Site Team to Visit USF St. Petersburg Spring 2009 to Evaluate Assessment Compliance

St. Petersburg, FL (June 2008) — On June 25, a committee of the SACS Commission on Colleges voted to continue the accreditation of USF St. Petersburg, but placed that institution on probation for a one-year period. The committee determined that USF St. Petersburg could not sufficiently measure and demonstrate compliance with two of the 89 SACS standards.

This action by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (Commission on Colleges) has NO effect on the full accreditation of USF itself (including the campuses at Tampa, Sarasota-Manatee, and Lakeland).

USF St. Petersburg was placed on "warning" status six months ago regarding the same measurement issues. The committee's action today indicates its position that the August response by USF St. Petersburg was inadequate on these two standards:

 3.5.1 (College-level competencies) The institution identifies college-level general education competencies, and the extent to which graduates have attained them.

4.1 (Student Achievement) The institution evaluates success with respect to student achievement including, as appropriate, consideration of course completion, state licensing examinations, and job placement rates.

Both issues relate to measurement of student progress, not the overall quality of faculty or programs. USF St. Petersburg expects to be able to demonstrate the needed measurement data by Spring 2009.

Specifically, the standards refer to measuring student general education competencies and student achievement including course completion, state licensing examinations and job placement rates.

USF St. Petersburg is the first and only regional campus in the state university system to achieve separate accreditation. The two SACS standards that have raised concerns pertain to processes that require a significant level of maturity in data collection and analysis.

"We have built the necessary assessment infrastructure and we are confident that over the next year USF St. Petersburg will be able to demonstrate the required level of compliance with these standards as we have with the other 87 accreditation standards," said Regional Chancellor Karen A. White, who leads USF St. Petersburg.

"We welcome the opportunity for the site visit in Spring 2009, and look forward to working with SACS to ensure the maturity and completeness of educational data at USF St. Petersburg," USF President Judy Genshaft said.

 "This is not a reflection on the quality of USF St. Petersburg programs or faculty. It shows that we have to dedicate the resources to demonstrate the success our students are achieving."

The University of South Florida is among the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community engaged public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. It is one of Florida's top three research universities. USF was awarded more than $300 million in research contracts and grants last year. The university offers 219 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The university has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 45,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.

– USF –

USF Media Contact: Holly Kickliter (727) 553-4455


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