Accrediting body issues 12-month warning for UNCSA

Associated PressJune 29, 2013 

— The UNC School of the Arts has been placed on a 12-month warning by the accrediting body for Southern colleges and universities after a review showed what the agency called “significant noncompliance.”

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that the warning was issued by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. It follows a review of UNCSA’s fifth-year interim report.

According to the commission’s board of trustees, UNCSA had shown “significant noncompliance” in the size of its faculty, institutional effectiveness, Quality Enhancement Plan, complaint procedures and student complaints.

The warning was announced Friday after the board’s June 20 decision.

The warning is a public sanction, but the school remains accredited and is not on probation.

“Nevertheless, UNCSA takes the warning from the SACSCOC very seriously,” Provost David Nelson said in a statement. “The education of our students is and always has been our first priority.”

Nelson said UNCSA has not received specific information about the areas of concern, but added that the school expects to get more detailed information in July.

“We are committed to resolving these issues favorably and look forward to working with SACS; in fact, we have already reached out to them for guidance,” Nelson said.

UNCSA was last reaccredited in 2006. The SACS Commission on Colleges requires member institutions to undergo a full review every 10 years and to submit a fifth-year interim report between full accreditation reviews.

Accreditation is important because it serves as a sort of stamp of quality assurance.

Nineteen colleges and universities received a citation in June, including three schools in North Carolina. Brevard College was placed on probation, and Montreat College, like UNCSA, was put on warning.

“The issuance of a warning is not atypical of how the SACS reaccreditation process works,” Nelson said. “Much like with a fiscal audit, certain discoveries are made, and then they are fixed. That is the reason for financial audits: to ensure compliance with accounting principles.”

Nelson said that UNCSA’s high school programs are not affected by the warning.

Nelson is serving as interim chancellor until Aug. 1, when James Moeser, UNC Chapel Hill’s chancellor emeritus, will take over as interim chancellor. John Mauceri, the current chancellor, announced in October that he would step down on June 30. The UNCSA board of trustees is conducting a search for his replacement.

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