC Liaison, is confident in his team’s approach to Core Requirement 8.1. “Auburn University has much to be proud of in terms of student success,” he shared, “and we are excited to continue this great work and ensure compliance with this core SACSCOC requirement. , both for this report and the next ten-year reaccreditation report. ”
To learn more about Auburn’s accreditation efforts, visit our website.