By Erin Grable, News Editor
Last week, Young Harris College received the approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools or SACS. This will take the college from nine baccalaureate programs to a total of 13 programs and three post-baccalaureate certification programs.
According to Joe Anderson the Chair of the Math Department, YHC already has a four-year mathematics program but is anticipating approval from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, PSC for the post-math education certification program.
“With the post-major students will be able to come back after four years at YHC for an additional year and obtain an education certificate for teaching,” said Anderson. “After completing the Bachelor of Science in mathematics, students can come back for an additional year and obtain a certification in mathematics education.”
“My goal is to have the faculty at big universities like the University of Georgia and Georgia Tech to want their children to go to their school for their Masters and Ph.D., but come to Young Harris for their undergrad.”
Six to seven YHC students on campus are interested in being math majors and hopefully in the next few years there will be as many as 20 to 30.
“I think the additional math programs are a great thing. Now for those looking to pursue a major or minor in math will be able to,” said Mitch Williams, a math major from Covington. “It will also give those who intend to major in math a chance to stay here for four years.”
Currently, there are three full-time faculty in the math department, one part-time and two adjunct professors; but over the next two years the college is working to hire two new full-time assistant professors.
“We will help you get wherever you want to go, whether it is continuing to graduate school, teaching or starting a non-teaching career,” said Anderson.
According to Anderson with the approval of the mathematics education certification program it will not only be beneficial to students but to the local community as well, because we will be producing teachers that can help with teacher shortages.
Anderson went on to say that in the future the math department will expand to offer tutoring programs for local school systems. This will provide future teachers with exposure to working with middle and high school students.
At this time YHC does not have any programs in the area mainly because the program is new, but students will have the ability to get out in the community.
“We want to challenge students, but let them know that math is accessible, said Anderson. “You can do this, and we are here to help you. It is going to take a lot of work, and it is going to be hard; but we are going to have great undergrad students who can go anywhere.”
By Stephanie Sexton, Staff Writer
Last week, students may have noticed a different buzz around the campus. There were people in nice suits walking around, teachers were dressed better than usual and there was a bit of a nervousness amongst the faculty and staff. That is because the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, or SACS, was here for a few days to assess the college. The overall goal for the college was to become reaffirmed. What does that mean? What is reaffirmation, and how it is it obtained?
“Every school that is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and schools, that’s what we call SACS, has to undergo a self-audit every 10 years,” said Rosemary Royston, vice president for planning and assessment.
Basically it is like a check-up on the college. SACS looks at the college and makes sure that the faculty and staff are doing everything they can to improve the learning process on campus.
The institution being evaluated shows SACS what they have been doing to help students learn the material needed to graduate.
“We say, here’s what students are expected to learn, and how are we going behind them and really looking at all of our programs, and saying okay here are the outcomes, here’s what they have learned, and here’s where we need to do something’s differently,” Royston said.
There are many ways and tools to help the students learn the materials needed. One tool particularly that Young Harris College chose to use is Rhetorica, or the QEP.
“The reason we chose to do the QEP is they want us to identify an area where we know students need extra support, and we identified writing and speaking,” Royston said.
SACS is going to come in, look at Rhetorica and hopefully give their blessing for Young Harris to launch the program in Fall 2011.
There are 11 of the SACS representatives that are from other colleges that are similar to Young Harris College. They come in and interview the faculty, staff and even students for three days straight. There was a luncheon with some students, interviewing them about the college.
“There are eight students that we have selected, so they can ask them about their experience here, they’ll talk about Rhetorica, and they’ll want to know about student rights and responsibilities,” Royston said. One of those students was Matthew Kammerer, business and public policy senior from Loganville .
“We asked questions and questions were asked of us. We started with a general discussion over food with the four SACS representatives who range from Academic Deans to Vice Presidents of Student Affairs.
We discussed items ranging from how our campus has changed since moving four-year to how students were involved in choosing the QEP,” Kammerer said when asked about the meeting with SACS.
While the college will not find out if it passed the assessment until June 2011, YHC President Cathy Cox did send out an e-mail with positive feedback from the representatives.
“Our SACS on-site committee has completed its work and found us fully in compliance on all the ‘Core Requirements’ of SACS,” Cox said. “This is a huge accomplishment and vividly demonstrates the good work we are doing to grow our College according to the best academic and professional guidelines.”
According to Cox’s e-mail, “several committee members said that Rhetorica was the best QEP they had ever read.”
However, despite all of the good news, SACS did find a few imperfections in its evaluation of the school but none that appeared great enough to hinder the reaffirmation process.
“The Committee did issue four findings related to the slightly lesser ‘comprehensive standards,’” Cox said. “Three of which relate to the nuances of assessment and how we measure student achievement, our administrative services to students, and our overall educational programs.”
Cox attributes these finding due to the recent transition from a two-year to a four-year college. With a newly instated senior class, many information would not be obtainable. The final finding SACS mentioned dealt with campus safety and security. The committee could not articulate any specific issue with safety but did suggest more safety coordination.
More information from SACS evaluation will available in the coming months after the written report has been sent to the college.
By Kathleen Layton, Editor-in-Chief
with information from wire reports
Since Tuesday the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has been on campus at Young Harris College to determine whether or not the college has met the expected requirements for their 10-year reaffirmation.
After an intense week of interviews and observation, the SACS on-site committee has completed its work and found Young Harris College fully in compliance on all the “Core Requirements” of SACS.
While YHC was found to be in compliance with the SACS standards, the Committee did issue four findings related to the slightly lesser “comprehensive standards,” three of which relate to the nuances of assessment and how YHC measures student achievement, the college’s administrative services to students and YHC’s overall educational programs. Some of these were difficult, if not impossible, for YHC to meet at this time because we are only now reaching the point of graduating a first senior class. As YHC continues to move forward as a four-year school, these needs will be addressed. The fourth finding was a bit odd, relating to YHC’s overall campus safety and security. The Committee chair could not exactly enunciate what their issue was – he said they found nothing inherently unsafe or risky, but felt that YHC needed more coordination of safety efforts.
According to an email from the YHC President Cathy Cox, “the Committee loved the QEP (Quality Enhancement Program), Rhetorica.They found it fully in compliance with the SACS requirements and numerous members of the committee commented that it was the best QEP they’d ever read.”
YHC did not get a written report on these findings today. That will come within the next month or so, and then the college will have a better understanding of where the committee felt YHC could make improvements.
With the evaluation complete, YHC expects their 10-year reaffirmation to be formally issued next June.