Restoring accreditation in two private Texas historically Black colleges
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During the period 1996-2002, 47% of the private Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools were sanctioned. The statistics within Texas mirrored the regional statistics because two of the four private Texas HBCUs (50%), Huston-Tillotson and Texas College, were sanctioned during this period. The purpose of this study was to analyze and document the factors that led to the sanctions at Huston-Tillotson and Texas College and the actions that led to both institutions restoring their full accreditation with SACS. This research vi project involved a comparative case study approach, which included case studies at the two institutions and then a cross-analysis of the results. Multiple sources of evidence were used in this study, including documentation prepared by the institutions for the Southern Association and correspondence received from the Association. Included in this documentation were institutional self-study reports, annual financial audits, follow-up reports and responses and the membership application filed by Texas College. The information secured from these records was complimented by data secured from interviews and participant observations that were made throughout the research project to develop answers for the research questions. The first research question was, why were the two institutions sanctioned by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools? The findings and analysis suggest that there were four primary answers to this question, including: campus turmoil, failure to provide appropriate responses and support in follow up and progress reports, noncompliance with federal programs, and the lack of financial stability. The second research question was, how did the institutions restore their full accreditation? The primary answers to this question included resolution of audit findings, improved financial stability, demonstrated use of administrative and academic program evaluation results, and, most important, new dynamic leadership. Given the critical role that HBCUs have played within the African American higher education communities, it is imperative that they better prepare themselves for the accreditation process. Looking forward to a nation and state that are projected to become majority - minority within the next decade, the need for institutions that serve special populations is ever increasing. In Texas, the minority population will exceed vii 50% by 2010. As many of the nation’s flagship institutions debate the legality and constitutionality of race-based admission policies, minority students will need to consider all of their higher education options. The need for HBCUs continues and the administrators at these institutions must prepare themselves to navigate the accreditation reaffirmation process successfully in an effort to maintain their institutions’ legacy.