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SACS explains why Edison was put on probation

SACS explains why Edison was put on probation

By Matt Grant. CREATED Jul 13, 2012

FORT MYERS - We're now learning the reasons why Edison State College was placed on probation three weeks ago.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the group that decides whether Edison will stay accredited. Three weeks ago they placed the college on probation for violating seven of their core principles - including a lack of integrity.

In their formal letter to the college SACS says Edison was given the integrity violation because of an improper course swapping scandal which allowed hundreds of students to swap harder courses for easier ones in order to boost graduation rates.

SACS found this practice had been going on for three to four years.

But when the college applied for re-accreditation SACS says they left that, and other important things, out of their report.

Edison "submitted a compliance certification that was inaccurate and did not adequately represent the issues the institution was dealing with at the time," the letter says.

While the college has taken steps to stop that from happening again, SACS says the college can't prove they are following their own policies.

In a statement, interim president Dudley Goodlette says he stands by his administrators.

"Prior to this letter we have been taking the necessary steps," said Goodlette, "and we are moving forward to address" the seven violations.

The college will submit a report detailing how they are fixing these problems a few weeks before a SACS team visits the campus in April.

Edison has two years to fix these issues or they will lose their accreditation.

Read the full SACS letter above or click here.

College's response:

Edison State College is in receipt of a letter from the Southern Association of Colleges & Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) outlining the action taken by the Board of Trustees of SACS COC. The letter offers guidelines for the seven remaining recommendations to be addressed by the College.

“The letter from the SACS COC Board of Trustees clearly delineates the expectations we need to meet,” said J. Dudley Goodlette, Interim District President. “Additionally, we are pleased that seven of the original 14 recommendations were cleared.”

The seven remaining principles to be addressed are:

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

“Prior to the receipt of this letter, we have been taking the necessary steps and are moving forward to address these remaining principles,” added Goodlette. “Thanks to the enthusiastic cooperation of our faculty, administrators and staff, we are making great progress.”

“We stand behind our administrative and academic officers, who together with their expertise and leadership will continue guiding the College in the right direction to comply with all the standards required of us,” said Ann Berlam, Chair, Edison State College District Board of Trustees.

Edison State College will submit a First Monitoring Report four weeks prior to the Special Committee visit, which is anticipated in early April 2013.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com