Special to the Register
Gainesville Daily Register
The significance of a college’s accreditation status cannot be overstated, according to Dr. Steve Broyles of North Central Texas College, and that’s why he said a recent visit to the NCTC Graham Campus by representatives from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) “was a big deal—a very, very big deal.”
“Yes, it’s about reputation and academic integrity,” he added, “but on a purely practical level, failure to maintain full accreditation can also mean failure to qualify for both state and federal funding. For most schools, that would probably mean closing the doors.”
That’s extremely unlikely for NCTC’s new branch campus in Graham, thanks to a glowingly positive report by the visiting team from SACS—widely considered to be the most stringent and exacting among the four regional accrediting agencies in the U.S.
“While we came out very well on things like curriculum, facilities and so on,” said Dr. Broyles, dean of administrative services who coordinated the SACS visit, “what the visitors were most impressed by and had the most positive comments about was the exceptional support for the NCTC Graham Campus that has been demonstrated by the community and its citizens.”
NCTC’s Emily Klement, a key player from the beginning in the establishment of the campus in Graham, said she is not surprised in the least.
“Commendations and compliments are extremely hard to come by in connection with the SACS accreditation process,” said Klement, dean of the NCTC Bowie and Graham campuses, “but community support and involvement here in Graham were cited by the visiting team repeatedly.
“It has definitely been the greatest strength of our partnership from the very outset, and the college is profoundly greatful for it.”
Shelly Key, campus director, explained that applying for official accreditation is necessary any time a college expands its programs “substantively” by opening a new campus.
This “substantive change” application process began almost immediately upon NCTC’s opening of the campus in Graham in August 2009, beginning with submission of a thick packet of documentation to SACS.
“Basically, these documents verify and assure the accrediting agency that the quality of instruction and student support at the new campus is equal in quality to that provided to students at other NCTC campuses,” Dr. Broyles explained.
SACS personnel then reviewed the report, approved the Graham campus officially in June 2010 and authorized the two-day on-site visit last week—to further verify evidence presented in the documentation that everything is in compliance with SACS requirements.
The visit involved further review of documents, a tour of campus facilities and face-to-face interviews, not only with key college personnel but also with students.
“Upon conclusion of the visit, the team found that the college is in compliance in all areas,” Key reported. “Because accreditation is so vitally important, this is something our staff and all the wonderfully supportive citizens of Graham can really be proud of.”
Dr. Broyles said the visiting team will submit its report to the SACS Commission on Colleges, which is expected to officially act favorably upon it soon.
For more information about the accreditation of the NCTC Graham Campus or about programs and services available to students, including enrollment information, contact Shelly Key at (940) 521-0720 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.