The accreditation status of the University of Louisiana was reaffirmed in December. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges made the announcement during the SACS annual meeting.

The SACS commission evaluates all colleges and universities in its eleven state region every 10 years to determine each institution’s accreditation status. Its purpose is to assure quality in higher education.

“ The process of reaccreditation is all-encompassing,” said Dr. Carolyn Bruder, interim vice president for academic affairs at UL. “We review our practices, our programs and our outcomes, and we are evaluated by peers at similar institutions. The accreditation process is invaluable in our continuing efforts to improve our university.”

The university began preparing for the SACS review about three years ago. As part of the process, UL developed its Quality Enhancement Plan, which implements a new seminar for first-time freshmen.

The course, known as The Cajun Connection, introduces students to time management practices, health and wellness, budgeting, social media usage and library research skills. It also covers the value of education, the meaning of academic integrity and techniques for solving problems and resolving conflicts.

“ The seminar helps entering students get a better understanding of the university and helps them develop a sense of belonging here,” said Bruder. “We also think it will help students choose an appropriate major early in their college careers.”

It was piloted in late 2009 with six class offerings. In the Fall 2010 semester, the class was taught in two colleges. By 2012, the course will be taught to all first-time freshmen.

Bruder noted the university will present a progress report on its QEP to the SACS commission in five years.

The commission is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Latin America and other international sites approved by the Commission on Colleges that award associate, baccalaureate, master ’s, or doctoral degrees.

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