GGC's accreditation up for vote

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools will vote Thursday on Georgia Gwinnett College's initial accreditation, an official said.

The Commission can choose to either grant the three-year-old state college accreditation or renew its candidacy status, said Belle Wheelan, president of the Commission on Colleges.

The vote comes a year after Georgia Gwinnett College earned candidacy status toward accreditation. While Wheelan said there is no "normal" timeline for a school to earn accreditation, the process can take five years. Georgia Gwinnett College has reached this point in less than two years.

"They went through it expeditiously," Wheelan said. "They've done a great job."

A committee that conducted a site visit at Georgia Gwinnett College earlier this year made three recommendations, which Wheelan said could not be disclosed. The SACS Commission will consider the college's response to the recommendations when making its decision this week.

"We are awaiting the decision from the Southern Association on Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges with great anticipation," GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman said.

The college applied for candidacy on Oct. 1, 2007, and earned the status last June. The standard accreditation process consists of three steps: application, candidacy and accreditation. Thousands of pages of documentation and records are provided to the accrediting agency, which reviews them and sends a team to the campus to verify the submitted materials, assess facilities and interview faculty, staff and students.

Georgia Gwinnett College, a University System of Georgia institution, opened in Lawrenceville in August 2006 with 118 students. Nearly 1,700 students attended classes this spring, and about 3,000 are expected to enroll in the upcoming year.

SideBar: College Timeline

· Aug. 18, 2006: Georgia Gwinnett College officially opens

· Oct. 1, 2007: College applies for SACS accreditation

· June 26, 2008: Commission on College grants candidacy toward accreditation

· June 28, 2008: Georgia Gwinnett College holds its first commencement ceremony

· Thursday: SACS Commission scheduled to vote on Georgia Gwinnett College's initial accreditation