USCB Earns a Perfect 100% on its Interim Five-Year Accreditation Report

March 10, 2015

BLUFFTON, S.C. – Three years of work by a talented team of administrators and faculty at the University of South Carolina Beaufort came to a successful close recently when the university was declared to be in full compliance with the standards set by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Not only that, but the USCB academic team earned the coveted 100 percent rating, a very rare achievement among colleges and universities, especially on the first round of academic submissions.

In a letter to USCB Chancellor Jane T. Upshaw, Ph.D., Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D., the President of SACSCOC, indicated that USCB complied fully with 17 select standards of the Principles of Accreditation outlined in the Commission’s Fifth-Year Interim Report.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges is the accrediting body for USCB and other schools and colleges in the Southeast region of the United States. Every 10 years, its member schools must reaffirm SACSCOC standards by demonstrating compliance with a series of 17 rigorous academic standards. Every five years, member schools must submit an interim report demonstrating the same high level of compliance. The interim report must be accompanied by a second report, a Quality Enhancement Plan Impact Report.

The 17 standards, including some federal mandates, cover a wide range of topics, everything from faculty and the curriculum to issues of governance and more. The university’s interim report must be accompanied by three years’ worth of data to document its assertions.  

“Every 10 years, when institutions go through the reaffirmation process, they are required to develop a five-year plan demonstrating how they will improve student learning,” says Martha Moriarty, Ph.D. As Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Moriarty served as chair of the SACSCOC Leadership Team, a group of 17 carefully selected administrators and members of the faculty and staff who prepared the interim report. Taken together, they represented every area of the university.

Dr. Timothy M. James, Ph.D., director of the Quality Enhancement Plan at USCB, served as chair of the QEP Steering Committee.

“Our five-year plan was called ‘Critical Reading for College Success,’” Dr. Moriarty says. “We focused intently on our students. We enhanced our freshman English classes in an effort to improve their critical reading skills. We trained faculty and librarians. We assessed students every year using a standardized test to gauge critical thinking skills, writing skills and more. We had to submit the impact report along with the interim report. We received a letter from SACSCOC saying that USCB met the required standards for the Fifth Year Interim Report. We had a perfect report.”

How significant is a perfect report?

“It’s a huge accomplishment for the university to be able to demonstrate to the public that we’ve complied with every standard—and both state and federal guidelines,” Dr. Moriarty says. “Our programs are exactly where they should be. We are assessing our effectiveness across all areas of the university from teaching and learning to student services and community outreach.”


 ABOUT USCB Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 600), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university’s two campuses serve a diverse student body of 1,800 students. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, SC, offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. It is home to Sand Shark athletics. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort’s downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort’s many art galleries. Students enjoy opportunities on Hilton Head Island, including the USCB Center for Event Management and a Coastal Ecology research partnership with Vagabond Cruise. USCB serves 1,500 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) members, who participate in more than 1 million course hours annually, placing OLLI at USCB in the top 10 in the country. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

 For more information on the SACS Fifth-Year Interim Report, contact Lynn McGee, Ph.D., vice chancellor for Advancement and External Affairs, at 843-208-8240. Dr. McGee served on the Leadership Team.