'Our highest institutional priority'
Accreditors who stunned USF St. Petersburg last month by putting it on probation have offered a little more detail about why the school came up short.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges concluded USF St. Petersburg did not meet two of 89 accrediting standards - one concerning the assessment of academic skill of general education students; the other involving tracking student success after graduation.
In a July 10 letter to USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor Karen White (left), accreditation commission President Belle Wheelan said on the first issue the school "documented great strides in the assessment of writing effectiveness and quantitative reasoning, but usable results for the third generation education dimension, liberal arts, were not evident."
On the second, she said the school "demonstrated how it had begun to extract data on course completions, graduation rates, licensing exam passage rates for the College of Education, and job placement rates, but the university did not demonstrate how these data were used to evaluate success."
USF St. Petersburg must submit a monitoring report to SACS by April 2009.
White emailed a memo to faculty, staff and students this afternoon, updating them on what SACS had to say. "Satisfaction of the two remaining SACS standards is our highest institutional priority," she wrote. "To conclude this conversation about our accreditation, we must continue rigorous introspection of our student learning outcomes."
- Ron Matus, state education reporter