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Clemson University

|2002 SACS Self-Study

Timeline

Principal Committees

Steering Committee

College and Educational Support Unit Coordinators


Purpose and Goals of the Self-Study

Forms

"MUST" Statements

Style Guide

University Mission Statement


Guidelines and Forms

"Must" Statements


 

Section I:

Principles and Philosophy of Accreditation

 

On behalf of President James F. Barker and the students, faculty, staff, and trustees of Clemson University, we submit this Self-Study to the Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in accordance with that organization's 1998 Criteria for Accreditation. This study, which has involved the full University community, has provided a significant opportunity for evaluation and, in many cases, improvement of the University and its programs. The remainder of this section details the University’s response to the Section I criteria.

CRITERIA FOR ACCREDITATION

The Commission on Colleges supports the right of an institution to pursue its established educational purpose; the right of faculty members to teach, investigate and publish freely; and the right of students to have opportunities for learning. However, the exercise of these rights must not interfere with the overriding obligation of the institution to offer its students a sound education leading to recognized certificates or degrees.

Findings

Clemson University provides a wide range of academic programs, supporting faculty and student research as well as outreach and public service activities that are consistent with the University mission and vision. Academic programs are detailed in the Undergraduate Announcements (http://www.registrar.clemson.edu/publicat/catalog/contents.htm) and the Graduate School Announcements (http://www.grad.clemson.edu/studentintro.htm). Hard copies are available for the COC visiting team.

The soundness of the educational programs and opportunities at Clemson University is well documented by this study, by a history of over 100 years of higher education, and by a vision and mission highly focused on the establishment of a "high seminary of learning."

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

 

1.1 Institutional Commitment and Responsibilities in the Accreditation Process

Clemson University is committed to the highest degree of compliance with the 1998 Criteria for Accreditation and SACS accreditation processes. The students, faculty, staff, and administration welcome the SACS comprehensive review process as conducted in support of the Self-Study Report as well as by the peer-review team. These processes enhance the University’s commitment to continuous improvement. Where exceptions were discovered, immediate actions were taken to address issues of non-compliance or improve administrative processes.

An institution is required to conduct a self-study at the interval specified by the Commission and, at the conclusion of the self-study, accept an honest and forthright peer assessment of institutional strengths and weaknesses. The Commission requires that the self-study assess every aspect of the institution; involve personnel from all segments of the institution, including faculty, staff, students, administration and governing boards; and provide a comprehensive analysis of the institution, identifying strengths and weaknesses. The Commission also requires an adequate institutional follow-up plan to address issues identified in the self-study.

Findings

Under the leadership of the SACS Steering Committee and in accordance with plans developed and submitted by the Committee, the filing of this Self-Study Report and reception of the visiting team are in compliance with this criterion. The self-study has involved all areas of the University including students, faculty, staff, administrators, and members of the University’s Board of Trustees. Extensive meetings, interviews, and campus surveys of students, faculty, staff, and administrators have been part of the self-assessment process.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

An institution must be committed to participation in the activities and decisions of the Commission.

Findings

Clemson University is committed to supporting the activities of the Commission. Representatives of the University have regularly served on SACS peer-review teams, attended SACS meetings, served on SACS committees, and actively engaged in other SACS activities. The 2001-2002 Self-Study Survey of the campus found that, since the last SACS review, 32 campus representatives have served on SACS visiting teams, 24 have attended the SACS Annual Meeting, and 7 have served on SACS regional committees.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

An institution is committed to the search for knowledge and its dissemination.

Findings

Clemson University views itself as a research university and is designated as a Carnegie Doctoral/Research University-Extensive. Research awards reached $92.8 million for the 2000-01 fiscal year, a 34% increase over the prior year. To further demonstrate its commitment to research and scholarship, the University has created and filled a new position of Vice President for Research, elevating the importance of the research function and activities on the campus to a higher level. The new vice president began his duties on July 1, 2001.

Furthermore, the University mission statement and supporting goals specifically address scholarship in a broad context for all academic areas (http://www.clemson.edu/welcome/quickly/mission/index.htm). The search for knowledge and its dissemination is an integral part of the campus as evidenced by the publications and grantmanship of the faculty. Research and scholarship are demonstrated in the following 2010 goals:

Increase research and sponsored programs to exceed $100 million a year in research support.

Foster Clemson’s academic reputation through strong academic programs, mission-oriented research and academic centers of excellence, relevant public service and highly regarded faculty and staff.

Several challenges will affect future progress in the area of research. Given the concerns about state funding, the key research issues facing the University are providing competitive faculty and staff salaries, increasing graduate program enrollments, and providing competitive graduate student stipends. Another challenge is research space. The success of the faculty in receiving research awards and the number of grant proposals submitted during the previous year have raised concerns about the availability of space for conducting research.

The University is conducting a space audit with the goal of ensuring the best and highest use of all University space and facilities consistent with its mission. This is a critical event for the University and must yield improvements in allocation of research space to support the University’s goals. New space and facilities will require state and private resources. A revised Master Campus Plan is in the developmental stages. Current drafts of the Master Campus Plan will be available in the Self-Study Library.

The administration, during fiscal year 2001–02, has directed specific funding to address research space requirements, graduate student stipends, and faculty salaries. Two research facilities are being built currently and renovations of other facilities are underway. A five-year plan, the Academic Road Map to Excellence, addresses the continued needs in these and other focus areas and can be found in the Introduction to the Self-Study Report.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

Integrity in the pursuit of knowledge is expected to govern the total environment of the institution.

Findings

Integrity is the cornerstone of all activities at Clemson University. The University’s 2010 Goals state the following as a means of setting the proper tone with regard to integrity and ethics:

Promote high integrity and professional demeanor among all members of the University community.

The University community plans to work and learn together in a climate of honesty, tolerance, and inclusion. These principles are embodied in the University policy on academic misconduct (Graduate School Announcements 2001-2002, p. 37) and the following Academic Integrity Statement (Undergraduate Announcements 2001-2002, p. 26, and http://www.clemson.edu/academic/integrity.htm):

As members of the Clemson University community, we have inherited Thomas Green Clemson’s vision of this institution as a "high seminary of learning." Fundamental to this vision is a mutual commitment to truthfulness, honor, and responsibility, without which we cannot earn the trust and respect of others. Furthermore, we recognize that academic dishonesty detracts from the value of a Clemson degree. Therefore, we shall not tolerate lying, cheating, or stealing in any form.

In addition, the University has established appropriate "Policies for Equitable Treatment" that deal with Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity, HIV Disease and AIDS, Individuals with Disabilities, Disabled and Vietnam-Era Veterans, and Harassment. These policies are administered through the Office of Access and Equity (http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/access/). Additionally, the Student Handbook (http://virtual.clemson.edu/groups/sthandbk/SH.HTM) provides guidance for students. Academic policies are administered through the Office of Undergraduate Studies for undergraduate students and the Graduate School for graduate students. These policies are supported with appropriate grievance policies and procedures that allow individuals to seek redress for their concerns. An Associate Dean in Undergraduate Studies serves in this role for undergraduate students. The University supports an ombudsman for faculty and graduate students to assist with resolving conflicts. Faculty have well-established processes for pursuing grievances as outlined in the Faculty Manual, Part V. All policies and statements outlined above will be available for review by the visiting team.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

Each member institution is responsible for ensuring integrity in all operations dealing with its constituencies, in its relations with other member institutions, and in its accreditation activities with the Commission on Colleges.

Findings

Through its policies, procedures, and hiring practices, the University ensures that integrity is the cornerstone of all of its operations. The University confirms its commitment to the integrity of this report and for the upcoming site visit by the COC.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

Each institution must provide the Commission access to all parts of its operation and to complete and accurate information about the institution's affairs, including reports of other accrediting, licensing and auditing agencies.

Findings

The University administration, faculty, and staff will ensure full access to all of its operations. Complete and accurate information about the institution will be available to the visiting team, including reports of other accrediting, licensing, and auditing agencies.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

In the spirit of collegiality, institutions are expected to cooperate fully during all aspects of the process of evaluation: preparations for site visits, the site visit itself, and the follow up to the site visit.

Findings

The University administration, faculty, and staff pledge full cooperation with SACS and the peer-review team during all aspects of the review process.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

Institutions are also expected to provide the Commission with information requested and maintain an atmosphere of openness and cooperation during evaluations, enabling evaluators to perform their duties with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

Findings

The University administration, faculty, and staff pledge full cooperation in providing all information that is requested and in maintaining an atmosphere of openness and cooperation during the SACS evaluation process.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

Each participating institution must be in compliance with its program responsibilities under Title IV of the 1992 Higher Education Amendments. Failure to comply with Title IV responsibilities will be considered when an institution is reviewed for initial membership or continued accreditation. In reviewing an institution's compliance with these program responsibilities, the Commission will rely on documentation forwarded to it by the Secretary of Education.

Findings

The University is in compliance with Title IV of the 1992 Higher Education Amendments. The University will make available to the visiting team all Title IV audit reports and any other related documents supporting its participation in Title IV financial aid programs. The Office of Financial Aid will assist the visiting team in regard to any Title IV information.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None

Suggestions

None.

Each institution seeking candidacy, membership or reaffirmation with the Commission on Colleges must document its compliance with the Conditions of Eligibility as outlined in Section 1.4.

Findings

The University is in compliance with the Conditions of Eligibility as outlined in Section 1.4. Please refer to Section 1.4 for specific documentation that the University meets all conditions for reaffirmation.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

 

1.2 Application of the Criteria

Clemson University is pledged to fully support the application of all SACS 1998 Criteria for Accreditation to its operations.

An institution must refrain from making a substantive change, defined as a significant modification in the nature or scope of an institution or its programs except in accordance with the Commission's "Substantive Change Policy for Accredited Institutions" and its attendant procedures.

Findings

At the initiation of the planning for the reaffirmation of SACS accreditation in 1998, it was discovered that the University had not fully complied with the provisions of notification of substantive changes as defined in the above criteria. A number of notices were not filed on a timely basis. This deficiency has been addressed by the submission of appropriate filings. Also, policies and procedures have been developed, approved, and implemented to ensure compliance henceforth. The policy, Procedures for Proposing New Degree Programs or Major Program Modifications, is included in Appendix B.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

All existing or planned activities must be reported according to the policies, procedures and guidelines of the Commission on Colleges and must be in compliance with the Criteria.

Findings

A review of compliance with this criterion in 1998 revealed the University was not in full compliance. Significant effort has gone into updating the University’s filings with SACS. New policies and procedures are in place to ensure compliance henceforth (Appendix B). Personnel changes have ensured that assigned responsibilities complement this policy. The Office for Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment has been assigned to coordinate communications with SACS and with the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education with regards to the development of new educational programs, external program reviews, and accreditation activities. Procedures have been implemented for ongoing communications between the involved offices on campus so that a lapse will not occur.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

Each institution must have adequate procedures for addressing written student complaints.

Findings

The Clemson University Undergraduate Announcements 2001-2002 (pp. 26-27) and Graduate School Announcements 2001-2002 (pp. 36-38) detail processes for students to use in filing complaints regarding grade appeals and other classroom issues. These documents will be available for review by the visiting team. Located in the Student Handbook 2001-2002 (pp. 10-15) are the Clemson University Constitution and Bill of Rights and Responsibilities giving students the right to file grievances. Academic grievances for undergraduate students are heard by department chairs, college deans, and the Academic Grievance Committee with final appeals to the Provost and President. For undergraduates, the Academic Integrity Council hears academic integrity complaints. The Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies acts in the capacity of ombudsmen for undergraduate students. The Graduate Student Academic Grievance Committee hears all grievances for graduate students. These grievances follow a similar path of review by the faculty member, department chair, and dean. Also, graduate students have access to an ombudsman to assist in resolving conflicts.

Student judicial boards and the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs address violations of University regulations. Complaints concerning discrimination are addressed through the Office of Access and Equity. Additionally, the campus supports a strong student government for both undergraduates and graduate students with elected officers who serve on key University committees. These forums provide significant opportunities for students to present their views and concerns (Student Handbook 2001-2002). The Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Graduate School are also well connected to students and provide additional avenues for their complaints concerning University regulations. Students may also file their written complaints with academic deans, associate/assistant deans, and/or department chairs. As a result, multiple access points allow students to file written complaints and have their concerns heard.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

 

1.3 Separately Accredited Units

A unit is required to apply for separate accreditation or to maintain separate membership if, in the judgment of the Commission, the unit exercises this level of autonomy.

If an institution seeks separately accredited status for one of its units, it must notify the Executive Director of the Commission on Colleges of its intent and follow procedures established by the Commission.

Findings

Clemson University does not have separate units per these criteria. These criteria do not apply to Clemson University.

 

1.4 Conditions of Eligibility

Any institution seeking candidacy must document its compliance with each of the thirteen Conditions of Eligibility to be authorized initiation of a self-study, or to be aware of candidacy or candidacy renewal.

In addition, the institution must provide evidence that it is capable of complying with all requirements of the Criteria and that it will be in compliance by the end of the period allowed for candidacy.

The Conditions of Eligibility are basic qualifications which an institution of higher education must meet to be accredited by the Commission on Colleges.

Accredited institutions must also demonstrate compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation which holds institutions to appropriately higher standards of quality.

Findings

The University is in compliance with the conditions of eligibility as is documented in the remainder of this section.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

1. In obtaining or maintaining accreditation with the Commission on Colleges, an institution agrees to the following:

      1. That it will comply with the Criteria for Accreditation of the College Delegate Assembly consistent with the policies and procedures of the Commission on Colleges.

      2. That the Commission on Colleges, at its discretion, may make known to any agency or member of the public requiring such information, the nature of any action, positive or negative, regarding the institution’s status with the Commission.

      3. That it will comply with Commission requests, directives, decisions and policies, and will make complete, accurate and honest disclosure. Failure to do so is sufficient reason, in and of itself, for the Commission to impose a sanction, or to deny or revoke candidacy or accreditation.

Findings

The University endorses and supports full compliance with the above stated conditions.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

2. The institution must have formal authority from an appropriate government agency or agencies located within the geographic jurisdiction of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees.

Findings

Clemson University (formerly Clemson Agricultural College) was granted authority to award degrees by the Act of Acceptance of the General Assembly of South Carolina, which passed and was signed into law November 27, 1889. This enabling legislation established Clemson as a land-grant, state-supported institution. Clemson University functions under a Board of Trustees mandated in accordance with instructions in the Will of Mr. Thomas Green Clemson and is subject to the coordination of the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, which must approve all degree programs offered by the University. A copy of Mr. Clemson’s Will is available as Appendix C in the Trustee Manual found on the web at http://www.clemson.edu/bot/manual/. More information on the Board of Trustees can be found in Section 6.1.2 of this report.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

3. The institution must have a governing board of at least five members, which has the authority and duty to ensure the mission of the institution is implemented. The governing board is the legal body responsible for the institution. Evidence must be provided that the board is an active policy-making body for the institution. The board is ultimately responsible for ensuring that the financial resources of the institution are used to provide a sound educational program.

Findings

The Clemson University Faculty Manual Part II summarizes the governing structure of Clemson University, which continues to be in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Last Will and Testament of Thomas Green Clemson. The University has a Board of Trustees comprised of 13 members. Seven members of the Board serve as "life trustees" who are empowered to fill any vacancy in their ranks due to "death, resignation, refusal to act, or otherwise." Six other trustees are elected by the South Carolina General Assembly, three every two years for four-year terms.

The responsibilities of the Board of Trustees is outlined in the Trustee Manual Chapter VIII and includes the following:

    • Define the mission of the University and approve programs necessary to achieve it. The Board of Trustees shall be responsible for approving the number and types of degrees; the number and nature of departments, divisions, schools, or colleges through which the curriculum is administered; and the extent to which the institution should offer distance learning programs.

    • Require effective internal communications between the Administration and the Board of Trustees.

    • Appoint, monitor, advise, motivate, support, evaluate and, if necessary or advisable, replace the President.

    • Approve major policies, long-range plans, educational programs, and annual budgets, while clearly delegating the responsibility for administration of the University. The Board should encourage the Administration to consult with it before making decisions on highly sensitive matters whether they be administrative or policy.

    • Accept fiduciary responsibility for all University property and the long-term welfare of the University.

    • Preserve institutional autonomy recognizing that the preservation of autonomy requires accountability.

    • Appreciate and enhance private investment in Clemson University's programs.

    • Enhance the public image of the University.

    • Monitor and evaluate the institution's success in achieving its goals and mission.

    • Regularly evaluate the Board's performance and take steps to improve it.

    • Assure that the University remains an equal opportunity institution.

The Board meets at least four times per year. Its presiding officer is a chairperson, elected from the Board’s membership for a two-year term (but restricted to no more than three consecutive terms). The Board elects a vice-chairperson as well. The Board maintains standing committees including the Executive and Audit Committee, the Budget and Finance Committee, the Educational Policy Committee, the Student Affairs Committee, the Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee, the Institutional Advancement Committee, and the Research Committee.

The Clemson Board of Trustees is active in its oversight of the University. The Trustee Manual and minutes of their meetings are on file for review by the visiting team and are made available to the public on the University's web page. The Board approves the University's annual budget, tuition rates, and other financial guidelines. The University’s internal audit unit reports directly to the Board and provides oversight and feedback on internal controls, operations, and other broad areas customary for an internal auditing division. Additional details about the Board of Trustees can be found at http://www.clemson.edu/bot/ and in Section 6.1.2 of this report.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

The board must not be controlled by a minority of board members or by organizations or interests separate from the board.

The presiding officer of the board must have no contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interest in the institution. The majority of other voting members of the board must have no contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interest in the institution.

The bylaws of the board or other legal documents must ensure appropriate continuity in the board membership, usually by staggered terms of adequate length. Bylaws or other legal documents must ensure the independence of the board. Amendments of the bylaws must occur only by vote of the board after reasonable deliberation.

Findings

The Clemson University Board of Trustees is not controlled by a minority of the Board or by any other interests. The Board chairperson and all Board members are independent of the University and are governed by the laws of South Carolina in regards to contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interests in the institution. In accordance with its policy manual, the Board fully complies with these conditions.

The Trustee Manual, which governs Board activities, and minutes of the meetings of the Board of Trustees are made available to the public through the University’s web site. The minutes demonstrate the Board’s active engagement in fulfilling its responsibilities in accordance with the Thomas Green Clemson Will and the Board’s policies and procedures. Board continuity is provided through the election process for Trustees. The seven "Life Trustees" are self-perpetuating and elect members when a vacancy occurs. The remaining six Trustees are elected by the South Carolina General Assembly, three every two years. The elected Trustees can be re-elected.

The Trustee Manual Chapter V provides appropriate mechanisms for revision of its by-laws (http://www.clemson.edu/bot/).

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

In the case of military institutions…prohibited by the authorizing legislation from having a board with ultimate legal authority, it must have a public board in which neither the presiding officer nor a majority of the other members are civilian employees of the military or active/retired military. The board, consisting of at least five members, must have broad and significant influence upon the institution's programs and operations.

The military institution must demonstrate that there is appropriate continuity in the board membership and that its board, in policy and practice, is an active policy-making body for the institution.

The military institution's board must ensure that financial resources are used to provide a sound educational program and must not be controlled by a minority of board members or by organizations or interests separate from the board except as specified by the authorizing legislation.

The military institution's presiding officer of the board must have no contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interest in the institution. Furthermore, a majority of the other voting members must have no contractual, employment, or personal or familial financial interest in the institution.

Findings

This section of criteria does not apply to Clemson University.

4. The institution must have a chief executive officer whose primary responsibility is to the institution. The chief executive officer must not be the presiding officer of the board.

Findings

The Trustee Manual Chapter VI provides for the general delegation of authority for the University as follows. The Board of Trustees delegates to the President all governing functions except those specifically reserved for the Board of Trustees. Even on those functions reserved for the Trustees, the President and his vice presidents may review and comment on all policy matters under consideration.

The President of Clemson University is the chief executive officer of the institution (Trustee Manual Chapter VI, Faculty Manual, Part II). The President is selected by the Board of Trustees which, in turn, delegates to the Office of the President the following duties:

    • Operating as the Chief Executive of the University

    • Giving leadership to all phases of University planning

    • Coordinating the work of all units of the University

    • Carrying out major public relations functions

    • Evaluating results achieved against plans

    • Appointing staff who report to the President

    • Developing plans for achieving basic University objectives

    • Developing short- and long-range plans for the University

    • Recommending clear guidelines for the University development

    • Adopting the President's administrative policies

    • Recommending University Statutes to the Trustees

    • Adopting operating budgets and controlling expenditures within approved limitations

    • Overseeing administrative control

    • Evaluating results secured

    • Investing funds under polity authority

The President and his administrative council review and comment on all policy matters under consideration by the Board of Trustees. The President is not the presiding officer of the Board, which has its own chairperson elected from the Board membership. A review of minutes of the Board’s committee meetings and full Board meetings identify the Board chairperson and respective Board committee chairs as the presiding officers of these meetings.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

5. The institution must be in operation and have students enrolled in degree programs at the time of the committee visit.

Findings

Clemson University first enrolled 446 students in July 1893. The University has been in continuous operation since that time. The 2001 fall semester enrollment was 17,101 with 13, 975 undergraduate and 3,126 graduate students (2001 Fact Book). The University offers 71 undergraduate degree programs, 65 master’s degree programs, one educational specialist degree, and 34 doctoral degree programs. From December 2000 through August 2001, the University awarded 3,726 degrees.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

6. The institution must offer one or more degree programs based on at least two academic years at the associate level, at least four academic years at the baccalaureate, or at least one academic year at the post-baccalaureate level.

The institution may make arrangements for some instruction to be provided by other accredited institutions or entities through contracts or consortia. However, the institution itself must provide instruction for all course work required for at least one degree program at each level at which it awards degrees. Any alternative approach to meeting this requirement must be approved by the Commission on Colleges. In all cases, the institution must be able to demonstrate that it evaluates all aspects of its educational program.

The institution’s degree programs must be comparable with its stated purpose and based upon fields of study appropriate to higher education. Institutions may experiment in developing and defining new fields of study, but the Commission cannot evaluate for membership an institution that offers only programs which represent fields of study that are outside of the expertise of the Commission's accredited institutions.

Findings

Clemson University offers 71 undergraduate programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees. At the graduate level, the University offers 65 master’s degrees, one educational specialist degree, and 34 doctoral degrees across 72 fields of study. The degree programs are consistent with the University’s stated mission. All undergraduate programs can be completed within four years of normal academic study with the exception of the undergraduate program in landscape architecture that is designed as a five-year program of study. Clemson University faculty members (i.e., inclusive of those appointed in tenure track positions, non-tenure track positions, adjunct faculty positions, and graduate teachers of records) provide instruction for all course work required for all degree programs at the University. The University believes that all degree programs offered are appropriate to higher education.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

7. The institution must have a clearly defined, published statement of purpose appropriate to an institution of higher education.

Findings

Clemson University has clearly defined, published statements of vision, mission, and goals appropriate for an institution of higher education. These statements of vision, mission, and goals are published in appropriate documents and on the University’s Web site http://www.clemson.edu/welcome/quickly/mission/index.htm.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

8. The institution must have an appropriate plan, as well as a functioning planning and evaluation process, which identifies and integrates projected educational, physical and financial development, and incorporates procedures for program review and institutional improvement.

Findings

The University has adopted vision and mission statements and supporting goals that guide its planning and evaluation processes. These current documents had wide spread input from the campus at large and the final draft was adopted by the University’s Board of Trustees on January 26, 2001. Implementation of the vision, mission, and goal statements is monitored by assessment measures and reported to the campus as a report card http://www.clemson.edu/pres/reportcard.pdf. Additionally, the Board of Trustees has adopted an official set of peer institutions for purposes of benchmarking the University (Appendix C). The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education uses the peer data in establishing some of the parameters of Performance Funding that rates universities on an annual basis. Other reports prepared by the Office of Institutional Research benchmark the University against "Top-20" public institutions (http://www.clemson.edu/oir/).

All academic and administrative units, in accordance with University policies and procedures, must present detailed plans and assessment results on an annual basis. These assessment activities provide a basis for improving academic and administrative units based on the use of assessment results. Program reviews of all degree programs are conducted periodically by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and through discipline-specific accreditation reviews. The Undergraduate Announcements (p. 8) and Graduate School Announcements (p. 8) list the discipline specific accreditation titles held by the University and its academic units. These external reviews provide key feedback for institutional improvements that complement the University’s review activities. The Graduate School developed and implemented a review process in 2001 for a campus review of graduate programs to complement the CHE review process. The Principal Committee found that since the last SACS self-study all eligible academic programs had undergone external specialty accreditation and/or South Carolina CHE program review.

Academic planning does occur at the department level and planning reports are evaluated for links to the college and University vision, mission, and goals. The three mission area vice presidents (Academic Affairs, Research, and Public Service and Agriculture) are meeting with each academic department to develop a comprehensive University plan that articulates with departmental and college plans. A standardized reporting system, Departmental Activity Summaries, have been developed to integrate existing reporting systems and resources to provide data that will promote consistent use of University processes, data, and information in reviews.

A new campus master plan is being developed for facilities. Copies of the current documents supporting this effort, including consultants’ reports, are available for the visiting team.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

An internal, formalized program review process should be established that

    • provides a means to review all academic programs and administrative units in terms of their contributions to the fulfillment of the University’s vision, mission, and goals.

    • uses the results of external, discipline-specific accreditation reviews when available.

    • is conducted by and through an appropriate administrative/academic channel having the authority to take action when appropriate in terms of program enhancement, continuation, or elimination.

9. The institution must have published admission policies compatible with its stated purpose.

Findings

Admission standards for undergraduate programs for freshmen and transfer students are published in the Undergraduate Announcements 2000-2001 (pp.10-11). The same applies to admission criteria for graduate programs, which are published in the Graduate School Announcements 2000-2001 (pp. 15-16). These documents are reviewed and updated annually and are available in hard copy and on the University’s web page.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

10. All undergraduate degree programs of the institution must include a substantial component of general education courses at the collegiate level.

For degree completion in associate programs, the component must constitute a minimum of 15 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours and for baccalaureate programs, a minimum of 30 semester hours or equivalent quarter hours. The credit hours must be drawn from and include at least one course from each of the following areas: humanities/fine arts, social/behavioral sciences, and natural sciences/mathematics. The courses must be designed to ensure breadth of knowledge and must not be narrowly focused on those skills, techniques and procedures peculiar to a particular occupation or profession.

Findings

All undergraduate students at Clemson University must complete the "General Education" requirements as specified in the Undergraduate Announcements 2000-2001 (pp. 28-29). These requirements were revised in 1996. The "General Education" requirements total 41 semester credit hours distributed as follows:

    • Twelve hours in Communications and Speaking Skills

    • Three hours in Computer Skills

    • Six hours in Mathematical Sciences

    • Eight hours in Physical or Biological Sciences

    • Six hours in Humanities

    • Six hours in Social Sciences

The "General Education" component of the undergraduate programs is subjected to periodic review based on feedback from assessment mechanisms. The assessment process is described in detail in Section IV of this report. A task force to examine general education requirements met and drafted a proposal for change, but no action has been taken at this time. The task force proposal was given to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee that has responsibility for general education at Clemson. A copy of this proposal is available in the Self-Study Library. Any revisions to the general education requirements would fully comply with the 1998 Criteria for Accreditation.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

11. The number of full-time faculty members must be adequate to provide effective teaching, advising and scholarly or creative activity.

In each major in a degree program, there must be at least one full-time faculty member with responsibility for supervision and coordination of the major. In those degree programs for which the institution does not identify a major, this requirement applies to a curricular area or concentration.

Findings

Based on the University Fact Book 2001, the University had 983 full-time faculty members and 258 part-time faculty members for the fall 2000 semester. A review of degree programs and departmental memberships indicates that all degree programs are supported by at least one faculty member. A concern is that with enrollment growth in the 1990s, some areas of the University are stressed in terms of adequate faculty resources. The Delaware Cost Study indicates Clemson faculty members teach higher loads than faculty at peer institutions. This higher teaching load affects research productivity and other faculty activities. The lack of growth in the state budget as a percentage of the total University budget has not allowed for faculty growth consistent with enrollment increases. The University’s Academic Road Map includes a reduction in undergraduate enrollment that will assist with balancing the demand on faculty. The first reduction in enrollment was implemented in fall 2001 and will continue. Additional resources are needed in high enrollment areas to meet student demand and/or further limits on student enrollments are needed to balance the available resources with student demand. These actions are included in the University’s plans.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

12. The institution must have sufficient learning resources or, through formal agreements or appropriate technology, ensure the provision of and ready access to adequate learning resources and services to support the courses, programs and degrees offered.

Findings

The University has operated with limited resources resulting from insufficient state allocations, but it has operated within the confines of its available budget, primarily through alternative revenue sources, including substantial increases in student tuition and fees. As a result, the University has been able to provide an adequate level of learning resources and services. For the 2001-02 fiscal year, the state budget did not improve though anticipated major budget cuts for higher education in South Carolina were avoided for the education and general (E&G) funds. The Public Service Activities (PSA) had a significant budget cut of 9.72% for $5.2 million. To protect individuals from loss of jobs, 38.5 FTE positions were moved from PSA funding to E&G funds. In addition, the state cut both PSA and E&G funds 4% in November 2001.

Even with a flat E&G budget for 2001-02, Clemson University is already significantly under-funded by an estimated $48 million/year based on the formula used by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education. Furthermore, the level of state funding resulted in the University’s implementing its highest tuition increase in its history for the 2001-02 academic year to provide additional resources necessary to support progress toward the University’s Vision, Mission, and Goals. To offset these increased tuition costs, the University implemented a new needs-based grant program for the neediest students in exchange for community service.

The erosion of financial support is a concern and is reflected in the opinions of the University community (faculty, chairs, deans, staff, and students) as captured in the 2002 Self-Study Survey results. Using an average score of less than 3.0 (the survey used a 5-point scale of 1=very poor, 2=poor, 3=neutral, 4=good, and 5=very good), the survey indicated concerns in the following areas: laboratory equipment for teaching and learning, laboratory space for teaching and learning, office space for teaching and learning, and travel funds for teaching and learning. Similar levels of concern were expressed in regard to the same research-related resources.

The University has made significant progress in enhancing the information technology infrastructure to support student computing, classroom technology, and research infrastructure; other learning resources have improved significantly. The campus has installed, through the use of a student technology fee and other University funds, multimedia/information technology in 15 classroom laboratories, 14 open laboratories, 22 conference rooms, and 77 classrooms. However, the number of smart classrooms is limited, and more are needed to allow more faculty members to use technology in the classroom. Public computer laboratories are available across the campus for student access, and all residence hall rooms are wired for access to the campus network. The campus network has been improved significantly, and the University is an Internet II institution. The central portion of the campus provides a wireless connection to computing networks. Each college is provided with a technology specialist to trouble shoot faculty and student problems. A campus help desk provides support 7:00 am – 12:00 am weekdays. Campus Housing provides support in resident halls. The University has established an Office of Teaching Effectiveness and Innovation, which provides faculty development programs as well as individual faculty consultations focused on classroom teaching and pedagogical improvement. Additionally, the University has developed the Collaborative Learning Environment (CLE) software, a classroom technology support system. The CLE staff provides extensive faculty programming support to assist in incorporating technology into the classroom. WebCT is also supported on the campus.

Another area of concern has been the Libraries, as its budget has been significantly impacted by the increasing costs of periodicals. Improved financial support has been forthcoming for the current fiscal year and a number of fund-raising efforts are underway to address these concerns.

Extensive lobbying efforts are underway to promote the University’s budgetary needs, and the University leadership is aggressively pursuing all avenues for funding to allow it to pursue its vision, mission, and supporting goals. Significant efforts are also underway as part of academic planning and the University’s open budget process to reduce costs and gain efficiencies in the use of available funds. The Principal Committee commends the administration for its efforts to provide for the financial needs during these tight state budget years. The high degree of effort exhibited the last two years should be maintained to address the financial needs of the University.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

13. The institution must have an adequate financial base to accomplish its purpose at an acceptable level of quality on a continuing basis.

The institution must provide financial statements and related documents (as specified in Section 6.3.6) which accurately and appropriately represent the total operation of the institution.

Any institution, whether a part of a system or not, which is seeking initial candidacy for membership, candidacy renewal, or initial membership must include in its application separate institutional audits and management letters for its three most recent fiscal years, including that for the fiscal year ending immediately prior to the date of the submission of the application.

Further, it must have available the audit and management letter for the most recent fiscal year ending immediately prior to any committee visit for candidacy, candidacy renewal, or initial membership.

These audits must be conducted by independent certified public accountants or an appropriate governmental auditing agency.

An applicant or candidate institution must not show an annual or cumulative operating deficit at any time during the application process or at any time during candidacy.

Applicant and candidate military institutions authorized and operated by the federal government to award degrees must provide financial information, as shall be required by the Commission, from appropriate governmental agencies. This information must accurately represent the total operation of the institution and must be sufficient to demonstrate adequate financial support of programs and operations.

Findings

Clemson University annually publishes independently audited financial statements. Financial statements and the accompanying management letters are available for review by the visiting team. The University has not operated with a deficit since the last SACS review. Detailed and specific information on the financial status of the University is found in Section 6.3 of this report.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

 

1.5 INITIAL MEMBERSHIP

Findings

This section of criteria does not apply to Clemson University.

 

1.6 Representation of Status

An institution must be accurate in reporting to the public its status and relationship with the Commission.

In catalogs, brochures and advertisements a member institution must describe its relationship with the Commission only according to the following statement:

(Name of Institution) is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of College and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097: Telephone number 404-679-4501) to award (name specific degree levels).

Findings

Clemson University uses the following language in the Undergraduate Announcements 2001-2002 (p. 8) and Graduate School Announcements 2001-2002 (p.8):

Clemson University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097; phone 404-679-4501) to award the Bachelor’s, Master’s, Specialist, and Doctor’s degrees.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

No statement may be made about possible future accreditation status with the Commission.

The logo or seal of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools must not be used by the institution.

Findings

The University complies with this criterion and uses only the officially sanctioned language.

Conclusions

The University is in compliance.

Recommendations

None.

Suggestions

None.

SUMMARY ANALYSIS

This summary addresses only those areas for which concerns relating to compliance with Section I of the 1998 Criteria for Accreditation were identified. In Section 1.1 "must" statements relating to the institution’s commitment "to the search for knowledge and its dissemination," lead to concerns about the availability of sufficient space to support the University’s research enterprise along with concerns about support for faculty, staff, and graduate students as potential limitations to the continued growth of the University’s research success. The Principal Committee found that the administration has initiated steps to address the research space needs in two phases. The short-term solution involves the relocation of faculty, renovation of several buildings on campus, and the freeing up of storage space on campus for other uses. The long-term solution involves the addition of two new research buildings in the Research Park. The University is involved in a development of a Campus Master Plan at this time.

In Section 1.2 (Application of Criteria), it was discovered early in the self-study review process that the University was not in compliance with the SACS policy and criteria regarding "Substantive Change Policy for Accredited Institutions." Considerable effort has gone into addressing all deficiencies in notification of SACS regarding substantive changes, and new policy and procedures have been implemented to ensure appropriate compliance.

The University does not have a formal policy regarding program reviews; however, programs have been regularly reviewed through the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education and through discipline specific specialty accreditation reviews where applicable.

In Section 1.4 Conditions of Eligibility Items 11 and 12, the Principal Committee found concerns regarding the adequacy of faculty resources and other needs due to recent growths in enrollment, which have not been accompanied by increased financial support from the state or other budgetary resources. Efforts are underway to manage enrollments and to address strategic budget needs consistent with the University’s Vision, Mission, and Goals. The Board of Trustees of the University recently has taken actions to address key needs to allow the University to move forward on its Vision, Mission, and Goals through implementation of significant increases in tuition. However, state financial support continues to be a concern.

 

SUMMARY CONCLUSIONS

The University has taken steps to ensure compliance with all criteria in this section. The president, administrative leaders on campus, and the Board of Trustees have reviewed the recommendations and suggestions offered by the various committees involved in the preparation of this document. Examples of actions taken are in the findings section of the report. The recommendations and suggestions that follow are intended to focus on the ongoing nature of these activities.

Summary of Recommendations

No recommendations were made in this section by the Principal Committee or by the Steering Committee.

 

Summary of Suggestions

Section 1.4 Conditions of Eligibility

8. The institution must have an appropriate plan, as well as a functioning planning and evaluation process, which identifies and integrates projected educational, physical and financial development, and incorporates procedures for program review and institutional improvement.

An internal, formalized program review process should be established that

    • provides a means to review all academic programs and administrative units in terms of their contributions to the fulfillment of the University’s vision, mission, and goals.

    • uses the results of external, discipline-specific accreditation reviews when available.

    • is conducted by and through an appropriate administrative/academic channel having the authority to take action when appropriate in terms of program enhancement, continuation, or elimination.

 

 


Clemson University (10555 bytes)

2002 SACS Self-Study

E-203 Martin Hall
Phone: 864-656-5274 
Fax: 864-656-6451
http://www.clemson.edu/self-study
 

Dr. Debra B. Jackson
Assistant to the President 

Ms. Teresa Henry
Administrative Coordinator 

dbj@clemson.edu

eresata@clemson.edu