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GGC readies its case for accreditation

LAWRENCEVILLE - Georgia Gwinnett College is putting the final touches on a series of documents that represent the institution's case for why it deserves to be accredited.

About 40 people at the college - including the president, vice presidents, deans, division heads and faculty members - have been involved in composing the document, which includes narratives that explain why the college feels it is in compliance with 125 requirements, as well as supplementary documents to prove their case, said Cathy Hakes, GGC's director of accreditation.

The 125 requirements include comprehensive standards, which include programs, faculty credentials, the library, student affairs, physical facilities and financial resources; federal requirements, as stipulated by the U.S. Department of Education; and core requirements, which speak to the mission of the organization, its governance and organization, Hakes said.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted candidacy status to Georgia Gwinnett College on June 26, just less than two years after the University System of Georgia institution opened in Lawrenceville.

The nine members of a SACS committee will review the documents, which will be given to them on a CD and a flash drive, before their visit to Georgia Gwinnett College, slated for March 31 to April 2.

"SACS has encouraged institutions to use the electronic format to avoid the mammoth amount of paperwork," Hakes said.

During the visit, the SACS committee, comprised of educators and professionals from institutions outside of Georgia, will meet with students, faculty and staff members to seek answers to any questions they may have.

Afterwards, a final report will be sent to the institution, and Georgia Gwinnett College will have five months to respond to its findings.

SACS meets twice a year - the last week in June and the first week in December - and a decision about GGC's accreditation will likely be made during the latter meeting.

SideBar: A look back

Aug. 18, 2006 - Georgia Gwinnett College officially opens

Oct. 1, 2007 - College submits application materials to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools for candidacy for accreditation

March 31 to April 2 - A six-member committee representing SACS visits Georgia Gwinnett College's campus

June 26 - The Commission on Colleges grants candidacy status toward the college's accreditation