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Edison State College put on probation

Edison State College put on probation

By Matt Grant. CREATED Jun 21, 2012 - UPDATED: Jun 21, 2012

PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - Edison State College is officially on probation.

"I can't say I'm surprised," said Ellie Bunting with Edison's faculty union.

The group that oversees Edison's accreditation, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, took the rare step Thursday morning to put the college on probation.

"I do not want to go on probation," said board member Chris Vernon last November.

For the college, this was the worst case scenario but not entirely unexpected. Since last November, many at the college worried publicly and privately the college would be put on probation after SACS slapped them with 14 violations - the most one relating to integrity.

"They were pretty serious recommendations," said Bunting. "And it's impossible to get them all fixed in a short period of time."

While SACS found Edison corrected half of the 14 violations, that still leaves seven issues that need to be fixed in order to keep their accreditation:

  • Integrity
  • Full-time faculty
  • Qualified administrative/academic officers
  • Institutional effectiveness, education programs
  • Institutional effectiveness, community public service
  • Academic policies
  • Undergraduate program requirements

The last two violations most likely stem from nursing students being misled about their program's accreditation and an improper course swapping scandal.

But board member Brian Chapman found a positive spin.

"For the next 12 months we're accredited. That's the good news," said Chapman. "That's the golden nugget."

What now?

For students nothing will change. The college is still accredited for the next year. They have 12 months to fix the seven violations.

In January, SACS will conduct an on-site visit to make sure the college is making progress.

If the college has not corrected the remaining violations by next June, they will be given another year to fix them.

If the issues aren't corrected by June 2014 the college will lose its accreditation.

In the meantime, SACS will make Edison's probation status public on their Web site.

"Do you think the seven issues especially the integrity violation can be turned around in a year?," asked Fox 4 reporter Matt Grant.

"Absolutely," said Chapman. "We've made the steps we've taken the steps in the last seven months to really set the course for the college for the next 10 years."

Edison's new president Dr. Jeffrey Allbritten wouldn't comment when reached by phone saying he doesn't have enough information.

However, in a news release, the college highlighted the seven violations that were able to be corrected saying:  "In a short period of time, we have made tremendous progress."

"Edison State College is a great institution," interim president Dudley Goodlette said in the written statement, "and we are confident we can overcome these challenges while continuing to serve our students."

Violations the college fixed

  • Program content
  • Organizational structure
  • Institution related foundations
  • Administrative support service
  • Quality enhancement plan
  • Admissions policies
  • Program Content

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com