Interim president expects site team to recommend college as a candidate for accreditation.
By Kyle R. Cotton
For almost a decade Northeast Lakeview College had been piggybacking on this college’s accreditation as it struggled to get accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
After all that time, two presidents and two previous applications, SACSCOC reviewed Northeast Lakeview’s third application and sent an on-site team to visit the campus and audit the application Feb. 24-25 to determine whether to recommend the college for candidacy.
The team will decide whether to grant candidacy June 16 at SACSCOC’s biannual board meeting.
Once a college is granted candidacy, it has four years to satisfy all accreditation standards and schedule a second on-site visit.
If that visit shows all standards have been satisfied, the school will achieve accreditation.
This is the first time Northeast Lakeview has reached this point in the accreditation process.
“The visit could not have gone better,” said Thomas Cleary, interim president of Northeast Lakeview and vice chancellor of planning, performance, accreditation and information systems.
“Whenever an on-site team visits, they are looking to verify what was in the application,” Cleary said. “There are 95-98 standards that they are looking for, and they found zero deficiencies.”
Standards include financial structure, student success, institutional effectiveness and showing clear and convincing evidence of improvement.
The candidacy visit audits only 31 of the 95-98 standards while the follow-up reviews every standard.
“To pass this level of review is really an all-or-nothing situation,” Cleary said.
Cleary said this is the hardest step in the process for a school seeking accreditation, noting the different consequences for colleges that fail either accreditation or reaffirmation.
Cleary said if a college falls short on any standards when seeking reaffirmation, recommendations are made to correct the deficiency, whereas a college applying for accreditation would have to start the process all over again.
Cleary said he expects the on-site team to recommend Northeast Lakeview for candidacy.
During the summer, the Alamo Colleges are expected to begin its search for the next president of Northeast Lakeview.
“Nothing will derail this from happening,” Cleary said. “Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with my team to come up with a game plan going forward.”
“I will remain there until a successor is named,” Cleary said.
“This is a seminal moment for the college,” Cleary said. ”All the credit in the world goes to the amazing group of people at Lakeview who put in the time and effort and always put student success first.”
Dr. Craig Follins, former Northeast Lakeview president under whose tenure the SACSCOC visit was granted, said, “I’m happy for them, there are some amazing people over there who made this happen and I’m excited for the students and the opportunities this could provide.”