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SOUTHERN MISS SACS PROBATION LIFTED - Review and System Improvements Maintain Accreditation Status

Date   TUESDAY, DEC 6, 2005    
Contact Margie P. Jepson, MBA Director, Marketing and Public Relations 601.266.4491  



ATLANTA – The board of directors for the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) convened today and lifted probationary status from the University of Southern Mississippi.


Southern Miss was challenged by SACS to improve documentation in its assessment process for distance education. During the one-year period, the university remained fully accredited.  At no time did SACS express concerns about overall academic quality or institutional integrity.


“Documentation of our assessments and processes are in accordance with SACS standards, and systems are in place to make certain that we meet those standards going forward,” said Dr. Joan Exline, assistant to the president for accreditation, planning and articulation.


Exline has worked with the university's deans, the graduate council, council of chairs and various faculty and staff committees to address assessment issues. Three teams, including a leadership team, a compliance team and a quality enhancement plan team, were formed to focus on accreditation.


“We are very pleased with today’s action. We have worked diligently in concert with the SACS organization,” said Southern Miss President Dr. Shelby Thames. “I want to emphasize the contributions and hard work of the Southern Miss faculty and staff during this process. Their efforts have been outstanding.”


“This is certainly good news for the university as we fulfill our mission of preparing our students to achieve their life goals by providing quality academic experiences.”


“It is because of the tremendous efforts on the part of faculty and staff over the past year that we have achieved such a positive result, and we remain committed to maintaining the standards that protect the value of a University of Southern Mississippi degree,” said Dr. William Powell, president of the University of Southern Mississippi Faculty Senate and a foreign language and literature professor at the university.


During the past year, Southern Miss has continued to work on its next regularly scheduled 10-year accreditation assessment, having already submitted reports in October in preparation for the April 2006 SACS campus visit. “All systems are in place as we continue to prepare ourselves as part of our normal cycle of accreditation assessment,” Exline said.


For more information, contact Southern Miss Marketing and Public Relations at 601.266.4491.


About The University of Southern Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss, with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at


The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) is the recognized regional accrediting body in the 11 U.S. Southern states – Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia – and in Latin America for those institutions of higher education that award associate, baccalaureate, master's or doctoral degrees. Further information is found at


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Last updated: 01/06/06

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