Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

St. Augustine's College Faces Sanction by Accreditation Board

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

St. Augustine's College Faces Sanction by Accreditation Board

Article excerpt

St. Augustine's College has been issued a 12-month warning from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. SACS denied St. Augustine's 10-year accreditation renewal, instead renewing accreditation for only one year.

The historically Black college in Raleigh, N.C., was cited for failure to comply with standardized planning and evaluation in academics and administration, as well as education support areas such as the library, career center, student services, finance offices, provost offices and food service. The college also was cited for not providing transcripts and other credentials for some faculty members. And according to the SACS report presented in December, St. Augustine's did not provide sufficient evidence of its financial stability.

A warning is the lesser of the SACS sanctions. Probation is more serious. A SACS committee will make a follow-up visit to St. Augustine's this fall, and its status will be reevaluated in December.

Tom Benberg, SACS executive director for the commission on colleges, says colleges can determine much of their future after a sanction.

"Some just float along and are still in trouble. Some make this their top priority and put their focus, energies and resources toward the solutions," he says. If all goes well, St. Augustine's could come off its warning status and be reaffirmed its 10-year accreditation after the re-evaluation.

That is exactly what St. Augustine President Dr. Dianne Boardley Suber plans. Suber, who arrived at the college two years ago, says the primary problem at the 135-year-old school was inconsistent record keeping.

"The SACS team didn't see 10 years of documentation," she says. She says she feels St. Augustine's is financially solvent but admits financial record keeping has been a problem. She says administrators became aware that documentation was missing during a self-study in preparation of reaccredidation. The college is working with a consultant from SACS.

"These issues are fixable," Suber says. A progress report from the college is due in August

Suber, who was appointed to President Bush's Advisory Board on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, defends what critics cite as a drop in student enrollment It is now around 1,400, down several hundred. But Suber says enrollment is stable now, not falling.

"Our retention rate has increased. We're looking at both increasing and retaining. The completion process is very important for our students," she says.

Suber is hoping the re-introduction of a football program at St. Augustine's will raise its visibility and energize the campus. …

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