LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Angelina College President Dr. Michael Simon was smiling on Thursday as news came in from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges that the college's accreditation was reaffirmed for 10 years and the college was no longer on probation.
"It was a relief," Simon said. "We had a pretty challenging year."
Last June, the regional association which accredits schools across the southern United States has placed Angelina College on probation for issues with integrity and "institutional effectiveness" after school officials used language from another institution's documents and signed off on it as their own. According to the SACSCOC website, the board denied reaffirmation, continued accreditation and placed Angelina College on probation for 12 months "for failure to comply with Principle 1.1 (Integrity) and Comprehensive Standard (Institutional effectiveness: Educational programs) of the Principles of Accreditation."
At the time of the findings, an AC spokesman said administrators used boilerplate language from another institution's reaffirmation document as a guideline when writing its reaffirmation self-study. However, they mistakenly left information from the other college's document, including that institution's name and some of its academic parameters, in the report. They then signed the document, stating it was their original work.
Over the past year, the AC board has met with SACSCOC representatives several times and have put policies in place to prevent future issues.
"One of the things we did from the very beginning is recommit to our commitment on ethics and doing the right thing," Simon said. "One of the things we have talked about with every employee from all walks of the campus is if you see something wrong, then to say something, and we want the input from everyone."
Simon said the policies should also help in other areas and not just with accreditation.
"I think we were doing the right things but maybe not documenting it the way we needed to, so we got systems in place that enable us to do that," Simon said. "I truly believe Angelina College is at a better place and a better institution because of what we have gone through in the last year. I am thankful to the trustees, administrators, faculty, and staff who embraced change and worked so diligently. Their service made this outcome possible."
Angelina College will now go through an accreditation review in four more years and will have to reapply in nine years.
Angelina College is a comprehensive community college of 5,200 students and serves 12 counties in East Texas. The college awards certificates and associates degrees in 30 occupational programs. AC also offers 31 programs or classes in Community Services that lead to certifications or licensure.