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SACS Self Study Report

Preface | Introduction | Section I | Section II | Section III | Section IV | Section V | Section VI | Summary


Preface

This Self-Study Report marks a significant milestone in Florida Gulf Coast University's efforts to gain accreditation by the Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It is the culmination of a process which began nearly three years ago when the university began to seriously develop plans to achieve accreditation as soon as possible after our planned August 1997 opening.

The first step in that process was preparation of a lengthy Application for Membership which documented that we had a qualified faculty and met a set of threshold criteria known as the Conditions of Eligibility. On the basis of that application, and a site visit by a Candidacy Committee during our first semester of operation, FGCU was awarded accreditation candidacy in December 1997 retroactive to the opening of the institution.

Shortly thereafter the self-study process began. Over a hundred faculty, staff, and students, representing all components of the university community, began working in fourteen study committees to examine systematically and thoroughly all aspects of the institution's operations. The chairs of the fourteen study committees and the self-study leadership comprised a Self-Study Steering Committee, which assumed responsibility for coordinating the self-study process and compiling this Self-Study Report.

The standard by which we evaluated ourselves was a COC publication entitled Criteria for Accreditation, which contains over 500 "must" and "should" statements. "Must" statements are criteria with which institutions seeking accreditation must demonstrate compliance. "Should" statements are advisory in nature but are not requirements. In addition to the Criteria, the self-study also examines several institutional issues.

This report includes an introduction, six major sections corresponding to the six sections of the Criteria for Accreditation, and a summary. The summary includes a status report describing the institution's response to self-study findings and was completed near the end of the self-study process.

Throughout the report the Steering Committee makes a number of recommendations and suggestions. A recommendation is based on the belief of the Steering Committee that the institution needs to take the recommended action to be in compliance with certain criteria. Suggestions indicate action needed to meet advisory statements or to improve operations.

FGCU is committed to the belief that assessment of all functions is necessary for improvement and renewal. This Self-Study Report, while a major undertaking, is part of an ongoing process to foster accountability and excellence through continuous self-evaluation.

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