The United States Sports Academy recently welcomed Dr. L. Dean Adams, chair of the Academy’s Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) Onsite Reaffirmation Committee, to campus for a pre-visit as the Academy prepares for a campus visit from the full committee on 20-22 March 2018. From left are Director of Sports Studies Dr. Sandra Geringer, Director of Communications Keith Ayers, President and CEO Dr. T.J. Rosandich, Dean of Administration and Finance Holly McLellan, Adams, Dean of Student Services Dr. Vincent Nix and Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Stephen Butler. Adams is vice president for student services and enrollment management at Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky. A key focus during the visit was a discussion of the Academy’s “Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP),” a special project to provide continued enhancement to student learning through the involvement of undergraduate students in research.
The Academy in 2017 embarked on the process of maintaining its status as America’s only freestanding accredited sports university as the institution began its 10-year accreditation reaffirmation. The Academy has successfully maintained its accreditation continuously since first being accredited by SACSCOC in 1983. The Academy’s accreditation was last reaffirmed in 2008, and the next reaffirmation is due late this year.
SACSCOC’s reaffirmation process has two major elements: compliance with a wide range of SACSCOC higher education Principles and implementation of the QEP. The Academy’s upcoming QEP, its second, will focus on the use of research as a tool for student learning. Through this new QEP, Academy degree-seeking students at the bachelor’s level will soon benefit from a new program to boost their research skills and improve their chances for success at the Academy, in graduate school, and in their careers in sports.
“ACCESS for Success in Sports Education Research” is the latest Academy effort to continuously enhance the academic experiences of its students. Many students already have benefitted from the Academy’s first QEP, the “Academy Center of Collegiate Excellence and Student Success” (ACCESS), the online writing laboratory that helps students improve the general writing skills necessary to be successful in an online learning environment. The latest QEP builds on the online writing laboratory and expands its critical thinking and research components. The second QEP will enhance the student’s ability to design, develop, investigate, and report on research at the undergraduate level.
The second QEP will provide enhanced programming and resources to support students at the undergraduate level in achieving higher-level cognitive learning, providing students with the tools necessary to think critically throughout the research process and conduct professional level research commensurate with their degree level. Students will benefit from greater research skills gained from:
- enhanced critical thinking and research-based tutorials;
- expanded research guides through the Academy’s online library;
- increased research-based writing assignments;
- MTH 465 (Statistical Measurements in Sports) as a required course; and
- SAR 490, a senior research project.
Each student entering the bachelor’s degree program on 1 September 2018 or later will automatically benefit from being a part of the new QEP. Students already in the bachelor’s program are encouraged to opt in to take advantage of the new QEP. All elements of the new program will be available on 1 September 2018.
SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern United States. It serves as the common denominator of shared values and practices among the diverse institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the Commission.
The mission of SACSCOC is to assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions. Its vision is to serve as the premier model for shaping and ensuring the quality of higher education throughout the world.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.