Substantive change workshop
Dr. Sarah Armstrong, director of institutional support for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC presents a workshop hosted by the Air University Academic Office Feb. 24. (Air Force photo/Melanie Rodgers Cox)
Substantive change workshop


3/9/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Dr. Sarah Armstrong, director of institutional support for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges, or SACSCOC presents a workshop hosted by the Air University Academic Office Feb. 24. Above, education officials engage in discussion during the workshop. Her presentation, which addressed the very important issue of substantive change and how it may impact accreditation, drew more than 30 participants from across the Air University and colleagues from local universities.

Substantive change is defined as a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution, including changes to the curriculum and instructional delivery methods of existing programs. Member institutions are required to notify the SACSCOC of changes in accordance with the substantive change policy and, when required, seek approval before changes are initiated.

Additionally, member institutions are required to have a policy and procedure in place to ensure substantive changes are reported to the commission in a timely fashion. If approval is not gained in accordance with policy, the commission may apply substantial penalties.

Determining what constitutes a substantive change requires a thorough understanding of the SACSCOC "Principles of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement" and judgment of the case at hand. Dr. Armstrong's presentation discussed the decision parameters and rationale behind them. She used multiple examples to illustrate the decision process.

In the coming months, the AU Academic Affairs office will bring in experts on the topics of preparing for the fifth year interim review and institutional effectiveness. Those who would like to propose a topic for discussion should contact Diana Bunch at 953-4547 or diana.bunch@maxwell.af.mil.