This policy applies to William & Mary as a whole university, including the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
II. Purpose & Policy Statement
The purpose of this policy is to detail (1) university-level oversight of, and (2) academic-unit reporting obligations relating to, specialized accreditations that are held by (or may be sought by) programs and/or schools at the university.
Specialized accreditation (or “programmatic accreditation”): is distinct from institutional accreditation and refers to accreditation held by a specific degree program (or sub-discipline within a degree program), department, or school. Examples include, but are not limited to, accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the American Bar Association (ABA), the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP).
Responsible Individuals: Deans and other leaders of schools/academic units responsible for the supervision of specialized accreditation.
A. Reporting and Review of Specialized Accreditation at W&M
- Responsible individuals shall notify the Office of Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness (IAE) annually of any specialized accreditation that local academic units or programs under their supervision currently hold, intend to seek, or intend to cease.
- Due to federally mandated reporting obligations, responsible individuals must notify IAE and the Office of the Provost immediately of any decision by an accrediting agency to deny, suspend, revoke, terminate or withdraw accreditation, or any decision that places the program, department or institution on probation or equivalent status.
- Due to federally mandated reporting obligations, responsible individuals must notify IAE and the Office of the Provost immediately of any decision by their academic unit to withdraw from or not to seek reaffirmation of an existing specialized accreditation held within their academic unit.
- Responsible individuals shall provide IAE and the Office of the Provost with an opportunity to review, at least two weeks prior to their submission, all materials being submitted to a specialized accreditor, including those relating to initial accreditation, reaffirmation of accreditation, and responses to any findings and requests from the specialized accreditor.
- Responsible individuals shall provide IAE and the Office of the Provost with final copies of all materials submitted to a specialized accreditor and all official correspondence with the specialized accreditor pertaining to the status of the specialized accreditation.
- Deans’ offices shall work with the Office of the Provost and the Office of Institutional Accreditation & Effectiveness in preparations for on-site visits (or “virtual on-site visits”) related to specialized/programmatic accreditation and shall include these offices in exit conferences and other meetings as needed, or as requested by either office, during the on-site/virtual on-site visit of a review team.
- IAE shall maintain a listing of all W&M programs holding specialized accreditation by U.S. Department of Education (USDOE)-recognized accrediting agencies on the Accreditation website. This listing shall be updated annually or more frequently as needed to ensure accuracy.
B. Representation of the University in Specialized Accreditation Materials
- In its policy “Accrediting Decisions of Other Agencies,” SACSCOC requires that the university “represent itself accurately to each agency with regard to purpose, governance, programs, degrees, diplomas, certificates, personnel, finances and constituents, and must keep each USDOE-recognized accrediting body, including SACSCOC, apprised of any change in its status with one or another accrediting agency.”
- Deans and other responsible individuals shall ensure that materials and communications with specialized accrediting bodies accurately represents the university to each agency with regard to purpose, governance, programs, degrees, diplomas, certificates, personnel, finances and constituents. Responsible individuals shall use the required language detailed in Section V.A below regarding SACSCOC’s accreditation of the university.
- Upon receipt of notifications per Sections IV.A.2 and IV.A.3 in this policy, IAE shall notify all USDOE-recognized accrediting bodies of any change in specialized accreditation status.
A. SACSCOC requires the following language to be used when representing the University’s accreditation with SACSCOC:
“The College of William & Mary in Virginia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, master's, educational specialist, and doctoral degrees. William & Mary also may offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of William & Mary may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (www.sacscoc.org).”
B. Degree program names must be represented exactly as they are published in the university catalogs.
C. Financial Information: If the accrediting agency requires information on the University’s finances, responsible individuals shall contact the Chief Operating Officer and shall notify the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and the Assistant Provost for Institutional Accreditation & Effectiveness.
D. Governance and Authorization to Grant Degrees: Authorization to confer degrees is granted to the Board of Visitors of William & Mary by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and this authorization is documented in the Code of Virginia §23.1-2802.
E. William & Mary is governed by its Board of Visitors and is led by its president. Specialized accreditation materials should generally reflect the distinction between the policy-making function of the Board of Visitors and the function of the administration and faculty to administer and implement policy.
F. Questions about any of these procedural elements should be directed to the Assistant Provost for Institutional Accreditation and Effectiveness.
VI. Enforcement and Compliance
Deans of school-level units must that their units remain in compliance with this policy.
VII. Authority and Amendment, Implementation
This policy is approved by the Executive Leadership Team in accordance with the Policies & Procedures on Creating and Maintaining Whole University Policies.