Specialized accreditation applies to the evaluation of specific academic programs, schools, and units and occurs separately from institutional accreditation. Accreditation is important to prospective students and employers—and essential in many degrees that lead to an occupational license. Currently, 26 outside accrediting organizations review and accredit UCF programs and administrative units. The Academic Program Quality (APQ) unit within Academic Affairs maintains an inventory of UCF’s academic programs, schools, and units holding specialized accreditation. This list includes the accredited unit or program, the accrediting body, the year of the unit or program’s last review, and the anticipated date for the next accreditation review.
Role of Academic Program Quality
APQ reviews and develops university-wide policies related to academic programming that support the university’s strategic goals while demonstrating the quality of UCF programs to external constituents including accreditation agencies and internal stakeholders such as faculty members, administrators, and trustees.
UCF’s institutional accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), requires the university to report to SACSCOC and all of UCF’s U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting bodies, any change in status of an accredited program, department, school, or college. APQ also reports annually to the Florida Board of Governors on the status of accreditation for each of the university’s academic programs. Thus, it is important that entities within the university that hold specialized accreditation or are planning to apply for specialized accreditation communicate with APQ throughout the review and application processes. APQ will assist the unit by reviewing its self-study prior to submission, by scheduling on-site visit meetings that require the president and/or provost or other senior administrators to attend, and by ensuring that all correspondence between the program and the accreditor accurately and consistently represents the university’s mission, policies, and procedures.
Accrediting Decisions of Other Agencies
This SACSCOC policy explains why APQ is involved in the specialized accreditation process and the reporting requirement for units accredited by agencies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
Resource Guide for Self-Studies and Specialized Accreditation Reports (forthcoming!)
This guide contains language that may be helpful in writing your self-study and in answering questions from an accrediting agency. For ease of reference, it is divided into three sections—short responses, longer responses, and appendixes—each progressively more detailed than the last.
This document details APQ’s expectations for programs initiating accreditation or undergoing an accreditation review.
Site-Visit Planning Requirements
This document describes the planning materials submitted by the program or unit under review to prepare senior administration for their role in the on-site visit. These materials are submitted to APQ and include an executive summary of the programs under review and a statement prepared by the college dean intended to provide senior administrators with relevant talking points for their meeting with accreditation on-site visitors.